Since dropping their season-opening match to South Windsor, the Lady Knight tennis team has not looked back, winning their next three matches. In their lone match of the week on Thursday, April 20, the Knights recorded their first shutout of the season after sweeping East Catholic, 7-0, at home.
Up quite a bit on their opponent during the match, Southington coach Robin Thompson said that it was an opportunity to try new strategies in doubles and work on different kinds of shots.
“It’s always a pleasure to play East Catholic because it’s usually a very friendly match with no controversy,” said Thompson. “We did talk to the girls, and if there was an opportunity we would try different things.”
The reason for experimentation could be credited to a rough stretch of regional and divisional play that is looming for the Knights. One noticeable change came at doubles, which called for first switch in the starting lineup since the season started.
No. 2 doubles Samantha Barmore and Safiyah Pathan, and No. 3 doubles Chantelle Gimenez and Joelle Stublarec played as pairs for the first time this season, but still managed to take their matches in straight sets. Barmore and Pathan did not drop a single game.
Pathan moved from No. 3 doubles to partner with Barmore, and Stublarec moved from No. 2 doubles to team up with Gimenez. Thompson said that the new duos very well could be permanent down the road.
“We spent the past couple of days doing a big round robin to try and determine who complimented each other the best,” the coach said. “It’s a little difficult when you’re putting girls together for the first time because you can’t force chemistry. But I feel pretty good about what we have right now.”
No. 1 doubles Abby Roy and Coral Tommervik prevailed in straight sets as well. No. 1 singles Kristen Mathew, No. 2 singles Abby Murphy, No. 3 singles Molly Murphy, and No. 4 singles Carolyn Callahan won in straight sets. A. Murphy did not drop a single game.
Where it took the Knights so long to get on court because of the weather, it helped them to prepare more for the season. But after experiencing back-to-back weeks with just one match played in each, the Knights will return to the courts this week with four matches. For Thompson, having that kind of slow start to the season could be both good and bad.
“I feel like we have more matches ahead of us than practice days,” said Thompson. “It’s kind of been a slow start for me, but it’s just the way the schedule worked out. It is what it is, and we’ll march on.”
The Knights will look to extend their winning streak when they travel to Farmington (1-1) on Monday, April 24 and Rocky Hill (2-1) on Tuesday, April 25, returning home to host Windsor (0-2) on Wednesday, April 26 and Bulkeley-HMTCA Co-op (0-3) on Friday, April 28.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (http://southingtonobserver.com/2017/04/26/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-april-28-edition/). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.