By BRIAN JENNINGS
Southington came away with a pair of wins and a loss this past week to improve to 5-2 and come one step closer to clinching a postseason berth. With tough divisional play waiting for the Knights just around the corner, the attention of the team has turned to the doubles tandems.
“We’re trying to explain, demonstrate, and drill more with our doubles girls to get them to see different strategies and opportunities in certain circumstances,” said Southington coach Robin Thompson. “We’re hoping that’s going to start clicking as we start to face this brutal part of the schedule.”
Patience, aggressive play, and picking moments are just some of what Thompson said will help the Knights prevail during such an important time of the season.
“We have to go for the shot when the shot is there,” the coach said. “We can’t play scared. We have to be mentally tough and play smart. We have to hang tough during those three-setters and tiebreakers.”
The Knights can clinch the postseason this week with wins over Hall (4-2), Rocky Hill (3-1), and Glastonbury (6-1), but it won’t be easy. Glastonbury is currently tied for fifth in Class LL, and all three will pose a tough challenge.
Loss at Farmington
APRIL 24—The Knights began the week by suffering their second loss of the season after falling, 6-1, at Farmington on Monday. The Knights lost three out of four three-set matches.
“For some of our singles and doubles, it’s the length of the match,” said Thompson. “I don’t know if some of them are prepared for that longevity of a match. It’s the mental effects of being in a third set and taking advantage of opportunities when they’re there, but I’m actually happier with our performance today than against South Windsor because of the way we competed.”
No. 1 doubles Abby Roy and Coral Tommervik defeated Farmington’s Halley Dopp and Joanne Le in three sets, 6-4, 1-6, 6-1, to come away with Southington’s lone win of the day.
No. 3 singles Molly Murphy, No. 4 singles Carolyn Callahan, and No. 3 doubles Chantelle Gimenez and Joelle Stublarec fell in three sets. M. Murphy’s match, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 3-6, lasted about three hours.
No. 1 singles Kristen Mathew, No. 2 singles Abby Murphy, and No. 2 doubles Samantha Barmore and Safiyah Pathan lost in straight sets.
Win vs. Windsor
APRIL 26—A couple days later, the Knights recorded their second shutout of the season with a 7-0 sweep of Windsor at home.
“Today was about being mentally engaged in the game and trying some different things if we had the opportunity to,” said Thompson. “We wanted to try some different strategies so that there’s a comfort level if we’re force into those situations in the future.”
No. 1 singles Mathew, No. 2 singles A. Murphy, No. 3 singles M. Murphy, and No. 4 singles Callahan won in straight sets. A. Murphy did not drop a single game.
No. 1 doubles Roy and Tommervik, No. 2 doubles Barmore and Pathan, and No. 3 doubles Gimenez and Stublarec won in straight sets as well. Barmore and Pathan did not drop a single game.
Win vs. Bulkeley-HMTCA
APRIL 28—Girls came off the bench to start in their first varsity matches of their high school careers at home on Friday, as the Knights rounded out the week by earning their second-straight win with a 6-1 victory over Bulkeley-HMTCA Co-op.
No. 2 singles A. Murphy, No. 3 Gianna Wadowski, No. 4 singles Nebeeka Saha, No. 2 doubles Barmore and Pathan, and No. 3 doubles Jill Watson and Madison Beaudoin won in straight sets without dropping a single game. No. 1 doubles Roy and Tommervik won in straight sets following forfeiture from their opponents in the second set, 6-0, 3-0.
“As far as our three singles and four singles go, they’re both freshmen,” said Thompson. “They’ve earned the right to be the next two out if we have some kind of lineup issue. That was a great opportunity for both of them.”
No. 1 singles Mathew fell in straight sets to Bulkeley’s Raina Desai, 7-5, 6-1.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/05/02/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-may-5-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.