MIDDLEBURY — Visiting Montpelier ended the Middlebury Union High School girls’ tennis team’s three-match winning streak on Monday, 6-1.
The inexperienced Tigers, who dropped to 3-2, were playing without three absent singles players against a team whose only loss had come against Division I title contender Champlain Valley, 4-3.
Coach Laura Rumbough has been pleased that her team has played so well despite losing so many members of its 2011 rotation to graduation. She noted Monday’s absences meant all her remaining players had to move up the ladder to face tougher than usual competition.
They did not object to doing so, Rumbough said, and will benefit from the experience.
“The girls all enjoyed playing up a few positions and taking on the challenge of playing a strong Montpelier team,” Rumbough said. “I was proud that they hung in there and gave it their all. For the most part, the matches were closer than the scores indicate, with good rallies and some close deuce games. Playing better teams is a fabulous learning experience, and typically players see more improvement when challenged to play at higher levels.”
Of course, the Tigers and their coach hope to win as many individual and collective matches as possible, but Rumbough — who is actively recruiting players to replace the several seniors on this spring’s squad — said afternoons like Monday are also part of the program’s larger goals.
“Tennis is a lifetime sport, and all my girls will enjoy the benefits of improving their game,” she said.
The Tigers’ highlight vs. Montpelier was a win by freshman Marvie Avery, typically the Tigers’ No. 4 singles player, over Solon junior No. 2 Andie Parento.
The match proved to be a baseline duel between two consistent hitters. Avery, playing her first year of competitive tennis, won the first set, 6-4, and led the second set, 3-2. But Parento won four straight games to win the second set, 6-3, and appeared to have the momentum in the first-to-10-points tiebreaker that the sport in Vermont now uses to settle 1-1 stalemates. Instead, Avery steadied her game, won the first two tiebreaker points, and never trailed in a 10-7 tiebreak win.
In the other matches vs. the Solons:
In No. 1 singles, Tiger Anna Rumbough lost to Carly Watson, 1-6, 0-6.
In No. 3 singles, Tiger Maelys Michel lost to Stassy Furber, 2-6, 2-6.
In No. 4 singles, Tiger Sonia Howlett lost to Chloe Golonka, 1-6, 2-6.
In No. 5 singles, Tiger Christi VanAmberg lost to Anna Hartman, 1-6, 1-6.
In No. 1 doubles, Tigers Grace Boucher and Mira Atherton lost to Alexis Boucher and Caitlyn Bashara, 1-6, 0-6.
In No. 2 doubles, Tigers Olivia Halnon and Tina Friml lost to Julie Connor and Alyssa Barret, 0-6, 0-6.
In earlier match wins, on April 21, MUHS topped Lake Region, 6-0.
• At No. 1 singles, Rumbough won, 6-2, 6-1.
• At No. 2 singles, Boucher won, 7-5, 7-5.
• At No. 3 singles, Avery won, 6-0, 6-2.
• At No. 4 singles, Molly Mosenthal won, 6-0, 6-1.
• At No. 5 singles, Michel won, 6-0, 6-0.
In doubles, Howlett and VanAmberg won by default.
On April 18, the Tigers topped Spaulding, 6-1.
• At No. 1 singles, Hannah Kraus lost, 6-2, 4-6 (7-10).
• At No. 2 singles, Rumbough won, 6-1, 6-3.
• At No. 3 singles, Boucher won, 6-0, 6-3.
• At No. 4 singles, Avery won, 6-0, 6-0.
• At No. 5 singles, Mosenthal won, 6-0, 6-2.
• At No. 1 doubles, Howlett and Atherton won, 7-5, 6-1.
• At No. 2 doubles, Michel and VanAmberg won, 6-1, 6-1.
On April 11, the Tigers defeated St. Johnsbury, 6-1.
• At No. 1 singles, Rumbough lost, 1-6, 1-6.
• At No. 2 singles, Kraus won, 6-4, 6-3.
• At No. 3 singles, Boucher won, 6-4, 6-2.
• At No. 4 singles, Avery won, 6-0, 6-1.
• At No. 5 singles, Mosenthal won, 6-1, 6-3.
• At No. 1 doubles, Howlett and Atherton won, 6-3, 7-6.
• At No. 2 doubles, Michel and VanAmberg won, 6-3, 6-1.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at andyk@addisonindependent