Monday, Nov 24, 2014
Sports

2014 Hernando Today All-County Boys Tennis Team


Published:

Player of the Year

No. 2 Singles

Hank Deslaurier

Springstead – Senior

COMMENTS: Three-time All-Hernando County selection … Multi-sport athlete who also ran cross country for four years … Carries an unweighted 3.75 grade point average and a 4.3 weighted GPA in the school’s International Baccalaureate program … Deslaurier departs the Mariner Boulevard program with at least 14 school records … Leaves ranked first in combined career singles/doubles matches (141), combined singles/doubles victories (116), career singles matches (73), career singles wins (59), career doubles matches (68), career doubles wins (57), single-season singles matches (20), single-season doubles matches (19), single-season doubles wins (18), most district singles titles (three), most district doubles titles (three), most career district titles (six), most single-season regional wins (three) and most career regional wins (four) … Captured his fifth and sixth district crowns in the rugged Class 3A, District 5 Tournament at Lecanto … Deslaurier topped Lecanto junior Sam Alford – who beat him during the regular season – in the singles final, 6-2, 0-6, 10-5 … At No. 2 doubles, Deslaurier and Alex Hoover solved Ocala-Forest’s Nick Wigelsworth/Grant Lovell, 6-4, 6-4 … During regional singles play this season, Deslaurier defeated Orlando-Edgewater’s Hongchen Ji, 6-2, 6-2, and Forest’s Nick Wigelsworth, 7-5, 6-2. In doubles, Deslaurier and Hoover clinched the school’s first-ever regional crown solving Forest’s Wigelsworth/Lovell, 6-3, 6-4. …At states, third-seeded Wiregrass Ranch sophomore Pedro Fernandez del Valle whacked Deslaurier, 6-0, 6-1, while Wiregrass Ranch juniors Foresight Okungbowa and Alejandro Feliciano handed Deslaurier and Hoover (16-1) their first loss of the season, 6-0, 6-0.

QUOTES: “I’m going to miss him tremendously. He’s the smartest tennis player I’ve ever seen. He’s not the most athletic guy, but if there’s an advantage, he’ll exploit it. … He not only plays singles, but is a tremendous doubles player. … I just enjoyed watching him play. When one of his opponents would creep a shot over the net, he’d hit a shot right past him. … He’s very deserving of this honor … He’s an IB kid with a bright future. … No matter what he does in the future, he’ll be a very successful person. … He never got down. … I’ve seen him down love-5 and find a something to get back into a match.”

- Springstead head coach Joe Nicolai

“I loved watching Hank play because he always played his game, not anyone else’s game. He’s a really tactical player; really smart on the courts. … Off the courts he was very pleasant and easy to talk to.”

- Hernando head coach Kenneth Day

No. 1 Singles

Jesse DeWitt

Nature Coast – Junior

COMMENTS: Three-year letterman … First-time All-County selection … Debuted 13-8 in singles action as a freshman, capturing the 2A-6 Tourney’s No. 4 singles title at Wesley Chapel … Dipped to 10-8 as a sophomore … Bounced back in 2014 posting a team-best 16-4 (80 percent) singles slate … Seasonal highlights include splitting matches with Springstead junior Patrick Deslaurier … DeWitt’s individual win over Deslaurier at NCT in three sets clinched the Sharks’ share of the Hernando County crown … Captured a pair of 2A-7 titles at Crystal River … At No. 1 singles, DeWitt defeated Pasco’s Josh Morris, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 … At No. 1 doubles, DeWitt and Conner Schwefringhaus pounded Central’s Jordan Brickley/Derek Zhang, 6-0, 6-0 … Added regional champion to his resume by sweeping his Gulf and Pasco opponents in singles and doubles … Gainesville-Eastside’s talented junior Camille Kima eliminated DeWitt during the opening of states in Seminole County, 6-4, 6-0 … Tampa-Jesuit’s No. 1 doubles tandem of Max Azzarelli/Palmer Evans defeated DeWitt/Schwefringhaus in the first round of states, 6-0, 6-1.

QUOTES: “His serve got better and his court coverage got better, that’s how Jesse elevated his game. He’s got to get more power on his second serve and add power to his ground strokes. … He’s not a rah-rah guy, but he does a good job of keeping everyone on the team motivated and tense. … He’d like to play tennis at the next level.”

