All-County Boys Tennis
Player of the Year: Alex Moutran (CHS, Soph)
All-County team: Celebration: Emilio Perez, Angel Partidas, Carlos DeGouveia. Osceola: Yohandri Acosta, Jacob Johnson. Harmony: Michael Howard. St. Cloud: Yahir Rivera, Joshua Whiteacre.
The mark of Celebration sophomore Alex Moutran’s tennis season may not have been the run through the regular season and district tournament, when he never lost a match — impressive for a No. 1 line player who always matches up against opponents’ toughest players.
His most impressive moment for the Storm this season may have come the morning of the regional semifinals against Tampa Newsome.
Moutran was sick the night before, and received IV fluids in the hospital for a stomach bug. Knowing he wasn’t feeling his best, he chose to play in his No. 1 slot for the Storm, thinking at worst he could gut out a set or two.
“If I didn’t go, then our No. 2 would have to move up to 1, 3 move to 2,” he said. “But if I played we could keep the lineup the same, and the guys would be in their familiar spots, which helped because it was the playoffs.”
Moutran retired, but the Storm beat Newsome, 4-3, to win a regional match for the first time in school history. Moutran also qualified for the state singles draw, but only lasted one match. Still, he’s the Osceola News-Gazette Boys Tennis Player of the Year.
Although just a sophomore, he said he relished the chance to play No. 1 singles and doubles on a team full of newcomers, all from Venezuela, who spoke a slightly different version of Spanish than the Portuguese he learned in his native Brazil.
“I was the only returning player, but we still did better as a team than last year,” Moutran said. “But I could have done better at state. I’m looking forward to that challenge again next year.”
Moutran took up the game at age 8 in his native Brazil, and three years later he became the top 11-year-old in the country. His family left home to come to Florida for a better economic climate, and to give him a chance to play against better competition.
That last part’s come true. Moutran is ranked in the top 50 in statewide youth Under-16 youth rankings. He said he wants to play in college, where he’d also go to pursue a business degree — he carries a 4.0 weighted GPA in Celebration’s IB program.
“Yes I want to play in college, and see where my game goes from there,” he said. “I’d love to play professionally but I’m taking one step at a time.”
He’s working on those steps, literally, as he lists his footwork as the part of the game he’s working on the hardest right now, while trying to develop a more aggressive game.
Celebration tennis coach Darren Holt said while other team members, like No. 3 Angel Partidas and No. 5 Carlos DeGouveia played some very hard fought matches that won important points for the team this season, Moutran’s leadership provided the young team the extra push it needed at times — like during that Newsome match.
“He quite literally ‘took one for the team,’” Holt said. “When you understand this kids need to win and look good, he put that aside to make a huge effort and play his match at line 1, allowing the rest of the boys to hold their line position and win the regional semi final and then almost convert enough wins in the regional final. We feel it was a selfless move on his part.”