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Friday, Mar 27, 2015

Springstead earns first regional victory


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SPRING HILL - Springstead had waited long enough for its first regional win, and Tuesday's rainout only added to it.

In their 33rd season of existence, the Eagles decided not to let Wednesday's rescheduled Class 3A, Region III semifinal get past singles play.

So when Robbie Hoover triumphantly closed out his No. 3 singles contest against Charles Wilson, it set off an on-court celebration with his teammates and closed the books against visiting Orlando-Edgewater at Delta Woods Park, 4-1.

The junior Hoover survived a tiebreaker in the first set to pull out a 7-6 (7-0), 6-2 victory.

"I just said 'I'm going to start taking my shots,' and after I started taking my shots it started going good and I just kept getting pumped up, and it kind of snowballed from there," Hoover said. "It feels great. It's just history, you know?"

Coming off back-to-back district titles, the Hernando County-based Eagles - Edgewater shares the same mascot - set up a 3A-III final with Ocala-Forest Thursday at Delta Woods at 3 p.m.

Springstead (13-1) just topped Forest in the 3A-District 5 Tournament last week and defeated the Wildcats on Feb. 27, 5-2.

However, Forest knocked off the Eagles in last year's regional semifinals, 4-3.

"We're super-excited," Hoover said. "We're hoping to go to states, hoping to win."

Against Edgewater (14-4), Patrick Deslaurier suffered a 6-1, 6-0 loss to Peter Tong at No. 1 singles.

The rest of the Springstead lineup, though, mostly dominated. Hank Deslaurier took No. 2 over Hongchen Ji, 6-2, 6-2, and Alex Hoover topped Tristan Geving, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 4. Sam DeAngelis captured the No. 5 matchup against Tyler Wilson, 6-1, 6-4.

That left Robbie Hoover and Charles Wilson alone on the court, with Hoover voicing his excitement throughout, exhibiting the emotion of the moment.

With the outcome decided, the two squads opted not to play doubles.

"I thought when we played pretty domineering in districts that we had a good chance," Springstead head coach Joe Nicolai said. "Playing a team that you've never played before is always tough to predict a winner, and Edgewater played very well. We just played better. We played one of the best matches of tennis that I've seen this team play, so it was good to see them peaking at the right time.

"Just all-around good play. I wish Patrick was a little bit more competitive but he played a real tough guy. I think their player will go a few rounds in the state level."

The experienced mentor, however, preferred to judge his team in the present rather than against the backdrop of the past.

"To me that doesn't mean anything," Nicolai said of the first regional win. "I just want the guys to play the best that they're capable of playing, and what that results in is what that results in."

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Springstead 4, Orlando-Edgewater 1


No. 1 - Peter Tong (EDG) def. Patrick Deslaurier, 6-1, 6-0

No. 2 - Hank Deslaurier (SPG) def. Hongchen Ji, 6-2, 6-2

No. 3 - Robbie Hover (SPG) def. Charles Wilson, 7-6 (7-0), 6-2

No. 4 - Alex Hoover (SPG) def. Tristan Geving, 6-3, 6-4

No. 5 - Sam DeAngelis (SPG) def. Tyler Wilson, 6-1, 6-4


No. 1 - DNP

No. 2 - DNP

Records - Springstead (13-1), Orlando-Edgewater (14-4).

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