As much as a win over Naples was a confidence boost for Fort Myers in its Region 3A-3 girls tennis semifinal Tuesday at home, there was still the looming opponent in the distance.
Another date with Barron Collier.
“I would love to win, because it would be our first time ever we would win and go to state as a team in the history of the school,” Fort Myers head coach Ron Riis said after the Green Wave’s 5-0 straight-sets win. “But if we don’t, as long as we give them a good showing, that’s all I care about.”
The Green Wave, which reaches the Region 3A-3 Final for the first time in two seasons, will face the Cougars on Thursday at home. They defeated North Fort Myers 5-0 on Tuesday at the Vineyards Country Club in Naples.
“We have the best chance this year than we’ve ever had,” Riis said.
Top-seed Thandiwe Kangwa of Fort Myers, the program’s leading singles player for the past four seasons, enters as one of the Green Wave’s most accomplished players.
The Seton Hall University commit hadn’t gotten past Naples’ No. 1 Nikola Kallenberg, a three-time state champion, over the past three seasons. But that changed Tuesday.
She cruised past Sophia Patella 6-2, 6-1 in the No. 1 singles match, mixing forehands with backhands with ease.
“You try to judge which of their sides is weaker, so you can go there more often,” Kangwa said of her strategy. “And then I just try to stay consistent over my opponent and not go for too much too soon.”
Teammates Daniella Andrade, Reina Plancher, and MaryBeth Briers, who moved up in the lineup following an absence by the team’s No. 2 player, all followed with swift victories
In the No. 5 match, Stephanie Doikos outlasted Daphanie Figueroa 6-1, 7-6 (7-1) to add the final match win on the evening.
“Everyone moved up and they all played great,” Riis said. “They all stepped up to the occasion and came through when it was needed. It was a great team win. “
Region 3A-3 Match Results
• No. 1 singles: Thandiwe Kangwa, FM, d. Sofia Patella, 6-2, 6-1
• No. 2 singles: Daniella Andrade, FM, d. Daniela Brito 6-3, 6-0
• No. 3 singles: Reina Plancher, FM, d. Ally Mastrocola, 6-1, 6-3
• No. 4 singles: MaryBeth Briers, FM, d. Brianna Gill, 6-1, 6-1
• No. 5 singles: Stephanie Doikos, FM, d. Daphanie Figueroa, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1)