Friday, Oct 31, 2014
Sports

2013 Hernando Today All-County Girls Tennis Team

Published:

Singles

Player of the Year

Grace Curren

No. 1

Hernando – Freshman

COMMENTS: First-time All-County selection … First Lady Leopard Player of the Year since Alison Steiner in 2010 … Joins Nature Coast’s Delanie McCabe (2009) and Central’s Jeanette McDonald as frosh POY selections … Compiled county’s finest won/lost record at the sport’s two most demanding positions: No. 1 singles (13-3) and No. 1 doubles (15-3) … Reached the Class 2A, District 6 finals in singles and doubles at Pasco … Lost No. 1 singles to Pasco’s Madison Johnson, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1 ... Teamed with senior Shelby Marrero to trim Johnson/Sarah McCord of Pasco, 6-4, 6-1, for first-ever blue ribbon, at the No. 1 doubles … At her first 2A state finals in Seminole County, Curren and Marrero defeated Kellen McCarthy/Taylor Snipes (Tallahassee-Florida High), 4-6, 6-1, 10-8, before losing to Priyanka Shah/Maria Cespedes (Orlando-Lake Nona), 6-0, 6-2 ... Shah/Cespedes eventually won the state championship at No. 1 doubles.

QUOTES: “On the first day she stepped on the courts, you could tell she’s played and played well. As the season wore on, she continued to get better and kept proving herself on the court. … What makes a POY? All the work they do on their own time – that’s Grace. … Even during spring break, she was taking lessons. … What I see? She played the game hard and wants to win. … She needs to improve on finishing opponents; often times she’d get up and wouldn’t put kids away. … She has a great shot selection and shows good placement. … She needs to continue working with her footwork.”

- Hernando head coach Pete Lahey

“She’s been playing a long time. … She’s a true athlete on the court, who plays year-round tennis. … She plays with a ton of heart. … I was impressed with her never-say-die attitude; she never gives in. Trust me, there were times I wish she would’ve.”

- Nature Coast head coach John Downey

“It’s very rare to see a freshman step up and play as well as Curren has at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles. She has tremendous composure.”

- Central head coach Sonya Burns

“She’s an all-around athlete. … She’s genuinely smart and very dedicated to her sport. … I think she’s a true talent on the court and this is only the start of her career.”

- Weeki Wachee head coach Elisa Awtrey

Shelby Marrero

No. 2

Hernando – Senior

COMMENTS: Rare four-year starter …Two-time All-County selection … Was named All-County as a freshman at No. 4 singles … Had never won a district championship until this season … Captured 2A-6 crown at Pasco defeating Pasco’s Sarah McCord, 6-2, 6-1 … Earned her second blue ribbon by teaming up with Curren at No. 1 doubles … Finished her career 39-21 (65 percent) lifetime in singles play … Also collected 44 career doubles victories … Went 1-1 in her first-ever trip to the 2A state finals in doubles action.

QUOTES: “At the beginning of the season she was bound and determined to play No.1 singles. But as the season went on, she accepted her role at No. 2 and held her head up high. … She’s a leader by example. … What will we miss most? She was friends with everybody on the team. A certain level of maturity came with her playing at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles. She saw her herself as a team player and accepted her role.”

- Hernando head coach Pete Lahey

Brittany Blackburn

No. 3

Central – Senior

COMMENTS: Graduated as Central’s Salutatorian …Two-time All-County selection … Edged NCT’s Delanie McCabe for Player of the Year honors in 2012 … Posted a near invisible 1-0 mark in singles and 2-2 slate in doubles as a freshman … Began to emerge from the shadows as a sophomore with a 6-7 singles slate and a 2-6 doubles record … In 2012, she captured 15 straight singles matches before NCT’s Katie Viola solved her, 6-4, 5-7, 15-13 … Garnered her first district title at River Ridge Middle/High School by topping Zephyrhills’ Amanda Smith in the finals, 6-0, 6-1 … Paced all Hernando County female netters with a sterling 19-1 won-lost singles record … Just missed tying Jeanette McDonald’s school record of 20 single-season victories … In 2013, Blackburn paced the Lady Bears in singles victories (14) and doubles wins (15) … Was the only Lady Bear netter to reach the rugged 3A-6 finals this season, losing to Land O’ Lakes’ Deneen Wang at River Ridge, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 … Tied for ninth in school history in singles wins with teammate Jordan Stenholm (51).

QUOTES: “Brittany was the leader of our team on and off the court. … We depended on her a lot and she came through time and time again. … We’re going to miss her leadership, her warm persona and her humor. … She was special in how she handled pressure; not many people could do that. … It’ll be difficult to replace someone so vital in singles and in doubles.”

- Central head coach Sonya Burns

Robyn Cotney

No. 4

Springstead – Junior

COMMENTS: First-time All-County selection … Set a school record behind a perfect 18-0 singles campaign … Former record for wins held by Jenna Pecsenka (11) … Has 28 career wins, could rewrite the school record book in 2014 … Was a combined 16-1 in doubles action this season … Captured a pair of 3A-6 blue ribbons at River Ridge at No. 4 singles (defeating 2012 district champ Jordan Stenholm of Central, 6-0, 6-0) and No. 2 doubles (over Central’s Blackburn/Stenholm, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3) … Became the first Springstead female netter to win two district titles … Also became the first Springstead netter to win a regional match by dispatching of Lecanto’s Megan Jervis at Delta Woods Park, 6-1, 6-2.