- Nature Coast head coach Tom Brown

No. 3 Singles

Dakota Willey

Nature Coast – Sophomore

COMMENTS: Two-year letterman … First-time All-County selection … Broke in as a freshman with a fine 11-7 mark in 2013 … A year later, Willey improved to 13-6 in singles play … Lost in the 2A-7 finals in Citrus County to Pasco’s Christian Yann, 6-3, 6-1 … In regional action, he solved Gulf’s Minh Le, 6-0, 6-2, but fell at the hands of Pasco’s Brendan Ray, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 … At 2A states, Willey was ousted in his first-ever match by Jesuit junior Alex Crosby, 6-0, 6-1.

QUOTES: “Dakota has learned how to defend better and his serve has really improved. … What I really like is he’s a full-time tennis player. … I look to him to play a lot during the summer. … Depending on the work the kids put in during the summer will help determine their positions on the team next year.”

- Nature Coast head coach Tom Brown

No. 4 Singles

Alex Hoover

Springstead – Freshman

COMMENTS: Absolutely kicked the door down as a freshman … In the process, he demonstrated exceptional composure … First-time All-County selection … Concluded his initial varsity season behind a county-best 18-1 (95 percent) won-lost slate … Reeled off a school-record 18 straight singles wins … First loss arrived during the 3A state tourney in Seminole County to second-seeded Palm Coast-Matanzas freshman Sidney Moon, 6-0, 6-1 … Seasonal highlight reel included featured a pair of 3A-5 crowns at the arduous district tourney at Lecanto … In his singles final, Hoover rallied past Ocala-Vanguard’s Ian Barckhausen 6-2, 1-6, 10-8 … In the No. 2 doubles final, Hank Deslaurier and Hoover downed Forest’s Nick Wigelsworth/Grant Lovell, 6-4, 6-4 … The Eagle duo added regional champ to their resumes by clinching the program’s first-ever team title at Delta Woods Park by solving the Forest pair again, 6-3, 6-4 … At states, Deslaurier/Hoover (16-1) fell at the hands of Wiregrass Ranch juniors Foresight Okungbowa and Alejandro Feliciano, 6-0, 6-0.

QUOTES: “If we would’ve given an award last year for the biggest heart – it would have gone to Robbie Hoover. This year, it goes to Alex. He was so calm and cool in the regional final match against Forest. For us to win that match it boiled down to him winning a nearly three-hour match. … He’s one cool kid; one that doesn’t get rattled. … Great potential on the courts as a freshman. He’ll have every opportunity to excel.”

- Springstead head coach Joe Nicolai

No. 5 Singles

Sam DeAngelis

Springstead – Freshman

COMMENTS: First-year All-County selection … His body of work featured a county-high 13-6 slate at No. 5 singles … Reached the 3A-5 final at Lecanto before falling to Forest’s Aaron Darden via a three-set thriller, 2-6, 6-4, 13-11 … In regional play, DeAngelis defeated Orlando-Edgewater’s Tyler Wilson, 6-1, 6-4, before losing to Forest’s Darden, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 … At states, top-seeded Wiregrass Ranch sophomore Sebastian Castillo-Sanchez hammered DeAngelis, 6-0, 6-0.

QUOTES: “As an incoming freshman, I didn’t know what to expect from Sam. He came in with some flaws. One of his biggest problems was returning shots down the middle of the court – that’s a definite no-no. … But give Sam credit, he’s one of the most coachable kids I’ve ever had. He’s a ‘Yes sir’ type kid who is very disciplined. His game will only get better. … What I enjoy most is he not only listens, but applies what we’re saying. He’s the type of kid who wants to win and will do everything you ask of him.”

- Springstead head coach Joe Nicolai

No. 1 Doubles

DeWitt/Conner Schwefringhaus

Nature Coast – Junior/Junior

COMMENTS: First-time All-County selection at No. 1 doubles … In 2013, the Shark duo concluded at 8-7 … A year later, the tandem blossomed posting a county-best 12-2 mark at No. 1 doubles … Seasonal highlights included capturing the 2A-7 Tournament at Crystal River via a 6-0, 6-0 spanking of Central’s Jordan/Brickley and Derek Zhang … In regionals, DeWitt/Schwefringhaus clubbed Gulf’s Alex Walker/Aakash Punjabi, 6-0, 6-1, and Pasco’s Alex Mitchell/Christian Yann, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 … The Shark duo was expunged after its first-round match at states against Jesuit’s duo of juniors Max Azzarelli and Palmer Evans, 6-0, 6-1.

