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Saturday, Mar 28, 2015

2013 Hernando Today All-County Boys Tennis Team

Hernando Today correspondent


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Player of the Year

Carl Zee

No. 2Springstead - Senior

COMMENTS: Fine all-around student/athlete, who was member of the varsity cross-country and soccer teams . Rare four-year starter on the tennis courts . Graduated with an outstanding 3.67 grade point average . Finished with a flurry achieving his initial All-County selection as a senior . More impressive? Zee was voted the unanimous Player of the Year selection . Has paid his dues at the varsity level . Finished 6-10 in singles and in doubles as a freshman . As a sophomore, improved to a team-best 10-5 in singles and 12-3 in doubles action . In 2011, anchored the No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles positions where he finished 12-8 in singles and 11-7 in doubles . Opened 2013 again at No. 1 singles before losing a challenge match to teammate Patrick Deslaurier, dropping him to No. 2 singles . Despite the demotion, he never pouted . He pieced together his best-ever campaign at 14-4 in singles . Seasonal highlights included capturing the first of two blue ribbons during the Class 3A, District 6 finals at No. 2 singles at River Ridge versus Land O' Lakes' Chris Mo, 6-3, 6-0 ... Followed up by earning two of Eagles' three points in its first-ever regional quarterfinal match, against Ocala-Forest at Delta Woods Park, beating Nick Wigelsworth, 6-3, 6-1, and teaming up with Patrick Deslaurier at No. 1 doubles to trim Philip Libby/Grant Lovell, 2-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 . Zee played in more singles matches than any previous Eagle player (69), surpassing Clayton Etchison (62) . He finished third in school history in all-time singles wins (42).

QUOTES: "He's very deserving. . He was our captain for two years. . Not just a great competitor, but a great kid and team player. . When he lost his challenge match (to retain No. 1 singles), he didn't sulk. Instead, it was as if he said, 'I can do this.' . We'll miss his energy, his quality of play, his leadership - the whole package."

- Springstead head coach Joe Nicolai

"He has the drive to always get better - not many people have that. He's definitely a grinder and someone who is self-motivated."

- Hernando head coach Erik Lawson

"Let's see, he won two district titles and won two regional matches; that's why he's my pick for the best player. He won when no one else did."

- Weeki Wachee head coach Bob Croyle

"Carl was a two-time district champ this year and more importantly he was a great teammate. He was the class of that Springstead team. . I like Carl, he's handled himself well for years and he's a super kid."

- Nature Coast head coach Tom Brown

Patrick Deslaurier

No. 1Springstead - Sophomore

COMMENTS: Repeat All-County selection . Received a vote for Player of the Year honors as a freshman after going 19-1 in singles . His only loss in 2012 was at the Jonesville Tennis Center during the 3A-egion III semifinal to Gainesville sophomore Peter Slaton, 6-0, 6-1 . Teamed up with Zee for a county-best 11-7 slate at No. 1 doubles . Seasonal highlight was capturing his initial 3A-6 No. 2 singles title against Mitchell's Greg Hovsepian, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) . In 2013, he climbed the rung to the heavyweights at No. 1 singles . Finished 13-4, losing in the 3A-6 semifinals to the eventual district champion, freshman Daniel Lukish of Mitchell, 7-5, 4-6, 6-0 . Earlier in the regular season, Deslaurier had solved Lukish in straight sets in New Port Richey, 6-3, 7-5 ... Teamed up with Zee to capture the No. 1 doubles title and clinched his first state berth ... Deslaurier/Zee finished with a county-best 14-3 mark at No. 1 doubles.

QUOTES: "He's a tremendous competitor. . He plays year-round. . The kid (Lukish) he lost to at districts was no slouch; he won the district championship. . He'll continue to play in a lot of USTA events over the summer to improve his game. . He's very committed to the game and will do whatever it takes to get better in singles and doubles."

