Saturday, Dec 20, 2014
Sports

2014 Hernando Today All-County Girls Tennis Team

By TONY CASTRO
Hernando Today correspondent

Published:

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Player of the Year

No. 1 Singles

Grace Curren

Hernando – Sophomore

COMMENTS: Repeat All-County selection … Repeat Player of the Year … In 2013, Curren was the school’s first Player of the Year since Alison Steiner in 2010 … She joined NCT’s Delanie McCabe (2009) and Central’s Jeanette McDonald as rare freshman 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 Pasco’s Johnson/Sarah McCord, 6-4, 6-1, for first-ever blue ribbon at No. 1 doubles … At her initial state tourney in Seminole County, Curren along with 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 … A year later, Curren shredded the local competition going 9-0 versus county opponents and stands 16-1 lifetime … Curren tied Springstead senior Robyn Cotney for the county lead for most singles victories (17) … The two-year Purple and Gold starter captured her first blue ribbon in singles play by dispatching of Pasco’s Johnson in the 2A-7 finals in Crystal River, 6-4, 7-5 … She added regional champion to her early resume by toppling Fivay’s Esther Eaton, 6-1, 6-1, and Pasco’s Johnson’s for the third time in three matches, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 … At states, Curren fell to St. Augustine-Pedro Menendez senior Jordan Zander, 6-2, 6-3 … At No. 1 doubles, Curren and Jada Bergstrom teamed up for a county-best 11 victories.

QUOTES: “Grace just had a great season. At states, the other girl (Zander) just wore her down. States gave us a great opportunity to bond. … Over the summer I expect a change in her game. She has a tremendous ability to hold her own.”

- Hernando head coach Connie Foster

“In the simplest terms, Grace is an animal when she steps on the court. She makes you beat her. And you’ll have to bring your ‘A’ game to do it.”

- Nature Coast head coach John Downey

“Just after she won the district championship I overheard her say that ‘I wanted this so bad; I’ve worked so hard.’ That tells you a lot about the kind of player she is. She’s mentally tough and she’s dedicated to the sport.”

- Central head coach Sonya Burns

No. 2 Singles

Katie Viola

Nature Coast – Senior

COMMENTS: Four-year letterman, three-year starter … First-time All-County selection … Finished 39-13 lifetime in singles play (75 percent) … Departs ranked sixth all-time in singles matches and seventh in wins in Lady Shark history … Concluded doubles play at 26-16 (62 percent) … Ranked sixth in NCT history in total doubles matches (42) … Captured her first-place blue ribbon at Crystal River’s 2A-7 Tournament by trimming Pasco’s Shelbie Timlake, 6-4, 6-1.

QUOTES: “Katie had a great draw and everything kind of fell into place. She had her mind set on a district championship. To me, her determination stands out. What I’ll miss most? That every time she stepped on the court, there was a high probability she’d win. She and Maddie (Pickersgill) were our co-captains. She was a hands-on type leader.”

- Nature Coast head coach John Downey

No. 3 Singles

Robyn Cotney

Springstead – Senior

COMMENTS: Played for four seasons, started for the last three … Repeat All-County selection … Departs with seven school records … Over the past two seasons in singles play, Cotney totaled an amazing 35-1 (97 percent) won-lost mark … Despite not winning either a singles match or a doubles match as a freshman, Cotney leaves as the Springstead’s all-time leader in singles victories (45), single-season wins (18 in 2013), most doubles victories (33), single-season doubles wins (16 in 2013) and most district titles in one season (two, tied with Scarlet Semack in 2013) … Cotney also finished second all-time in singles matches (51). She leaves 45-6 in singles (88 percent) and 33-11 (75 percent) in doubles … In 2013, she 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) … 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: “I’m really going to miss Robyn; she’ll be missed by everyone on the team, too. … It just seemed wherever I put Robyn she was an automatic point. … Her strengths include her determination and mindset. … If she was ever in any trouble, she’d tell me, ‘Coach, I’ve got this,’ and then come back and win. That’s a special quality she was born with – she’s got a tremendous mental edge to her game. She’s our school’s two-time MVP, too.”

- Springstead head coach Rick Scholl

No. 4 Singles

Sara Guerrero

Springstead – Junior

COMMENTS: First-time All-County selection … Three-year starter … As a frosh in 2012, Guerrero went 4-9 in singles play … The past two seasons she’s posted double-figure totals behind 10-6 and 10-2 slates … Enters her senior year at 24-17 lifetime (59 percent) in singles … In doubles, she’ll enter 2015 16-20 overall (44 percent) … Keeps the team loose with a terrific sense of humor.

QUOTES: “If Sara would have been there during all 15 regular-season matches, who knows what her record would have been? She lost to the same girl twice (Lecanto’s Chynna Liu). … Next season, I expect her to up her game and move up the lineup to either 1-2-3 singles. … Like a lot of our girls, she’s an IB (International Baccalaureate) kid, so her studies take up most of her extra time. … The key for Sara is to stay focused and just grind out some matches and always be looking at the bigger picture.”

