The Thunder will face Miami Country Day Tuesday in semifinals.
For the past couple of years, Out-of-Door Academy boys tennis coach Kieran Killigrew had grown accustomed to making the long trip back to Lakewood Ranch after his Thunder teams failed to advance past the first round of the state finals.
But this year, ODA made sure Killigrew had to book at least an extra hotel night for his team, which advanced to the Class 1A state semifinals after a 4-3 win over St. Andrew's at Sanlando Park.
Connor and Jake Krug needed to win a second set tiebreak to win the No. 1 doubles match. They won the first set 6-4 over Quinn Fender and Jacob Lowen, then won the tiebreak 7-3 to kick off the match with a victory.
The St. Andrew's tandem of Nikhil Charanjiva and Ellis Short topped ODA's Jakub Svoboda and Quinn Issac to force a split in the doubles. Fender topped ODA's Joshua Samuel 6-0, 6-3, while Thomas Metz earned a win over Quinn in the No. 5 singles match.
But those wins wouldn't be enough to stop the Krugs and Svoboda in the middle of the singles lineup. Connor Krug took a 6-2, 6-2 decision over Jacob Lowen while Jake Krug defeated Short 6-3, 6-1.
Svoboda's 6-3, 7-5 win over Charanjiva ensured the Thunder wouldn't have to hit the road after their opening match for the first time in three years.
"These were Division 1-quality matches today," Killigrew said. "We may have had our toughest match today, but we've still got to compete if we want to get past the semifinal (Tuesday)."
The Thunder will face Miami Country Day, which swept The Benjamin School on Monday, at 8 a.m. Tuesday. The winner of that match will face the winner of the Tampa Prep/Windermere Prep semifinal matchup for the Class 1A state title at 1 p.m.
Sydney Sforzo and Ava Krug gave ODA a shot at an individual doubles title with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Community School of Naples' Lily Dounchis and Sophia Min in the Class 1A individual girls doubles quarterfinal. Sforzo and Krug — the top seeded pair in the field — will face Maclay's Madison Perkins and Rachael Stockel in a semifinal today at 8 a.m.
The Saint Stephen's girls team saw its bid for a Class 1A state title come to an end after a 4-0 loss to St. Andrew's. The match was called after St. Andrews won both doubles matches and the No. 1 and No. 2 singles matches.
In other individual action Monday, Braden River High's David Ojeda won twice — including a 6-2, 6-1 win over Venice High's Ben Zipay — to advance to the Class 3A boys singles individual semifinal. Zipay and Ryan Rajakar moved another step closer to an individual doubles title after topping Braden River's Ojeda and Sebastian Espinel in a quarterfinal Monday. Saint Stephen's Max Damm and Kevin Jiang also won twice, defeating PK Yonge's brothers Ivan and Kendrick Esguerra 6-0, 6-1 in the quarterfinals and defeating Michael Mendez and Sebatian Stan from Calgary Christian 3-6, 7-5, 10-7. Damm and Jiang will play Ransom Everglades' Grant Dill and Antonio Mora in the finals today at 11 a.m.