- Springstead head coach Joe Nicolai

Hank Deslaurier

No. 3Springstead - Junior

COMMENTS: Repeat All-County selection . Posted a pedestrian 9-7 won-lost mark in singles and a 9-5 slate in doubles as a freshman . No sophomore jinx as he finished 18-2 in singles in 2012 . He pieced together 15 straight singles wins until Gainesville sophomore Jacob Gordon snapped the streak in regional play, 6-2, 6-2 . The 2012 seasonal highlight was capturing his first district title by bopping Mitchell's Nick Calisch, 6-3, 6-2 . Deslaurier earned a second district title at No. 2 doubles, helping solve Sunlake's Jungbauer/Aucoin, 6-4, 6-0 . In 2013, Deslaurier captured 16-of-18 singles bouts . After losing to Wiregrass Ranch's talented Niels Van Dam at Delta Woods Park, 6-1, 6-0, Deslaurier closed out the season behind eight consecutive victories . During the stretch, he swept all three singles matches during the 3A-6 Tourney. He topped Land O' Lakes' Samvit Iyer, 7-6 (7-3), 6-0, for his third district title . He carved out his first-ever regional victory ousting Ocala-Forest's Palmer Lovell, in straight sets, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 ... In doubles action, Deslaurier/Robert Hoover finished with a county-best 13-4 mark at No. 2 . Deslaurier earned his school-record fourth district championship as he and Hoover defeated Mitchell's Greg and Zach Hovsepian, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 . In 2014, Deslaurier's fourth season at the varsity level, he could surpass Chris Greifenberger (46) for most singles victories . Needs only four more doubles wins to leapfrog past Zee (43) for most doubles wins.

QUOTES: "He's an incredible player. . Hank is very smart and will find a way to win a match. . Even if he's down 5-1, he'll play to the last serve. . He doesn't have great shots in his bag of tricks, but he knows exactly where to place them."

- Springstead head coach Joe Nicolai

Robert Hoover

No. 4Springstead - Sophomore

COMMENTS: First-time All-County selection . Rarely touched the court as a freshman going 1-0 at the varsity level in 2012 . Enjoyed a fine campaign in his first full-time season in 2013 . Finished sixth in the final county rankings in singles action at 13-5 . Seasonal highlights included reaching the 3A-6 finals at No. 4 singles, losing to Mitchell's Zach Hovsepian in a nail-biter, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 .Teamed up with Hank Deslaurier to capture his first district crown at No. 2 doubles . The Eagle duo fell in the deciding match of the 3A-III quarterfinal against Forest's Nick Wigelsworth/Tanner Weaver in a thriller, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 . Hank Deslaurier and Hoover finished 13-4 overall.

QUOTES: "Robert has come a long way. . Has a big heart and a huge desire to win. . He was literally crying when he lost the district final after three-plus hours out there. . He felt at the time that he had let his team down. . What I like most? That he's only going to get better."

- Springstead head coach Joe Nicolai

Jerry Bianculli

No. 5Nature Coast - Sophomore

COMMENTS: First-time All-County selection . As a first-year player in 2012, Bianculli went 2-0 in singles and 5-1 in doubles action . In his first full season at the varsity level, Bianculli bounced between playing at No. 3-5 singles . He went 2-0 at No. 3, 4-0 at No. 4 and 12-2 at No. 5 . Opened the season winning his initial 11 matches - including the first five at No. 5 - before being beaten by Wiregrass Ranch's John Brice Duhamel, 6-0, 6-0 . Captured seven of his last eight matches . Captured NCT's lone district title at the 2A-6 Tourney at Anclote by defeating Fivay's Luke Calleja, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 . Dropped his final match in the 2A-III quarterfinal against Gainesville-Eastside's Tabong Kima, 6-2, 6-0 . Finished 5-3 in doubles play.

QUOTES: "His growth definitely came with his ground strokes. . Mentally, he was strong. . Can be best described as a gamer. . When he beat the Jesuit kid (Dean Longoc, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2) that was as good as winning a district title. He never quit. . Every one of our guys will be a big part of next season. . Jerry should be a formidable piece of the puzzle next year."