- Springstead head coach Rick Scholl

No. 5 Singles

Amber Haisley

Hernando – Freshman

COMMENTS: First-time All-County selection … Broke in with a bang finishing 11-6 (65 percent) in singles play … Her last loss was March 13 to 2013 district champion, Springstead’s Ashley Clark at Delta Woods Park, 6-2, 6-1 … Since that point, Haisley finished on a tear behind eight consecutive victories … Down the stretch, she went 3-0 to capture the first-place blue ribbon during the 2A-7 Tournament by trimming Pasco’s Ashlynn Rainaldi, 7-6 (7-1), 2-6, 6-2 … Haisley added regional champion to her resume by solving Fivay’s Alyssa Dierking, 6-4, 6-3, and Pasco’s Rainaldi in another three-set thriller, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4.

QUOTES: “Amber is a backboard and she likes to have fun. She definitely surprised everybody after moving in here from Indiana. … I definitely thought she did a great job of improving as the season went on. … We’re losing our 3-4 singles, but we have great plans for her.”

- Hernando head coach Connie Foster

No. 1 Doubles

Curren/Jada Bergstrom

Hernando – Sophomore/Junior

COMMENTS: For a second straight season, the Lady Leopards’ No. 1 doubles tandem was named All-County … In 2013, senior Shelby Marrero and Curren finished 15-3 overall and captured the 2A-6 championship … At states, Curren/Marrero went 1-1 at Sanford’s Sylvan Lake Park … This season, Curren teamed with Bergstrom for a county-best 11-4 slate, going unbeaten against every Hernando County doubles crew … The Lady Leopard duo dropped the 2A-7 title at Crystal River to Pasco’s Madison Johnson/Shelbi Timlake, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 … In regionals, Curren/Bergstrom defeated Fivay’s Amber Mariano/Ashleigh Day, 6-0, 6-3, but lost to Johnson/Timlake again, 4-6, 6-2, 10-7.

QUOTES: “I liked the way Jada had a calming influence on Grace. They complement each other. Jada might be quicker along the baseline, but Grace is very accurate when she’s near the net.”

- Hernando head coach Connie Foster

No. 2 Doubles

Cotney/Scarlett Semack

Springstead – Senior/Junior

COMMENTS: First-time All-County selection … In 2013, Semack and Cotney teamed up for an outstanding 13-1 campaign … The seasonal highlight was the district championship victory at River Ridge over Central’s Brittany Blackburn and Jordan Stenholm, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 … A year later, the Lady Eagle duo posted a 9-3 slate. The tandem again reached the district finals in 3A-5 at Lecanto, but fell to Ocala-Forest sisters Katelyn and Breanna McNeal, 6-3, 6-1.

QUOTES: “These two played really well together. They’re a solid doubles team. After they won districts last year, I wasn’t going to break them up this year. … They had another good year. They’re strength lies in how much they feed off each other. Those two had a special bond. We nicknamed them Yogi and Boo-Boo.”

- Springstead head coach Rick Scholl

Coach of the Year

Rick Scholl

Springstead – Second Year

COMMENTS: Since 2000, Springstead has had seven different girls tennis coaches … After two seasons, Scholl, a tennis professional from Citrus County, is the only Lady Eagle mentor with a winning career record at 23-9 (72 percent) … Across two seasons, his players returned with four individual district championships: three in singles and one in doubles … The other six coaches combined for one district title … In 2013, Scholl guided the Lady Eagles to school’s first-ever district championship and its first-ever regional appearance … This season, SHS finished 7-1 among the Hernando County ranks for its first-ever county crown.

QUOTES: “We pretty much had the same team we had last year, but we were thrown into a much tougher district. As a result, we didn’t have the same success we had the year before. … I like the fact that we were the strongest team in the county – it’s something we’ve worked toward. … I’d like our girls to take some time off to finish the school year and play as much serious tennis as they can during the summer. The area’s top kids play year-round, so we have to challenge some of our kids’ practice habits. … It’ll be different next year without Robyn (Cotney). She was the heart and soul of our year. Someone else will have to step up and to the baseline and take that role.”

- Scholl

“He’s got a good group of girls; they’re right on track for another good season next year. I’m impressed with how far he’s taken that program over the last two years.”

- Central head coach Sonya Burns

2014 Hernando Today All-County Girls Tennis Team

SINGLES

POS. PLAYER/SCHOOL YR. WON LOST .PCT

No. 1 – Grace Curren, HER# 10th 17 2 .895

No. 2 – Katie Viola, NCT 12th 12 4 .750

No. 3 – Robyn Cotney, SPG# 12th 17 1 .944

No. 4 – Sara Guerrero, SPG 11th 10 2 .833

No. 5 – Amber Haisley, HER 9th 11 6 .647

DOUBLES

POS. PLAYER/SCHOOL YR. WON LOST .PCT

No. 1 – Curren/Bergstrom, HER 10th-11th 11 4 .733

No. 2 – Cotney/Semack, SPG 12th/11th 9 3 .750

Player of the Year – Grace Curren, HER#

Coach of the Year – Rick Scholl, SPG

# Denotes repeat selection.

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