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Tennis preview

Posted on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Ricardo Pereira plays No. 1 and No. 2 singles for Celebration. Photo/Martin Maddock

By Rick Pedone
Sports Editor
Celebration has been the team to beat in Osceola County tennis and it defends the boys and girls Orange Belt Conference championships this season.
Both teams advanced to the regionals last year, as well.
Celebration and Osceola play in 4A District 5 with Polk County foes Lakeland, Georg Jenkins, Haines City and Ridge Community.
Gateway and St. Cloud are in district 4A-9 against Lake Nona, Oak Ridge, Cypress Creek and Freedom.
Poinciana, Harmony and Liberty compete in 3A-7 with Deltona, East River, Edgewater, New Smyrna Beach and Pine Ridge.
Celebration
The Lady Storm, under Coach Catherine Thames, have been the team to beat for the past several seasons.
With returning player of the year Alexandra Tucker playing No. 1, the Storm again are good bets to reach the regionals.
Maria Fregonezi steps into the No. 2 slot, and Alisa Demenchukov, Manuela Vasoncelos and Beatriz Coelho round out the top five.
Also competing for Celebration are Pilar Vazquez, Rafa Lobato and Tya Zeper.
Coach Darren Holt returns to lead the boys squad.
His top five is Jamal Scaggs, Ricardo Pereira, Marcos Santos, Fernando Chaves and Simon Rodriguez.
Also on the squad are Alejandro Armendariz, Eddie Curtu, Sagar Shah, Pedro De Oliveria, Jake Taylor, Jaden Cuatchon and Stefan Vasbinder.
St. Cloud
Coach Chad Ansbaugh coaches the girls team this season. He has a young but experienced roster that will have some new faces this year with the addition of Jeanne Marie Gearity, Oriana Alvarenga and Karla Chourio.
“These three will add a boost to a team that is returning all of its varsity players from last season,” Ansbaugh said.
The returners are Gwen Andrews, Grace Allen, Sofia Pintado, Nina Santamaria, Samantha Singleton, and Bailey Ansbaugh. “With no seniors and all of this young talent, we are hoping for a competitive environment every day in practice,” said Ansbaugh.
Ansbaugh said that Clark is playing No. 1 singles while several others are vying for spots among the top five.
“Hopefully by the end of the season we will have a set lineup that can consistently compete,” he said.
Jason Enos coaches the boys team this season.
His players are Blake Peele, TJ Miller, Ryan Sokolovic, Nathan Grigsby, Ian Isaza, Shawn Sherman, Austin Logan, Marco Jiminez and Franco Nazarian.
Harmony
Coach Jessica Pociask takes over the girls program this season.
“We are a young team and this is my first year as head coach of the Lady Longhorns, however I believe that we have several strong young ladies with bright futures in the sport,” she said.
The squad is lead by No. 1 singles player Mary Jacobsen, who has the talent to win a district championship, said Coach Pociask.
Also playing in the top five are No. 2 Maylei Mabre, No. 3 Tanea Spruill, No. 4 Kalin Abernathy and No. 5 Rehema Lubula.
Rounding out the squad are Emma Torpey, Liz Barton and Sarah Witner.
“As a team, it is our goal to have a winning season and bring home a district championship,” Pociask said.
Osceola
Coach Reggie Beeks returns for a second season.
The Lady Kowboys lineup features Erin Chau and Naomi Yap.
The top Osceola boys players are Jacob Johnson and Angel Partidas.
Poinciana
Coaches Faisal Cheema and Shane Whitsett coach the Eagles.
The top female players include Reina Cesar, Angela C and Wildina Benjamin.
The boys team will be comprised primarily of newcomers, said Cheema.
Gateway
Coach Katherine Clark leads the girls and boys teams.
Her top girls players include Sarah McFeeley, Courtney Rosenthal and Giovanna Capobianco.
The leading boys players are Anthony Capobianco, Gavin Gui and Heting Liu.
Liberty
Coach Bruce Mulford returns to lead the Chargers.
“We have a lot of interest this year with many first-year players and those returning,” he said. “This year’s team has the most experience and depth than many previous years. We are looking forward to a great season.”
The roster has seniors Dennis Ortega, Johnson Raymond and Joshua Long. The juniors include Ryan Robert and Adam Novak. Sophomores are Bryan Pasos and Isaac Costales and Martin Vayas is a freshman.