VENICE – In tennis, it is always good to have court awareness.
A couple of girls on the Venice High team had courts awareness Thursday.
Nika DeLong and Adela Piskor were aware of the action on the surrounding courts and raced to finish their singles matches.
After both the Venice Nos. 1 and 2 doubles teams of Nicole Cierniak and Mikalya Faure and DeLong and Christine Wu opened with victories, DeLong and Piskor clinched the Class 4A regional final over Gulf Coast with decisions at Nos. 3 and 5 singles, respectively.
The 4-0 victory over the Sharks earned the Venice girls its first trip to the state championships since 2014.
Cierniak and Faure, who were going to states as a result of winning the No. 1 doubles title at the district tournament, won 6-1, 6-2. DeLong and Wu posted a 6-0, 6-3 victory at No. 2 doubles.
That left Venice needing two wins out of the five singles matches that were being played simultaneously.
“I look around and check the scores,” DeLong said. “I wanted to be the first one off the court.”
A calm and collected DeLong polished off Aca Rochford 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3 singles to put Vencie up 3-0.
“The satisfaction of finishing your match is always nice and knowing you actually won,” DeLong said. “It’s a feeling I contributed toward the team again.”
Piskor also scanned the courts and thought she could clinch the victory with a victory at No. 5 singles.
“I was looking around,” Piskor said. “I knew we only needed four matches to win. I knew we won three and I was the closest. “
Piskor’s 6-1, 6-1 decision over Bianca Kisic clinched it and ended all the other matches.
“I just knew I could do it,” Piskor said. “I knew my last game of my last set would be trouble closing it out. I managed to do it, so I’m happy about it. “
Piskor overcame a slow start when she dropped a service game to start the match. But when she saw Kisic having difficulty serving in the windy conditions, Piskor became more confident.
“I usually have trouble with the first game in the first set. It’s kind of a pattern I have, ”she said. “I never let it get to my head. I just take it as a warm up.
“We have wind here all the time and I know how to manage with it. I was comfortable with the wind. “
For the record, Ciernian, Faure and Wu were comfortably ahead in their matches at Nos. 1, 2 and 4 singles, respectively, so it did not matter who but when Venice would earn a berth to the states.
Venice defeated Gulf Coast, 6-1, during the regular season on March 31 at Venice and captured the district championship over the runner-up Sharks, who were without a couple of players because of different circumstances.
“We were confident, but we weren’t cocky,” DeLong said. “We knew we could do it, and now we did it. And we’re going to states. “
Advancing to next week’s state tournament in Seminole County has been a goal since the beginning of the season for Venice.
“I’m super excited. This is what we’ve wanted and we’ve been working so hard for this, ”DeLong said. “We’re just a very strong team all together. We’re very deep. Last year we had a deep team as well, but the talent is so much better this year. “
DeLong has played at No. 2 singles at times this season, but does not mind playing at No. 3 for the betterment of the team.
“We know what we are expecting. We are expecting top-notch schools, ”she said. “But we also are top-notch. So we know we can compete. We are one of the best eight schools in the state. We are prepared. We all know it is going to be tough. “
Venice’s only regular season loss was a 4-3 decision to Community School of Naples.
