Rolling with the punches; Shifting lineups don’t matter to the Lady Knights

By John Goralski

Sports Writer

Cassidy Race slipped into the No. 2 singles position and never missed a beat. Caroline Barry moved into a vacant singles position to win her first varsity singles match.

On Friday, April 23, the Lady Knight tennis team had a different lineup, but never missed a step. With a 7-0 win over Rockville, the girls improved to 4-0 in the early season.

“I think our singles are our strength,” said Lady Knight coach Robin Thompson. “We have quality girls there, and I think that we can get a significant amount of wins—maybe even four—on any given day. Even though we had two girls moving up, I really felt that they could do a great job handling the challenge, and they did.”

Barry was the first one finished, securing a 6-0, 6-0 sweep at No. 4 singles. Race overcame a slow start at No. 2 when she began to pick apart her opponent’s forehand.

“I had a hard time getting into it today, but once I did it worked well,” said Race. “She had a stronger backhand than forehand, and it took me a while to figure that out. I had to start hitting it more to her forehand side, and that got me a lot of my points.”

The regulars held their own, too. Alex Barmore swept through Rockville’s top player, 6-0, 6-0. Catie Wormer shifted up to No. 3 singles and came away with a 6-0, 6-0 win.

Liz Costello-Natalia Gimenez and Sam Lohneiss-Olivia Ende won in straight sets, while Susan Murphy and Rianna Susco partnered for a split set victory at No. 1 doubles to complete the 7-0 sweep.

Thompson said that she was happy with the way that her team handled the shifting positions.

“You can have one or two sick girls, and all of a sudden it’s chaos,” she said. “We spent a fair amount of time talking about that and how thre’s no ‘I’ in team. That sounds cliché, but you have to take care of your match and what you’re doing for the team. So far, they’ve been doing that.”

The victory came on the heels of another lopsided win. On Monday, April 21, the girls cruised past Bristol Central, 6-1, in a match that used to be a close rivalry.

“They are a pretty good school, but our kids are really doing a good job of finding a way to stay in the game mentally,” said Thompson. “That’s really good. I want them to play every point and move on, and that’s what they’ve been doing.”

Barmore, Race, and Wormer won their singles matches in straight sets, and the Lady Knights swept through doubles competition. Costello-Gimenez  and Loehneiss-Ende won easily, while Murphy-Susco survived a tie breaker to win in straight sets.

“I’m very happy considering that we’re still trying to figure some things out with our doubles,” said Thompson. “Our girls are competing, and they’re starting to put into play some of the things that we’re working on in practice. I’m really happy with the way we’re playing.”

Now, Southington will try to carry their momentum into the next challenge. They’ll open the week on the road at Windsor () and Fermi () before kicking off the conference schedule at home against Conard () on Friday.

To comment on this story or to contact sports writer John Goralski, email him at jgoralski@ southingtonobserver.com.

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