Gulf Breeze, Catholic tennis take region openers

Gulf Breeze, Catholic tennis take region openers

News

Gulf Breeze, Catholic tennis take region openers

By

For the past few days, Elizabeth Bryan had been battling an illness.

On Tuesday, the Gulf Breeze senior was battling Tallahassee Florida High with doubles teammate Kelly Barnhill.

“Just one more point,” Bryan said. “I kept telling myself ‘Just get through one more point. If we could get one more point, we’d be finished.’ “

Bryan eventually got her wish, turning in the match point to win 6-2, 6-3 and help the host Dolphins win their Region 1-2A match against Tallahassee Florida High 4-0.

The boys defeated Baker County 5-0 earlier in the day to make it a sweep for Gulf Breeze, a program with a history of tennis success.

“These kids, they’re making their own history,” Gulf Breeze coach Patrick Keen said. “Gulf Breeze has a strong history (in tennis), but each team creates its own history. They’re excited to make their own tradition.

“They’re competitive. From No. 3 down to (Nos.) 6 and 7, it’s very competitive. It’s a coin flip. They beat each other on any given day.”

With the Gulf Breeze girls leading 3-0 after the No. 5 singles and doubles matches, Barnhill stepped back on the court for the deciding singles match, defeating Kelly McCarthy 6-1, 6-1.

“Singles is my favorite, so I’m always fired up for singles,” Barnhill said of playing so soon after her doubles match. “I like playing on the baseline. I like the long points. At the net you don’t usually have as many long points. I like being able to hit wherever I want, plan it out.”

The boys played all five singles matches, easily defeating Baker County 5-0 and eliminating the need for doubles competition.

“It’s just another match,” said Harley Spann, the No. 1 singles player for the Dolphins. “We’ve seen good teams (before), it’s just another match on the court. We knew what we were going to do.”

Doubles teammate Ben Barrow agreed.

“Anytime you get to the playoffs, it gets a little difficult,” Barrow said. “But I was confident we could do it. We’re a good team.”

The Gulf Breeze boys are enjoying some late season success behind a young team lacking any seniors.

“Our boys are playing real well,” Keen said. “We came off of spring break a little rusty, but we’ve had two tough matches against Mobile and local powerhouse Washington. We’re playing with confidence and playing really good tennis right now.

“We’ve got a long future.”

Catholic sweeps 1-1A quarterfinals

The Catholic boys and girls tennis teams continue to dominate in the postseason, this time with wins against Community Christian and John Paul II, respectively, at Roger Scott Tennis Center in Region 1-1A first-round action.

The boys swept Community Christian 7-0, while the girls handily defeated John Paul II 5-2.

“I’m sure if you asked our girls, there were probably nerves,” Catholic coach Geoff Watts said. “They all know what round we’re in. We got off to good starts in all of ’em. Everybody played really well.”

On the boys side of the competition Chris Ephron and Danny Sullivan continued to cruise in their matches — winning the No. 1 doubles 6-0 6-0 before winning their singles matches 6-1, 6-1 and 6-0, 6-0, respectively.

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports