As both of his doubles teams dueled Cypress Bay in showdowns certain to tilt their inevitable rivalry for the state Class 4A boys’ tennis crown, Coral Gables coach David Weiner headed to the other side of Sanlando Park.
“This is hard,” he said. “I don’t know if I can take this. I’ll go watch somebody else’s match for a while.”
Weiner’s sojourn, though, lasted only about 10 minutes Tuesday before he stationed himself once again in a spot where he could keep an eye on both matches.
It was compelling drama, no doubt. And highly rewarding, as the Cavaliers celebrated their first state championship in 42 years following a bang-bang pair of third-set tiebreakers.
“We made some history,” said Mirko Radosevic, who teamed with Oliver Otero to run off the final four points of a victory that gave Coral Gables 13 points and froze Cypress Bay at 12.
Gulliver Prep swept the 2A team titles for the second consecutive year in nearby Casselberry, where the boys also stood on the verge of history. With afternoon storms halting play in early afternoon, one match remains in the Raiders’ quest for a second straight perfect mark in the state final.
Andre Libnic and Robert Roque will resume play in the morning to max out the Raiders at 21 points. Gulliver also went 21-0 last year, part of a run of three titles in the past four years.
“That would be magical,” said senior Baker Newman, who captured the No.2 singles for the second consecutive year. “It would go down in history.”
It’s only happened once before, as the Cardinal Gibbons boys also posted consecutive 21-point totals in 1996 and ’97.
Gulliver’s girls were nearly as perfect, claiming four singles titles on the way to a 17-1 match record with just one doubles tilt remaining.
“We have such good depth, such strong players,” Raiders coach Kelly Mulligan said. “I’m just lucky. We’ve been strong at every position.”
No school owns more state titles than the Coral Gables boys, who can hang their 17th banner when they return to campus. But most of those came in the 1950s and ’60s, when they won nine in a row from 1951-59 and five in a row a few years later.
Not only were none of the current Cavaliers alive when the school won its last title in 1972, it’s a fair bet most of their parents weren’t born yet either.
On top of that, the Cavaliers had finished as runners-up in each of the past two years.
“We knew this was our last shot,” said Otero, who also won the No.2 singles. “... We came up in the clutch.”
The sequence began when Daniel Spatz and Cristian Gazzolo had finished off a 10-5 tiebreaker against Cypress Bay’s Carlos Moreno and Michael Plutt, battling back after dropping the first set.