By BRIAN JENNINGS
A week of three shutouts and has the Lady Knight tennis team positioned comfortably for a seat in the Class L Tournament. They are now past the midpoint of the regular season and just two wins shy of clinching a playoff berth with eight matches remaining.
On occasion, Southington coach Robin Thompson said that she makes lineup adjustments to give other players an opportunity against the right opponents. Finding the right components of the doubles lineups has been an ongoing project for the Knights, and this past week was the week to experiment.
Watson had been sitting just outside of the top 10 on the team, and Thompson said that she wanted to give Watson an opportunity to gain exposure in a singles environment because she thought she was better suited for singles. Watson swapped with Joelle Stublarec and played a pair of matches at No. 4 singles while Stublarec played a match at No. 3 doubles, and it paid off.
“Being by herself in the past, Jill has struggled mentally sometimes, and she knows it,” said Thompson. “But she did a super job and pretty much dominated her opponent to get a nice win for herself and the team.”
Thompson said that she thought it would be a good thing for Stublarec to get some good net play and work on strategies.
“Joelle likes to come into net, so we felt like giving her the opportunity to play at net,” said Thompson. “Being in doubles would give her some more tools. Considering that they never played together, they did pretty well.”
The Knights (7-3) will be back on the courts this week with contests against divisional Simsbury (5-1), Avon (4-3), and Windsor (3-6).
Win vs. Maloney
APRIL 30—The Knights began the week on Monday by surrendering just eight games combined in singles and doubles with a 7-0 sweep of Maloney at home.
In singles, No. 1 Abby Murphy, No. 2 Coral Tommervik, No. 3 Molly Murphy, and No. 4 Watson won in straight sets. All surrendered just one game each.
In doubles, No. 1 Carolyn Callahan-Chantelle Gimenez, No. 2 Samantha Barmore-Madison Beaudoin, and No. 3 Kate Hardy-Isa Miani won in straight sets as well. Callahan-Gimenez and Hardy-Miani dropped just one game each.
Win vs. Berlin
MAY 2—Abby Murphy was at her usual best in helping to lead the team without a blemish, and the tandem of Gianna Wadowski-Emma Wojcicki went the distance to help preserve a perfect victory. The Knights kept rolling a couple of days later with a 7-0 sweep of Berlin at home.
In singles, No. 1 Abby Murphy, No. 2 Tommervik, No. 3 Molly Murphy, and No. 4 Stublarec won in straight sets. Abby Murphy did not drop a game, while Tommervik surrendered just one.
In doubles, No. 2 Barmore-Beaudoin and No. 1 Callahan-Gimenez won in straight sets. No. 3 Wadowski-Wojcicki survived a third-set super tiebreaker, 10-5, after winning the first set, 6-4, and rallying back from dropping the second set, 1-6.
Win vs. Manchester
MAY 3—In a match that was almost interrupted by rain, the Knights took all seven lines of play and gave away just four games in singles and doubles combined. They capped off the week on Thursday with their third-straight win and seventh shutout of the season in a 7-0 sweep of Manchester at home. All of Southington’s wins have been shutouts thus far.
In singles, No. 1 Abby Murphy No. 2 Tommervik, No. 3 Molly Murphy, and No. 4 Watson won in straight sets. Abby Murphy, Tommervik, and Molly Murphy did not drop a game.
In doubles, No. 1 Callahan-Gimenez, No. 2 Barmore-Beaudoin, and No. 3 Stublarec-Wojcicki won in straight sets as well. Stublarec-Wojcicki did not drop a game.
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.