MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Union High School girls’ tennis team continued this spring’s winning ways on Monday with a 7-0 victory over visiting U-32 in which all of the Tiger singles and four doubles players prevailed in impressive fashion — no Raider won more than two games in any set.
Coach Sarah Harrison Lynn said she knew U-32 (1-3) did not pose the toughest test on the 4-1 Tigers’ schedule, but was still pleased that her athletes played with focus and also took the opportunity to try to improve their games.
“They played very well today,” Lynn said. “They were able to work on some of their shots that they wouldn’t maybe normally try in a match. So it was a good match to try to hone in on some skills they do have, but they don’t practice in a match very often.”
Up and down the line-up, the Tigers had little trouble with their opponents. No. 1 Suzanne Weinstein, a senior who has worked hard on her tennis skills year-round, defeated Maer Gillespie, 6-1, 6-0. Weinstein mixed in strong serves, including deep, spinning second serves; strong baseline hitting; drop shots; and angled winners on short balls from her opponent.
Junior No. 2 Abby Killorin had a long wait for a No. 3 Nicole Brown’s match to conclude, but then made short work of Erin Connor, 6-0, 6-0. Connor, who couldn’t play until sneakers borrowed by Brown’s opponent were returned, simply had no answer for the pace and depth of Killorin’s groundstrokes.
Brown, a junior, maintained calm and focus in a lengthy 6-0, 6-1 win over Michelle Brazier, who stopped the match several times for undisclosed ailments and took her full allotment of time when the players switched sides of the net. Brown probably didn’t play with her best rhythm given the circumstances, but hit plenty of winners.
Junior Jane McCabe at No. 4 played a more energetic and consistent opponent, Kristen Taft, and prevailed, 6-0, 6-2. In a match with longer rallies, McCabe used steady backhands and forehands and her scrambling ability to outlast Taft in most points.
At No. 5 singles, sophomore Hannah Kraus played a similar match with Margaret Armstrong. Kraus’s steadier play and better ability to place the ball made much of the difference in her 6-2, 6-1 victory.
At No. 1 doubles, juniors Kate Robinson and Sara Higgins used stronger serving, groundstrokes and net play to coast, 6-2, 6-0, over Claire Puleio and Fiona Mosely.
At No. 2 doubles, senior Alyssa Heyborne and junior Georgia Durham faced little challenge from Phina Sances and Sandra Mosely in a 6-0, 6-0 match. Heyborne and Durham consistently kept their serves and shots in play, essentially all that was required.
Lynn believes the addition of newcomers Robinson and Anna Rumbough, a sophomore who was on a school trip and did not play on Monday, have made the Tigers’ top-to-bottom lineup stronger.
“We have our work cut out for us in some of these matches, but overall I feel it’s a wonderful team, and we’ll do relatively well,” she said. “I’ve got some depth this year that I haven’t ever had.”
And, Lynn said, the Tigers’ attitude will give them a lift this spring.
“It’s a great team. This is just the best bunch of girls. They’re just very encouraging toward each other, and helpful and accommodating,” she said. “It’s just a wonderful group of kids.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.