- Nature Coast head coach Tom Brown


P. Deslaurier/Zee

No. 1Springstead

COMMENTS: First-time All-County selection at No. 1 doubles . Finished with a county-best 14-3 slate . Earned a first-place ribbon in 3A-6's No. 1 doubles final, solving Mitchell's Daniel Lukish/Tony Nguyen, 6-2, 7-5 . Closed out the season representing Springstead for the first time ever at the 3A state finals at Altamonte Springs' Sanlando Park . The SHS duo fell to Chamberlain's Joseph Fisher/Hunter O'Brien, 6-1, 6-1 . Zee finished as the school's all-time leader in doubles matches played (67) and career doubles wins (43) . Also tied with Hank Deslaurier for the school mark for most district titles (two) in a single season.

QUOTES: "Both of our guys are good players and they work well together. . Carl is a great net player and Patrick is a tremendous baseliner. . They executed different plans for different opponents - it worked well for them. . Honestly, after what I saw against a very good Ocala-Forest team, I thought they'd go further (in states)."

- Springstead head coach Joe Nicolai

H. Deslaurier/Hoover

No. 2Springstead

COMMENTS: First-time All-County doubles selection for Hoover . Second All-County doubles selection for Deslaurier . Hank Deslaurier/Trevor Whitmill (who relocated to Tampa this year) finished 17-1 in 2012 . The SHS duo captured 17 matches in a row until Gainesville's Peter Slaton/Justin Zambelli solved them at the Jonesville Tennis Center, 6-2, 6-2 . This season, Deslaurier/Hoover finished 13-4 . Seasonal highlight was capturing the 3A-6 No. 2 doubles crown.

QUOTES: "Hank is a great doubles player. . I'd call him a poacher. . If he sees something, he'll attack. . Funny thing is people can't do that against him; if they try, he'll burn them. . Hopefully, those two will be together again next year."

- Springstead head coach Joe Nicolai

Coach of the Year

Joe Nicolai

Springstead - 2nd year

COMMENTS: Second straight selection . Earned COY laurels five times with Central Lady Bears . Led CHS to eight county crowns in nine seasons . Came out of retirement to guide the SHS fortunes prior to the Eagles' first match in 2012 . Led the Mariner Boulevard netters to their finest dual-meet record in 32 seasons at 14-3 . The Spring Hill netters also captured their first-ever Hernando County championship behind a perfect 8-0 run . In 2013, Nicolai guided 13-3 SHS to its first-ever district championship (3A-6) . SHS fell to Forest in its regional quarterfinal match at Delta Woods Park, 4-3 . The Eagles' No. 1 doubles team became the school's first-ever state participants in this year's 91st annual event in Seminole County . Across 11 seasons of tennis, Nicolai has collected seven district team championships and three district runner-up trophies . Across those 11 campaigns, Nicolai's netters have returned home with 34 first-place blue ribbons (district titles) - including a school-record four this season . Before Nicolai's arrival, the Eagles had never advanced to regional competition.

QUOTES: "Credit belongs to the kids - they're the ones on the court. . Ultimately, the team's success rests with the players. . I just tried to work hard and give them good leadership. . Our boys deserve all the glory. . Of all trophies, coming back home with this year's district trophy meant a lot more to me. It went in the school's trophy case along with a pair of signed shoes by Carl Zee - it's in there for future tennis fans to see."

- Nicolai

"They beat everybody around here. Winning districts means he's got some decent players."

- Weeki Wachee head coach Bob Croyle

"Joe's got a good program now. I remember when I played at Hernando, Springstead never had much."

- Hernando head coach Erik Lawson

2013 Hernando Today All-County Boys Tennis Team



No. 1 - Patrick Deslaurier, SPG^ 10th 13 4 .765

No. 2 - Carl Zee, SPG * 12th 14 4 .778

No. 3 - Hank Deslaurier, SPG^* 11th 16 2 .889

No. 4 - Robert Hoover, SPG 10th 13 5 .722

No. 5 - Jerry Bianculli, NCT* 10th 17 2 .895



No. 1 - P. Deslaurier/Zee, SPG*$ 10th/12th 14 3 .824

No. 2 - H. Deslaurier/Hoover, SPG* 10th/10th 13 4 .765

Player of the Year - Carl Zee, Springstead

Coach of the Year - Joe Nicolai, Springstead %

^ Denotes repeat selection

* Denotes district champion

$ Denotes state qualifier

% Denotes seven-time selection

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