“It’s going to be fun,” Piskor said of the state tournament. “I know we have a really good team and we will do well. It’s my teammates that make it good. We’re going to work hard for it. “
Bishop Verot 4, Lemon Bay 2
AT: Three Oaks Park, Fort Myers
SINGLES – Elizabeth Manibo (BV) def. Jordan Shirley (LB) 4-6, 6-2, (10-6); Alexia Jacob de Beucken (BV) def. Marie L’Abbe (LB) 6-4, 6-2; Rosey Lowder (LB) vs. Cornelia Ovren (BV) UNFINISHED; Avery Shirley (LB) def. Laila McCullers (BV) 6-1, 6-3; Olivia Kushner (BV) def. Fabiana Artigas (LB) 6-3, 6-3
DOUBLES – Manibo / Jacob de Beucken (BV) def. J. Shirley / L’Abbe (LB) 6-0, 4-6, (10-7); Lowder / A. Shirley (LB) def. Ovren / Ava Aloia (BV) 6-2, 7-6 (4)
RECORD: Lemon Bay (12-3)
Lemon Bay 4, Bishop Verot 3
Class 2A regional final
AT: Three Oaks Park Tennis Courts, Fort Myers
SINGLES – Ron Domeier (BV) def. Stevie Ethier (LB) 6-1, 6-1; Hunter Andres (LB) def. Kevin Johns (BV) 6-2, 7-6 (8-6); Billy Rand (LB) def. Jacob Mast (BV) 6-1, 6-1; Gray Lowder (LB) def. Bryce Dean (BV) 6-4, 6-2; Caleb Hutcherson (LB) def. Andrew Pino (BV) 6-0, 6-1
DOUBLES – Domeier / Johns (BV) def. Ethier / Andres (LB) 6-2, 6-0; Mast / Pino (BV) def. Rand / Lowder (LB) 7-5, 0-6, (10-7)
RECORD: Lemon Bay (13-1)
Saint Stephens 5, Community School of Naples 0
Class 1A regional final
DOUBLES – Jake & Max Pettingell (SS) def Rocco Didonato & Este Caidiou (CSN) 6-1, 6-0; Tomas Martins & Ricardo Perazzolo (SS) def Zach Braverman & Jake Jaffe (CSN) 6-1. 6-1
SINGLES – Jake Pettingell (SS) def Rocco Didonata (CSN) 6-2, 6-7 (6), 10-6; Max Pettingell (SS) def Este Caidiou (CSN) 6-0, 6-0; Tomas Martins (SS) led Zach Braverman (CSN) 6-1, 1-0 Did Not Finish; Ricardo Perazzolo (SS) led Jake Jaffe (CSN) 6-2 Did Not Finish; Meng Zhao (SS) def Sohum Thakker (CSN) 6-1, 6-0
RECORD: Saint Stephen; s (10-0)
Parrish Community 10, Southeast 0
TOP PLAYERS: Carson Allison (2 hits, run), Calin Heath (2 hits, 2 RBI, 2 runs, SB), Eloy Serrata (2 hits, 3 RBI, 2 runs)
PITCHING: Noah Eatman (4 IP, hit, 10 Ks), Justin Ledger (2 IP, 2 Ks)
RECORD: Parrish (13-9)
NEXT: Parrish Community at IMG Academy on Monday
Lakewood Ranch 9, Braden River 2
AT: Braden River
TOP PLAYERS: LR, Zach Miller (3-4, run, RBI), Ryan Combs (1-4, 2B, 3 RBI, run), Lochlan Radloff (3-4, 2B, 2 RBI, run); BR, Ryan Laitz (2-3), Kyle Vaughn (2-3, RBI)
PITCHERS: LR, Mason Wozniak (7 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned, 3 Ks)
Riverview 9, Manatee 8
AT: GT Bray Park
TOP PLAYERS: R, Ella Trandem (3-4, 2 RBI), Bella Thompson (1-4, HR, 2 runs, 3 RBI), Ava Johnston (1-2, run, 2 RBI); M, Samantha Formosa (2-4, 2B, 2 runs, RBI, Jayme Prandine (2-4, RBI), Alderson (2-4, 2 RBI, run), Caldwell (2-4, 2B, run)
PITCHING: R, Ava Johnston (3 IP, 3 hits, run, 0 earned, 2 Ks)
OF NOTE: Riverview scored seven runs in the seventh inning after trailing 7-2. … Bella Thompson hit a deciding 3-run homer in the seventh.
RECORD: Riverview (6-16)
Mariner 16, Lemon Bay 5
AT: Lemon Bay
TOP PLAYERS: LB, Izzy Brickle (3-3, 3B, 3 RBI, run), Ella Kraszewski (2-4, run, RBI)
Dennis Maffezzoli is the deputy sports editor for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and chief reporter for Sarasota Herald-Tribune and HTpreps covering Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. Support local journalism by subscribing.