ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — For the first time in the history of the Florida high school girls state tennis championships — dating to 1938 — two girls from Hillsborough County will face each other for the No. 1 singles title.
The girls — Plant junior Erica Oosterhout and Newsome freshman Kylie Moulin — will face off this afternoon at Sanlando Park for the right to raise the title trophy.
It will also be a first battle between the seemingly favored Oosterhout and the admittedly surprised Moulin.
“I thought I might have a chance, but I wasn’t that confident because I knew I would be playing against much older seniors who were about to go to college,” said Moulin, who qualified for today’s title match by winning the individual qualifiers bracket on Tuesday with a hard-fought 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 final victory against East Lake’s Angel Deng. “I’ve gained a lot of confidence (through the tournament). I’m just going to go out and play my game and see what happens.”
Oosterhout, who qualified for today’s championship match by winning the team No. 1 singles bracket, is also keeping perspective: “You never know what can happen. You just have to play your own game.”
It will mark the fourth time a girl from Hillsborough County has won an individual state tennis title; the others were Alonso’s Megan Broderick (2006-07), Tampa Catholic’s Miranda Gutierrez (2003) and Tampa Prep’s Saras Arasu (2000).
For Oosterhout, it would be a sense of satisfaction for personal victories mixed with a little letdown, because Plant was mathematically eliminated on Tuesday from a chance at winning its fourth straight girls team title.
“The good thing is that we know everybody on our team gave it everything they had,” said Oosterhout, who won the team singles No. 1 final 6-2, 6-2 and didn’t lose more than two games in her three tournament victories. “That’s all you can ask. No one is mad with anybody else. I’m proud of all of our efforts.”
Though Plant is mathematically eliminated from winning the team race, Oosterhout and Rodriguez can still capture an overall No. 1 doubles title today with victories in the team No. 1 doubles final and the overall doubles final.
A Plant victory in the team doubles final could also lead to a runner-up spot in the team title race with 10 points, but that scenario also hinges on how Cypress Bay (currently 11 points) and Orlando Dr. Phillips (10) fare in their remaining matches today.
The team champion was scheduled to be determined on Tuesday, but the action was cut short by thunderstorms.
In Class 2A action, Jesuit and Academy of the Holy Names both finished with three points, well behind Gulliver Prep, which sealed team titles in both the girls and boys competitions Tuesday.