PUNTA GORDA — Lakewood Ranch High senior Alyssa Corcoran knows every time she steps onto the court, fellow senior Katherine Pyne has her back.
And vice versa.
The two have been playing doubles tennis since they were freshmen, and over the past four years, the two have developed a chemistry that is both impressive and nearly unstoppable.
“We work really well together,” Corcoran said. “She’s the only one who’s been here all four years, and we’ve grown together.”
“We’re like sisters,” she said.
The two continued their dominance on the court this season, easily capturing the No. 1 doubles title with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Venice’s Victoria Traynor and Danielle Haefele at the Class 3A-District 10 tournament April 13-14 at Charlotte High School.
With the win, the two helped propel the Lady Mustangs into the regional tournament. Lakewood traveled to Winter Haven for the first round of the regional tournament; however, results were not available as of press time. The winner will play either Venice or Bartow in the second round April 22.
The Lady Mustangs, who finished one point shy of capturing their fourth-consecutive district title, scored 15 points, finishing as the district runner-up behind Venice. Braden River finished tied for fourth place with five points.
“I’m all about the team,” Corcoran said. “Obviously, I want to go to states with the team, so I just did anything I could to help us get back there.”
As the district’s No. 1 doubles champions, Corcoran and Pyne earned an automatic berth in the Class 3A finals April 26-28 in Orlando. Pyne also earned an automatic berth in No. 1 singles, defeating Braden River’s Marie Babayan 6-0, 6-2 to capture the district title.
“I just went in optimistic,” said Pyne, who captured the No. 2 singles state title last season. “I just told myself to go in and play my game.”
Across the court, the Lakewood boys tennis team continued its district dominance this season, scoring 17 points to capture their second-consecutive district championship. Braden River finished as the district runner-up with 11 points.
With the win, Lakewood played host to George Jenkins in the opening round of the regional tournament April 20, while Braden River traveled to Winter Haven. The winners of both opening round matches advance to the second round April 22.
“I’m very proud of the team,” Lakewood coach Ed Bongart said. “We play as a team and doubles is part of that. We’ve got the first step down and I’m very happy with the way that they played.”
Senior Cooper Maxwell led the way for Lakewood, capturing the No. 1 singles district title with a 6-3, 6-1 over Charlotte’s Kristen Combs.
Last season, Maxwell couldn’t beat his rival. But over the course of the season, Maxwell changed his approach.
And it has worked to his advantage.
Maxwell defeated Combs in a district match a couple weeks ago and then again in front of a raucous crowd in the No. 1 singles final.
“We talked about it quite a bit about how to play Combs,” Bongart said. “He adjusted his game a bit and his form to see what works against him.
“I’m happy for him,” he said. “He did well and he won pretty convincingly considering he had to fight through the (crowd). It was basically Cooper against the district.”
Arsav (No. 2) and Arnav Mohanty (No. 3) and Drew Christianson (No. 5) also earned district singles titles for the Mustangs. Arsav Mohanty and Kevin Rechcigl teamed up in No. 2 doubles, defeating Braden River’s Will Jay and Tarik Jenkins 6-2, 5-7, 6-0.
Maxwell and Arnav Mohanty had an opportunity to capture the No. 1 district title and an automatic berth in the state finals, but were unable to hold off Charlotte’s Combs and Anthony Borrego.
Jay (No. 3), Jenkins (No. 4) and Matt Boles (No. 5) led the way for the Pirates, as each advanced to their respective singles finals.
“You never know what to expect with this team,” Braden River coach John Wheeler said. “We snuck up to beat Venice and now we get to play again.”
Contact Jen Blanco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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