Southington girls tennis Robin Thompson said she is very pleased, but not surprised, by her team’s 5-0 start to the season.
“Our players have settled in a bit—despite this awful rainy weather—and have faced a variety of opponents,” Thompson said. “Things now become more and more difficult for our team as our divisional play is about to begin. Our division is by far the toughest in any of the girls tennis CCC divisions. How we perform in the next few weeks will be crucial for us.”
The Lady Knights got to 5-0 with a 5-2 road win over Mercy on April 17 on the campus of Wesleyan University in Middletown. The match of the day came at No. 4 singles, where senior captain Jillian Watson outlasted her opponent, Isabella Bartolomei, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2). Watson’s match took two hours and 45 minutes to complete. She was playing in place of Riley Tindall.
“What she did versus her opponent in that third set tiebreaker served as such a great example to the rest of the team,” Thompson said, “especially our younger and less experienced team members, and we spent time the next day discussing all that took place in that match.”
In the past, Watson may have remained frustrated or gotten down on herself when something went wrong, Thompson said. Not in this match against Bartolomei.
“She dropped the first set, and despite several breaks of serve, she was able to take the second set,” Thompson said. “The third set started off with her losing her service game right off the bat, but she bounced back.”
With both teams and coaches watching, Watson and Bartolomei tied 6-6 in games in the third set and headed to a tiebreaker. Watson won the first five points in the tiebreaker, where the first to seven points wins, provided the player wins by two points. Bartolomei took the next two points, but Watson snagged the next two points and sealed the match. It was the last match completed on the day.
Southington won three of the four singles matches contested. Abby Murphy won, 6-0, 6-2, at No. 1 singles while Chantelle Gimenez won, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 3 singles. Joelle Stublarec was defeated in her No. 2 singles match by Mercy’s Abby Weaver, 6-1, 6-1.
In doubles, the Knights claimed two of the three matches. The No. 1 doubles team of Kate Hardy and Isa Miani won, 6-3, 6-2. The No. 3 doubles team of Ali Bruce and Avery Halloran won, 6-2, 6-0. Southington’s No. 3 doubles team of Gianna Wadowski and Avery Korp was defeated, 6-3, 6-2, by Mercy’s tandem of Meg Brodeur and Maggie Garcia.
Southington is 5-0 and has been playing well, but some tough opponents are looming later in the schedule.
Up next: The Knights were scheduled to play at New Britain on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Southington was slated to play at Farmington (3-0 as of Tuesday morning).
“Our first test will be Farmington this week,” Thompson said. “I believe we have the capability; how our players handle tougher opponents and tougher situations will determine our success. We’ll need different players, in different matches, to win their lines for us to win each match overall.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com