Niceville girls win state tennis title

Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 09:19 PM.

Wednesday was a dream run for Niceville. Thursday morning was more like a nightmare.

A day after flexing its collective muscle en route to a leaderboard-topping 12-0 record, Niceville opened Thursday with an 0-5 mark in the singles championships.

Once comfortably ahead of Barron Collier 12-7, the lead had dwindled to 12-9.

But Niceville didn’t panic. The Eagles didn’t pout. They didn’t make excuses. They didn’t dwell on a bad shot here or there.

Instead, they did what they’ve done all season: Find a way to win.

Sam Sepe and Antonia Poate won their No. 1 doubles semifinal match in straight sets and then Barron Collier dropped a third-set tiebreaker to Creekside in the other No. 1 doubles semifinal, securing the Eagles’ first state title in program history. The Eagles’ final tally was 13 points, edging Creekside and Barron Collier by a couple of points.

“There was so much pressure, but it was the kind we wanted,” said senior Antonia Poate, who now has a team state title in golf and tennis. “We knew if we played our game and went out there and did what we needed to do, we’d walk off with a victory for our team. It was just an honor to be in that spot in the first place, and I’m so glad Sam and I could pull it out.”

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