It was a good day to be a tennis player at Gainesville-Eastside, which was bad news for two county teams that made the trip to Alachua County Tuesday.
Nature Coast’s boys fell to the host Rams in a Class 2A, Region III semifinal, 7-0, at Jonesville Tennis Center.
Meanwhile, Hernando’s girls went down in their own 2A-III semi against the Lady Rams, at Northside Park Tennis Courts, 6-1.
Lida Marie Steinkamp was the lone local victor on the day, taking No. 3 singles for the Lady Leopards (11-2), besting Antonia Veltcheva, 6-4, 6-1.
Freshman Grace Curren at No. 1 and senior Shelby Marrero at No. 2, a combined 27-3 coming in, both dropped their matches, 6-0, 6-0, to Emily Louie-Meadors and Alexandra Sourakov respectively.
Those four players squared off at No. 1 doubles, as well, with the Eastside (5-6) duo likewise winning, 6-0, 6-0.
However, Curren and Marrero will still move on to states next week by virtue of their district championship in doubles.
Murielle LeMaire topped Shelby Smith at No. 4, 6-3, 6-2, and Angela Liu did the same to Caitlynn Nixon, 6-3, 6-2.
Amaleah Mirti and Christine Po teamed for the win at No. 2 doubles against Steinkamp and Smith, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1.
“I think we played decent,” Hernando head coach Pete Lahey said. “We didn’t play real well today. That made a difference on the outcome.
“Lida Marie played well and so did Shelby (Smith) and Caitlynn Nixon. Those three played their normal games. Curren and Marrero, they just had off days. They had a hard time hitting it.”
With Marrero as the only senior, the Lady Leopards can hope to use this as a building block.
“It was a good learning experience for them,” Lahey said. “We got to go to regionals, that’s the first time we’ve done that in a long time. Now they know what they need to do to step up to the next level.”
Jesse Dewitt lost to Hyunsoo Joo at No. 1 singles, 6-0, 6-0, and Conner Schwefringhaus was defeated by Samuel Cockey at No. 2, 6-2, 6-2.
Alec Lund was beaten by Camille Kima at No. 3, 6-0, 6-0; Dakota Willey went down to Maxwell Curtis at No. 4, 6-0, 6-1, and Tabong Kima took out Jerry Bianculli at No. 5, 6-2, 6-0.
In doubles, Joo and Camille Kima won at No. 1 over Dewitt and Schwefringhaus, 6-1, 6-3. Cockey and Derek Li knocked off Willey and Nick Pais at No. 2, 6-0, 6-1.
“The guys played really well, pretty much as good as they’ve played all year,” Brown said. “We just kind of battled against a team that was a little bit out of our league.
“We took four games at No. 2 and four games at No. 1 doubles, and to be honest I didn’t think we’d do either of those. I thought Conner played pretty well. A couple of close calls and that’s a match.
“The team battled. We didn’t concede anything. One of the matches we lost 6-0, 6-1, the 12th game we won.”
Considering the Sharks had no one older than a sophomore in their lineup for this match, the future is hardly dim.
“I think this is going to be beneficial to have made it to regionals,” Brown said. “These guys know they have to improve quite a bit to compete.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us, but we’ve got some time. The guys are ready to commit, so I think we’ll improve next year.”
Class 2A, Region III Boys Semifinal
Nature Coast vs. Gainesville-Eastside at Jonesville Tennis Center
Eastside def. Nature Coast, 7-0
No. 1 – Hyunsoo Joo (EAS) def. Jesse Dewitt, 6-0, 6-0
No. 2 – Samuel Cockey (EAS) def. Conner Schwefringhaus, 6-2, 6-2
No. 3 – Camille Kima (EAS) def. Alec Lund, 6-0, 6-0
No. 4 – Maxwell Curtis (EAS) def. Dakota Willey, 6-0, 6-1
No. 5 – Tabong Kima (EAS) def. Jerry Bianculli, 6-2, 6-0
No. 1 – Joo/C. Kima (EAS) def. Dewitt/Schwefringhaus, 6-1, 6-3
No. 2 – Cockey/Derek Li (EAS) def. Nick Pais/Willey, 6-0, 6-1
Records – Nature Coast (12-5), Gainesville-Eastside (9-6).
Class 2A, Region III Girls Semifinal
Hernando vs. Gainesville-Eastside at Northside Park Tennis Courts
Eastside def. Hernando, 6-1
No. 1 – Emily Louie-Meadors (EAS) def. Grace Curren, 6-0, 6-0
No. 2 – Alexandra Sourakov (EAS) def. Shelby Marrero, 6-0, 6-0
No. 3 – Lida Marie Steinkamp (HER) def. Antonia Veltcheva, 6-4, 6-1
No. 4 – Murielle LeMaire (EAS) def. Shelby Smith, 6-3, 6-2
No. 5 – Angela Liu (EAS) def. Caitlynn Nixon, 6-3, 6-2
No. 1 – Louie-Meadors/Sourakov (EAS) def. Curren/Marrero, 6-0, 6-0
No. 2 – Amaleah Mirti/Christine Po (EAS) def. Steinkamp/Smith, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1
Records – Hernando (11-2), Gainesville-Eastside (5-6).