SEBRING - Despite losing a number of players to graduation, the Sebring girls tennis team continues to set the pace in Highlands County.
The Blue Streaks, who qualify for the state playoffs on an almost yearly basis, defeated Hardee by a score of 6-1 in a Class 2A-District 11 match on Monday to improve to a perfect 3-0 on the season.
"We've got some new faces on the team this year," said veteran Sebring girls tennis coach Janie Hollinger. "With four seniors and a freshman we have a nice blend of experience and youth.
"All of the girls are working hard on their games and we improve with each match we play."
Sebring senior Nisha Patel defeated Hardee's Susana Oceguera at No. 1 singles by scores of 6-1, 6-0, Blue Streak senior Micaela DeVane outlasted Caroline Durrance at No. 2 singles by scores of 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 and freshman Alana Keith eased past Hardee's Abby Clark at No. 3 singles in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4.
Sebring senior Sarah Beth Rogers beat Cheyenne Pohl at No. 4 singles by scores of 7-6, 2-6, 7-5 and Wildcat Madison Burnett knocked off Amanda Rios at No. 5 singles by scores of 6-7, 6-4, 6-3.
At No. 1 doubles, Patel and DeVane teamed up to beat Oceguera and Clark by a score of 8-1 in a pro set match, and Keith and Rios defeated Durrance and Burnett at No. 2 doubles by a score of 8-4.
Sebring knocked off county and district rival Lake Placid on Thursday by a score of 7-0.
Patel rolled past Hannah Waller at No. 1 singles, 6-1, 6-2, DeVane claimed a hard-fought win at No. 2 singles over Claire LeBlanc by scores of 6-7, 7-6, 6-2, and Keith won at No. 3 singles over Rachel Shattler, 6-2, 6-2.
Rios won No. 4 singles, 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 and Ashley Castelli blanked Green Dragon Katie Dye at No. 5 singles, 6-0, 6-0.
At No. 1 doubles, DeVane and Patel beat Waller and LeBlanc by a score of 8-4 and Keith and Rogers won No. 2 doubles over Shattler and Nelly, 8-4.
The Blue Streaks opened the season with a 6-1 victory over the Clewiston Tigers.
Patel lost to Anessa Leyva, 0-6, 1-6, DeVane rolled past Jordan Pencarinna by scores of 6-1, 6-0 and Keith eased past Alyssa Middler, 6-0, 6-1.
Rios had no problems with Alexa Middler, 6-1, 6-0 and Castelli beat Susan Wallar, 6-0, 6-1.
Patel and DeVane combined to win No. 1 doubles over Peyva and Pencarinna scores of 6-1, 6-0 and Keith and Castelli won No. 2 doubles over Wallar and Carolina Garcia, 6-1, 6-0.
Sebring is in a different district this season and the competition the Blue Streaks face will be tougher than years past.
In the new district is county rival Avon Park, Cape Coral, DeSoto, Hardee, Lake Placid, Lemon Bay, Mariner and Oasis.
There are some quality teams in this district," said Hollinger. "We haven't played some of the teams from the coast and we're looking forward to seeing how good they are."
Sebring is at Lemon Bay Thursday and the Blue Streaks are at Okeechobee on Tuesday.