TAMPA — After three years of trying, Plant High senior boys tennis player Alec Josepher is hoping this will be the year he takes home a state trophy.
On Wednesday, Plant took one step closer to accomplishing that goal, defeating Countryside, 4-1, in the 4A-Region 4 semifinal.
Josepher, Plant’s No. 1 singles man, won 6-4, 6-1 over Countryside’s Jordan Monosky. Plant lost in the region championship last year while Josepher finished runner-up in the No. 1 state doubles tournament.
Plant’s Evan Vancavage won at No. 5 singles to clinch the match.
4A-4: Wharton falls
SARASOTA — Wharton traveled to Sarasota and lost a 4A-Region 4 semifinal to Riverview, 4-2.
4A-3: Newsome done
ORLANDO – Orlando Olympia swept Newsome through the first four singles matches, ending Newsome’s season in a 4-0 loss in the 4A-Region 3 semifinals.
Though his team lost, Newsome senior Garrett Watson has an opportunity to win a state title as an individual in the 4A singles bracket.
3A-4: King moves on
TAMPA — Without its No. 1 singles player, Vignesh Bhethanabotla, who missed due to a science fair exhibition, King was still able to move onto the region final.
The Lions, led by strong play from Greg Smith and Nick Miljus, knocked off Bartow 4-2 in the 3A-Region 4 semifinals at the Temple Terrace Tennis Courts.
Every player on King’s squad was bumped up one spot, with Smith taking over as the No. 1 singles. Smith dominated Bartow’s Youlei Li 6-0, 6-1 and Miljus defeated Kevin Craig 6-4, 6-2. King’s Rohit Chari took care of Matt Murphy 6-1, 7-5 in the No. 5 singles match.
In doubles play, Smith and Chari narrowly defeated the duo of Li and Craig 6-3, 7-5.
– Andy Villamarzo
3A-4: Lakeland rolls
LAKELAND — With the region semifinal match-deciding point at stake, Hillsborough had to retire its No. 3 singles player due to severe cramping during the third tiebreaking set, giving Lakeland the win, 4-3, in the 3A-Region 4 semifinals.
Hillsborough’s Ben Muschol lost the first set of his No. 3 singles match only to tie it by winning the second, 6-4. He led 1-0 in the third set when he began cramping. Despite a short rest, he could not continue.
Jacob Kennard and Phillip Nguyen led Hillsborough with wins at No. 1 and 2 singles and at No. 1 doubles (6-2, 6-1).
– Nick Williams
3A-5: Freedom out
VENICE – Senior Jon Heindenberg was Freedom’s lone victor, as the Patriots fell to Venice, 4-1, in the region semifinals.
Heindenberg defeated Venice’s Alex Fong, 6-0, 6-4. Heindenberg, Freedom’s first No. 1 male singles champion, will compete in the 3A state tournament individual singles bracket next week.
– Nick Williams
3A-5: Wiregrass wins
WESLEY CHAPEL — Wiregrass Ranch blanked Sarasota, 4-0, in the 3A-Region 5 semifinals.
Tebastian Castillo-Sanchez (20-0), who hasn’t lost a game all season, continued his run at perfection on the year by dispatching Sam Maxwell 6-0, 6-0 .
– Kenny Sanders
2A-4: Pasco rolls
HUDSON — Despite missing one of its top players, Pasco breezed by Fivay, 6-1, in a 2A-Region 4 semifinal. Playing without Josh Morris, the rest of the Pirates stepped it up.
“We definitely came in focused, because we knew Fivay was a formidable opponent.” Pasco coach Mickey Wilks said. “They’re a different team from when we faced them the first time, because they got one of their better players back.”
The player Wilks was referring to was Chris Mancini, who recorded the Falcons’ only win on Wednesday.
Pasco’s Alex Mitchell got the ball rolling with a straight set win over Fivay’s Derek Balazy.
2A-4: Gulf swept
BROOKSVILLE — Nature Coast swept Gulf to win a 2A-Region 4 semifinal.
The Sharks won all four singles matches as well as both doubles.
Nature Coast’s top seeded doubles team of Jesse DeWitt and Connor Schwefringhaus defeated their Gulf foes 6-0, 6-1.
– Matt Neuhausen
2A-5: Jesuit prevails
TAMPA — Jesuit had little trouble with Sarasota Booker in the 2A-Region 5 semifinals, clinching the match with a 4-1 record in singles at Hillsborough Community College.
The Tigers sealed the team victory by wining the No. 2 through No. 5 matches, and then Tiger coach Joe Curtis pulled the plug midway through the No. 1 match to save energy for today’s regional final at Boca Ciega, which features defending state champion Dan Stefan.
Tiger winners included No. 2 Max Azzarelli (6-1, 6-0), No. 3 Alex Crosby (6-2, 6-0), No. 4 Gantt Meredith (6-0, 6-1) and No. 5 Dean Lontoc (6-0, 6-0).
– Scott Purks
1A-4: Berkeley perfect
TAMPA — Berkeley Prep defeated Lakeland Christian 7-0 in a 1A-Region 4 semifinal.
1A-4: Tampa Prep loses
WINTER HAVEN — Tampa Prep’s season ended with a 7-0 loss at Winter Haven All Saints’ Academy in a 1A-Region 4 semifinal.