By BRIAN JENNINGS
With the tennis match all squared at 3-3, it came down to a battle at No. 1 singles between Southington’s ace, Kristen Mathew, and Mercy’s top gun, Molly Garcia.
Mathew went up b a point after prevailing in a first-set tiebreaker, 7-6 (4). It seemed like she had the match in the bag after stealing the thunder from Garcia in the opening set, but the storm was just beginning.
“There were ebbs and flows in this match,” said Southington coach Robin Thompson. “It happens all the time. We kind of suspected this and saw the Mercy one player before; a good player. But if you can be on the good side of a tight situation, she tends to struggle in the next set.”
Garcia didn’t struggle in the next set. She returned to extend the match by taking the second set, 6-3.
“We thought it was going to be a two-setter, but credit to Molly Garcia, she came fighting,” said Thompson. “It might have just been a break of a serve.”
Mathew fought back, and won the match by taking the third set, 6-4. Mathew held a 5-2 lead in the third set, but Garcia crept back to come as close as 5-4.
“That puts a lot of pressure on the server,” said Thompson. “It got tense, but she held her own.”
Mathew’s victory helped lift the Lady Knight tennis team up a match above .500 by edging Mercy by a point, 4-3, to earn their second-straight win at home on Thursday, April 13.
Mathew’s victory also helped the Knights sweep singles for the first time this season. No. 2 singles Abby Murphy, No. 3 singles Molly Murphy, and No. 4 singles Carolyn Callahan each won in straight sets. M. Murphy dropped just one game. Callahan was down 4-0 in the second set, but rallied back to take the next six games.
But on the other side of the net, however, Southington’s doubles tandems failed to register a single win. No. 1 doubles Abby Roy and Coral Tommervik and No. 3 doubles Chantelle Gimenez and Safiyah Pathan each fell in straight sets. No. 2 doubles Sam Barmore and Joelle Stublarec fell in three sets, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
The Knights will be back on the courts this week when they host East Catholic (1-0) on Thursday, April 20 in their lone match of the week. Southington is currently 2-1 overall.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/04/18/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-april-21-edition/). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.