Tennis fights for home field advantage

Abby Murphy returns a volley against Pomperaug to get her 14th win of the season.



Simsbury handed the Lady Knight tennis team their first shutout of the season (7-0) to start the week, but the girls bounced back with a sweep of Bristol Central. The awe-inspiring play of freshman Abby Murphy continued as her 14th victory pushed the Knights past Pomperaug on senior day.

With one match left in the regular season, Southington is currently 11-5 overall still with a shot at hosting an opponent in the first round of the Class L tournament. That’s pretty much where Southington coach Robin Thompson predicted her girls to be before entering the season.

“At this point, it’s just continuing to play smart tennis,” the coach said. “In doubles, it’s working the angles, poaching, and execution of the strategy. It would be nice to get a seeding that lets us host a team.”

The Knights will close out the regular season this week against Wethersfield (14-3).

Loss at Simsbury

MAY 15—The Knights began the week by dropping their fifth match of the season after getting swept, 7-0, at Simsbury on Monday, suffering their first shutout on the year.

No. 2 singles Abby Murphy went three sets with Simsbury’s Emma Buckle, but fell short by three points in a super tiebreaker, 2-6, 6-4, 10-7. No. 3 doubles Chantelle Gimenez and Joelle Stublarec also went three rounds, but couldn’t hold on in a final full set, falling, 6-2, 0-6, 6-2, to Simsbury’s Allie Hoffman and Lily Johnston.

No. 1 singles Kristen Mathew, No. 3 singles Molly Murphy, No. 4 singles Carolyn Callahan lost in straight sets. No. 1 doubles Abby Roy and Coral Tommervik and No. 2 doubles Safiyah Pathan and Nebeeka Saha fell in straight sets as well.

Win vs. Bristol Central

MAY 17—A couple days later, the Knights bounced back from Monday’s loss to record their fourth shutout of the season with a 7-0 sweep of Bristol Central at home.

No. 1 singles Mathew, No. 2 singles Abby Murphy, No. 3 singles Molly Murphy, and No. 4 singles Callahan won in straight sets. Callahan surrendered just one game.

No. 1 doubles Roy and Tommervik, No. 2 doubles Pathan and Saha, and No. 3 doubles Gimenez and Stublarec won in straight sets as well. No. 2 doubles and No. 3 doubles surrendered just one game each.

Win vs. Pomperaug

MAY 19—The Knights rounded out the week on Friday by earning their second-straight win after edging out Pomperaug by a point, 4-3. No. 2 singles Abby Murphy clinched the win for the Knights after securing the fourth point in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5, over Pomperaug’s Lila Vogel.

“I see fearlessness,” said Thompson. “What I’ve said to other folks is that she is wise beyond her years. You look at her, and she looks like she’s 12 years old, but she plays like a junior or a senior.”

Moments before Murphy’s win, No. 1 doubles Roy and Tommervik won by forfeit over Pomperaug’s Kira Burnham and Heidi Ngov. Roy and Tommervik took the first set, 6-4, but dropped the second set, 3-6.

However, a flip of the racquet decided that the third set would be settled in a full set in Southington’s favor rather than in a super tiebreaker in Pomperaug’s favor. Thus, Burnham and Ngov chose to forfeit the match and not play the set.

“You hate for things to come down that way, but our kids tend to prefer to play a full set,” the coach said. “I let my kids make the decision, especially at one doubles. It’s important that they play what they want because the wins are important in that line.”

No. 1 singles Mathew and No. 2 doubles Sam Barmore and Saha won in straight sets. This was Barmore’s first time back in the lineup since missing four matches with an injury.

No. 3 singles Molly Murphy, No. 4 singles Callahan, and No. 3 doubles Gimenez and Stublarec lost in straight sets.

 For this week’s box scores, click here: ( To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at

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