The deciding match on court No. 3 ended much like the other three before it.
Quick and clean.
But Cypress Lake sophomore Jose Camacho’s 6-3, 6-0 victory over Bradenton Southeast’s Parth Patel in the Region 2A-6 boys tennis finals Thursday, which gave the team a 5-0 win, also signified something larger for the Panthers, a position the team hasn’t reached in some time — if ever, Cypress Lake coach Sydney Nowak said.
The Panthers are headed to the Class 2A tournament.
“I think it was the biggest goal for us this year,” said Cypress Lake senior Zachary Blythe, the team’s No. 1 who defeated Southeast’s Jake Mattraw in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0. “I know if we competed well, we could put ourselves in that position. That’s what we did throughout the year.”
The Panthers head to Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry and Sylvan Lake Park in Sanford to begin their state tournament hopes Monday.
While Cypress Lake hasn’t advanced as a team in a long time, Nowak said, former player Parker Woodall went as far as the state final in Class 3A in 2012, losing his match to Barron Collier’s Brett Clark.
“We do our business. We know what we’re here for,” Blythe said. “That’s what we do. We don’t sugarcoat it. We go right to work.”
Like their Tuesday outing in the Region 2A-6 semifinals against Lemon Bay, the Panthers made quick work of the Seminoles, despite construction taking place just feet from the facility.
Cypress Lake senior Cason Hiers, the team’s No. 2, also won in straight sets 6-0, 6-0 against Konrad Strzalkowski. The Panthers’ No. 5 player, Nolan Nowak, won 6-0, 6-1 against Tyler Teaford.
The Panthers clinched the team win before Logan Glock’s match was even over on the fourth court — he ultimately won the match, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) over Sebastian Suarez.
“I’ve never gone as a team,” Hiers said. “I’ve never been a part of a very good team. This year is really special. All of us are really good tennis players. We can win our positions.”
For Hiers, it marked an important time, too.
The former Saint Paul, Minnesota, resident had moved with his family to Fort Myers as a sophomore after playing three years of varsity tennis back home.
Despite reaching the state finals in Minnesota and at Cypress Lake as a sophomore, he had achieved what most teams aim for every season.
A state championship run.
So Thursday’s win also provided a feeling of accomplishment.
“It’s definitely a lot different for me being six years older from then and not being No. 1 here, but I prefer that,” said Hiers, a Catawba College signee. “I prefer when the team does well.
“The team I was on before wasn’t very strong and I was playing No. 1s as a seventh-grader,” he added. “I got a lot of good competition. It helped me become the player I am today.”