QUOTES: “They complement each other. Temperament-wise, one (Schwefringhaus) is a little more even keel than the other. … It’s a luxury to have them back for a third straight season. … I’m hoping they both continue to work hard – both have tremendous abilities on the court.”

- Nature Coast head coach Tom Brown

No. 2 Doubles

H. Deslaurier/A. Hoover

Springstead – Senior/Freshman

COMMENTS: First-time All-County doubles selection for Hoover … Third doubles selection for Deslaurier … Deslaurier and Trevor Whitmill finished 17-1 in 2012, capturing 17 matches in a row until Gainesville’s Peter Slaton/Justin Zambelli solved them at the Jonesville Tennis Center, 6-2, 6-2 … In 2013, Deslaurier and Robbie Hoover finished 13-4 … Their season was topped by capturing a 3A-6 crown at River Ridge … This season, Deslaurier/Hoover downed Forest’s Nick Wigelsworth/Grant Lovell in the 3A-5 finals at Lecanto, 6-4, 6-4 … The Eagle tandem added regional champ to their resumes by clinching the program’s first-ever team title at Delta Woods Park, solving Forest’s Wigelsworth and Lovell, 6-3, 6-4 … At states, Deslaurier/Hoover (16-1) fell at the hands of Wiregrass Ranch juniors Foresight Okungbowa/Alejandro Feliciano, 6-0, 6-0.

QUOTES: “These two played very well together. They’re the best I’ve ever seen at No. 2 doubles. … The key is they always found ways to win matches. Very few times did I ever see them in trouble. … They went into matches thinking they were going to win. … They were very positive and I admire them for that.”

- Springstead head coach Joe Nicolai

Coach of the Year

Joe Nicolai

Springstead – Third-Year

COMMENTS: Repeat COY selection … Eight-time selection overall, counting 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 … Guided the Mariner Boulevard netters to a collective 41-7 (85 percent) won-lost slate over the past three seasons … During this span, Spring Hill netters have captured a district runner-up trophy (2012) followed by the school’s first-ever back-to-back district championships … In the last three seasons, SHS has captured two Hernando County titles (2012 and 2014) … Nicolai teams have totaled 10 individual district championships, including six singles crowns and four doubles … Having reached regionals for the first time-ever in 2013, the Eagles captured their first-ever regional team title in 2014 by solving Edgewater and Forest … SHS had never been represented in back-to-back seasons at states until 2013-14.

QUOTES: “It’s a nice accolade, but I’m not hung up on it. I just try to get the most out of my players. For the most part, I think I have. … Coaches can never be successful unless they have players who want to win and pay the price of victory. If you don’t have much talent, you won’t have much success. … I give all the credit to our guys. Maybe I’ve installed a little more desire to win. I know don’t like losing; never have.”

- Nicolai

“I think the world of (NCT’s) Tom (Brown), but Joe deserves this based on the volume of work during the season. His team was one point away from a perfect season.”

- Central head coach Bob Gill

“Joe’s the Coach of the Year because of how he approaches the kids. He really does know the game of tennis. Perhaps the biggest thing is whenever he talks to his kids; his kids must listen because they all want to play for him.”

- Hernando head coach Kenneth Day

2014 Hernando Today All-County Boys Tennis Team

SINGLES

POS. PLAYER/SCHOOL YR. WON LOST .PCT

No. 1 – Jesse DeWitt, NCT*$ 11th 16 4 .800

No. 2 – Hank Deslaurier, SPG^^^*$ 12th 16 3 .842

No. 3 – Dakota Willey, NCT$ 10th 13 6 .684

No. 4 – Alex Hoover, SPG*$ 9th 18 1 .947

No. 5 – Sam DeAngelis, SPG$ 9th 13 6 .684

DOUBLES

POS. PLAYERS/SCHOOL YRS. WON LOST .PCT

No. 1 – DeWitt/Schwefringhaus, NCT*$ 11th/11th 12 2 .857

No. 2 – H. Deslaurier/A. Hoover, SPG*$ 12th/9th 16 1 .941

Player of the Year – Hank Deslaurier Springstead

Coach of the Year – Joe Nicolai, Springstead %

^^^ Denotes three-time selection.

* Denotes district champion.

$ Denotes state qualifier.

% Denotes eight-time selection.

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