2022 All-Area Athletes & Teams

All-Area Athletes and Teams

All-Area Athletes & Teams

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Page 30 of 39

www.yoursun.com Page 31 SUN PREPS ALL-AREA TENNIS By VINNIE PORTELL and PATRICK OBLEY SPORTS WRITERS There is a theme to this year's Sun Preps Boys and Girls All- Area tennis teams – Venice and Lemon Bay dominate the first teams on each. Lemon Bay's boys reached the state finals for the first time in 15 years with a freshman and sophomore leading the way. Those two – Stevie Ethier and Hunter Andres, paired up to win a district doubles title and advance directly to the state doubles finals. Venice's boys dominated the Sun Preps region, defeating Lemon Bay during the regular season, then duplicating the Mantas' feat by earning a state berth for its No. 1 doubles tandem of Seth Neitlich and Charlie Siddons. Those two reached the state title match before bowing out. Lemon Bay coach Seamus McCarthy, architect of the Mantas' first state trip since 2007, is our Sun Preps Boys Tennis Coach of the Year. In girls tennis, players from Venice and Lemon Bay dominat- ed our area – with players from each team making it all the way to states. The Lady Indians were particularly dominant, with a 16-1 regular season record and a nearly perfect district tourna- ment against top competition. Venice's No. 1-5 players all made the All-Area team for their eorts, with its top three players – Nicole Cierniak, Mikayla Faure and Nika DeLong – all on First Team. The Lady Mantas' top duo of Jordan Shirley and Marie L'Abbe, who won a doubles district championship and advanced to states, also have made First Team. Venice tennis coach Wayne Robertson, who coached his team to a district title, regional title and state appearance, is the Sun Preps Girls Tennis Coach of the Year. Sun correspondent Steve Knapp contributed to this report. BOYS FIRST TEAM HUNTER ANDRES LEMON BAY, SOPHOMORE Andres was as reliable as they come as a No. 2 singles player for the Mantas. His 6-2, 7-6 win against Bishop Verot's Kevin Johns clinched the team's first trip to the state finals since 2007. At district, he won the No. 2 title and paired up with Stevie Ethier to win the No. 1 doubles crown, earning a spot in the state doubles finals. STEVIE ETHIER LEMON BAY, FRESHMAN It's not often a kid shows up on campus and immediately takes the reins as the No. 1 sin- gles player, but Ethier did just that. He spearheaded a Mantas squad that swept every match at the district tournament, earning himself a trip to the state singles championships. In pairing with long-time friend Hunter Andres, Ethier also earned a trip to state at No. 1 doubles. Lemon Bay's first team trip to the state finals in 15 years was not possible without him. EZRA MORENO DESOTO COUNTY, FRESHMAN A max-eort player, Morena burst onto the local tennis scene this season, going 12-1 and defeating several players with significantly more experience. His best trait beyond eort, according to Bulldogs coach Mitchell Johnson, is his desire to grow in the game. SETH NEITLICH VENICE, JUNIOR A No. 2 singles player that would probably be a No. 1 at any other school in the area, Neitlich did his part to ensure a district No. 1 doubles title for the Indians. When Venice ended up on the road for the region semifi- nals, Neitlich won his singles match, then paired with Charlie Siddons for a No. 1 doubles win. After bowing out of the team bracket later in the week, Neitlich and Siddons went on to state in the doubles tournament and finished as runners-up. CHARLIE SIDDONS VENICE, JUNIOR Siddons was the area's most-dominant singles player and proved to be equally potent as a doubles partner to Seth Neitlich. With Siddons at No. 1 in singles and doubles play, Venice rolled to a 16-4 overall mark with the only setbacks coming to Gulf Coast, a team Venice ran into five times. He reached the state doubles championship match with Neitlich, the best finish by any area players this season. SECOND TEAM BRYAN, CIERNIAK, VENICE, SENIOR TYLER OLBY, CHARLOTTE, SENIOR BILLY RAND, LEMON BAY, JUNIOR NATHAN REID, PORT CHARLOTTE, SENIOR HECTOR TORRES, NORTH PORT, SENIOR GIRLS FIRST TEAM NICOLE CIERNIAK VENICE, JUNIOR Cierniak has been the top player for Venice since she joined as a freshman. Playing at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles this season, she wasn't needed in every match of the regular season, but showed up when it mattered most. Cierniak lost just two matches — in No. 1 singles at districts and states — in the postseason as she helped her team win district and regional titles. JORDAN SHIRLEY LEMON BAY, SENIOR A team co-captain, Shirley played at both No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles for the Lady Mantas. Shirley went 11-7 in singles play, but was nearly unstoppable with senior teammate Marie L'Abbe in doubles as the tandem went 14-3 and won a district championship. MIKAYLA FAURE VENICE, SOPHOMORE Venice tennis coach Wayne Robertson wasn't sure where to play Faure when she first joined the team this season — starting her at No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles. However, it wasn't long before Robertson knew she was ready for a bigger challenge, bumping her up to No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles for the final few weeks of the season. MARIE L'ABBE LEMON BAY, SENIOR Also a co-captain alongside Shirley, L'Abbe played at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles for Lemon Bay. The senior hardly lost all season, going 14-4 in singles play and 14-3 in doubles play — including a district title with Shirley that sent the duo to states. NIKA DeLONG VENICE, SOPHOMORE A top starter for Venice since she joined the varsity team last year as a freshman, DeLong could be the No. 1 player for countless teams across the state. At Venice, she played up and down the lineup, finishing the year at No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles. DeLong's sacrifice proved to be more than worth it as she finished undefeated in singles play through districts, regionals and states. SECOND TEAM CHRISTINE WU, VENICE, FRESHMAN HALAYNA ROBERSON, CHARLOTTE, JUNIOR ADELA PISKOR, VENICE, SOPHOMORE ROSEY LOWDER, LEMON BAY, SOPHOMORE TESS TCHORBADJIEV, VENICE, FRESHMAN Area stars shine among state's best SUN FILE PHOTO BY PATRICK OBLEY Lemon Bay's Jordan Shirley serves during her No. 1 doubles match earlier this spring against Bishop Verot at Fort Myers.

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