Viera’s Belaya, Diaz repeat as state doubles champions
Viera High's Izzie Diaz, left, and Sasha Belaya won the Class 3A state doubles championship for the second year in a row.
photo courtesy of viera high school
For the second straight year, Viera High’s Sasha Belaya and Izzie Diaz proved to be an unbeatable pair at the Class 3A state tennis tournament.
Despite being the defending champions, the duo was seeded second at this year’s state doubles tournament, but ended up beating top seeds April Sanchez and Kendall Nash of Atlantic Coast 7-5, 6-1 at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.
“We worked together and played really well as a team,” Belaya said. “Izzie’s very solid at the net. When she volleys, she puts it away. With me being stronger on the baseline, in general, I set her up and she’s able to put it away pretty quickly. That makes us difficult to beat. And we’re really close friends. That connection helps, too.”
Belaya and Diaz are the only Viera tennis players to win a state title.
They were nearly joined this year by the boys doubles team of senior Nico Fuchs and junior Gabe Diaz. They upset the No. 1 seeds along the way to the title match, before falling in straight sets.
“It was definitely a lot better to make it all the way through (to the finals),” Fuchs said. “It was a tough final. We played well, but they just won a couple more games. Overall, it was a fun time.”
Although Belaya, unfortunately, was not able to defend her singles title — she lost in the semifinals — she was happy to come away with another state championship.
The five-star recruit, recently named an All-American for the second year in a row, is headed to the University of Illinois next year.
As for her time at Viera, Belaya said she thoroughly enjoyed her two years of playing with the Hawks.
“I was really hesitant to play high school tennis last year,” Belaya said. “I actually wasn’t going to play and I decided last minute. This year, I didn’t even hesitate to play because I had a really good time last year.
“This year, it was just overall a really good experience. Everyone is extremely supportive here. They make it feel really special, so that’s always nice.