QUOTES: “She’s a rock. … She’s our team’s motivator. Was our captain and received our team’s MVP award. … The key is if I can keep her healthy – I think she has an Achilles issue. … She’s a very quiet person, but a very positive force on our team. … Never think she can’t do something, because she will. She’s instilled that kind of thinking upon all the other girls on this team.”

- Springstead head coach Rick Scholl

Ashley Clark

No. 5

Springstead – Sophomore

COMMENTS: First-time All-County selection … Had a cup of coffee at the varsity level in 2012 going 1-0 in singles and 2-1 in doubles play … Was one of five different Lady Eagles to play at No. 5 singles this season … In her first district tournament at the James Valentine Sports Complex at River Ridge, she captured her initial 3A-6 title by solving Central’s talented freshman Vanessa Valencia, 6-1, 6-1 … Valencia finished 15-2 – her only two losses were both to Clark, who finished 11-0 … Added a regional title by capturing her No. 5 singles match against Lecanto’s Andrea DelaCruz, 6-3, 6-1.

QUOTES: “It’s hard to vote against her body of work. … All I asked her to do was to avoid double-faulting and just keep the ball in play – and look where that took her. … We mixed things up all year at No. 4 and No. 5. Clark’s success snowballed at the end. … The key for her next season is to continue having confidence in her shots and not just be a backboard.”

- Springstead head coach Rick Scholl

Doubles

Curren/Marrero

No. 1

Hernando

COMMENTS: First-time All-County No. 1 doubles selection … The Lady Leopard duo led the county behind a 15-3 won-lost record … Captured 2A-6 final in Dade City and went 1-1 in the 75th annual FHSAA Finals at Sanford-Sylvan Lake Park.

QUOTES: “Played well together all year long … Both are tough competitors, but they realized they had to play together to be successful. … They helped each other and they had fun on the court. … At states they got knocked out by the state champions in the semis; that’s not too shabby.”

- Hernando head coach Pete Lahey

Blackburn/Jordan Stenholm

No. 2

Central

COMMENTS: First-time All-County selection … During the regular season, Blackburn and fellow senior Stenholm solved Springstead’s Semack/Cotney, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 … In the three-hour long 3A-6 final, Semack/Cotney extracted some revenge winning, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 … Blackburn/Stenholm went 12-4 in 2012 and finished 15-2 this season … Both Stenholm (44 wins) and Blackburn (43) finished in the top 10 in CHS history in doubles victories.

QUOTES: “These two were real special. They were one of the best doubles teams I’ve seen. They’d never get mad at each other; they were always very positive. … I think the foundation of success was their chemistry; they knew each other real well.”

- Central head coach Sonya Burns

Coach of the Year

Pete Lahey

Hernando – 7th year

COMMENTS: Was torn this spring between his duties as a teacher and coach and being a caregiver to his ailing wife … First-time selection … Despite losing Jada Bergstrom to severe leg injury four matches into the season, Lahey reshuffled his lineup leading the Lady Leopards to an 11-2 won-lost slate … Guided HHS to the Hernando County championship … Previously garnered Hernando County team titles in 2007 (tied with Central) and 2010 … Paced HHS to a second-place finish in 2A-6 Tournament – losing by one point … HHS returned home with three blue ribbons, the most since 2007.

QUOTES: “Credit belongs to the girls. After Jada went down I told the girls, ‘It’s time to step up.’ I thought she only had shin splints. But the MRI revealed a stress fracture nearly the length of her leg. … Who would have thought our No. 6 could have reached the district final, but that’s exactly what she did. … This was an A-minus team. We lost 16-15 at districts. We just needed one more person to beat Pasco, but it didn’t happen. Credit belongs to all the girls – they did what they needed to do.”

- Lahey

“Not only did they have a great season, but Pete has worked so hard with so many of those girls. … Give him credit; he’s been committed to Hernando for quite some time. To me, this was a nice way for him to go out on top.”

- Central head coach Sonya Burns

“His team defied all odds. … Coach Lahey is a humble guy, too. … He had a lot going on in his life this year and handled it all really well. … His tone shows through in each of his players.”

- Weeki Wachee head coach Elisa Awtrey

“He had a lot to deal with on a personal level. And his team wasn’t expected to be as strong as they were. We had a great year, but we lost to them early. He’s been there a long time and he had his girls on board all season.”

- Springstead head coach Rick Scholl

“Pete’s real good at solidifying a team. It just seemed like all his players were on the same page – that’s a sign of a true leader. Even though I’m at Nature Coast, I was pulling for Hernando to win districts and bring it back to Hernando County. … He deserves a lot of credit for having his girls scratch and claw for every point after they lost Bergstrom.”

- Nature Coast head coach John Downey

2013 Hernando Today All-County Girls Tennis Team

SINGLES

POS. PLAYER/SCHOOL YR. WON LOST .PCT

No. 1 – Grace Curren, HER 9th 13 3 .813

No. 2 – Shelby Marrero, HER # 12th 14 2 .875

No. 3 – Brittany Blackburn, CEN # 12th 14 3 .824

No. 4 – Robyn Cotney, SPG 11th 18 0 1.000

No. 5 – Ashley Clark, SPG 10th 11 0 1.000

DOUBLES

POS. PLAYER/SCHOOL YR. WON LOST .PCT

No. 1 – Curren/Marrero, HER 9th-12th 14 3 .824

No. 2 – Blackburn/Stenholm, CEN 12th-12th 15 2 .882

Player of the Year – Grace Curren, HER

Coach of the Year – Pete Lahey, HER

# Denotes repeat All-County selection

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