St. Thomas Aquinas won its 12th state title in girls’ tennis on Tuesday — the program’s first championship since 2008.
Miami Beach has won a record 13 state titles in girls’ tennis. Aquinas and Cardinal Gibbons are next with 12.
“It’s been a while for us,” said Carol Deopsomer, who has been Aquinas’ coach since 1995. “But we proved we have a really strong team, one through five.”
Aquinas’ top five singles players, in order, are senior Isabel Pacheco; junior Dana Hall; freshman Sophia Pacheco; senior Bella Tirico; and junior Sasha Cartagena.
On Wednesday, Isabel Pacheco will play for the state Class 3A singles title. Aquinas’ top duo of Isabel Pacheco and Bella Tirico will go for the overall doubles title.
From a team perspective, Aquinas was dominant this season. In 21 district tournament matches, for example, no Aquinas player dropped a game. In fact, no Aquinas player lost a set all season.
In the Class 1A state semifinals on Tuesday, Miami’s True North lost twice to the defending champions from Boca Raton, St. Andrew’s.
True North’s boys lost 4-2. True North’s girls lost 4-3.
In the boys’ match, True North won No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles but lost the rest of the completed matches.
“They were deeper than us,” True North boys’ coach Ricky Guevara said of St. Andrew’s. “Our boys were heartbroken. They were mad in the moment.
“But then they realized what a great accomplishment it is to get to state with a team that starts three eighth-graders, one sophomore and one junior.”
The good news for True North is that No. 1 singles player Dylan Chang, who won 6-1, 6-2 on Tuesday, will play on Wednesday for the overall 1A singles title.
Also, True North’s doubles team of Chang and Brennon Chow also advanced to Wednesday’s overall final. Chang, who is a junior, and Chow, a sophomore, won a close match on Tuesday, prevailing 6-7 (7-5), 6-4, 10-7. True North will challenge Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School in both of those matches.
In the loss by True North’s girls, the doubles team of junior Stephanie Hylton and freshman Daniela Chica advanced to Wednesday’s overall final by winning their match, 4-6, 6-4, 11-9.
The team match, which was tied 3-3, came down to No. 2 singles. St. Andrew’s Manci Pal won that match, 6-3, 6-4 over Hylton.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Riviera Prep’s doubles duo of eighth-grader Sasha Kilgour and junior Milagros Lardiez won twice to advance to Wednesday’s Class 1A girls’ doubles final. The duo beat St. Johns Country Day’s Stella Hyatt and Calli Berrang, 6-0, 6-1. Then they beat The Benjamin School’s Ryan Wuhrman and Jane Boyland, 6-3, 6-1.
▪ Palmer Trinity senior Francesca Salvato beat Grandview Prep’s Maddy McNeil, 6-1, 6-1, advancing to Wednesday’s Class 1A overall girls’ singles final. Salvato is a College of Charleston signee.
▪ Terra Institute, which had never been to state tennis prior to this season, could win two Class 1A boys’ titles on Wednesday. Senior Carlos Ramirez, who won 6-4, 6-3 on Tuesday, needs one more victory for the overall title at No. 1 singles. Ramirez, who hopes to walk on to the Florida Gators team this fall, will also try to win the doubles title with his partner, senior Jonathan Claro. Ramirez and Claro need to win twice on Wednesday.
▪ Miami Country Day seniors Lucas Chemla and Luca Donayre lost in the 1A boys’ doubles state semifinals, 6-4, 6-1.