girls pg 9 5-16-19

It was a long time in coming.
The Woodstock Academy Centaurs have been a member of the ECC since 2000. In that time, according to coach Ann Rathbone, the girls’ tennis team has never defeated Stonington. That changed May 8 when the Centaurs finally got the monkey off their backs with a 4-3 win in Stonington.
The problem is the season is not over. The Centaurs still have second matches to play against two Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I opponents including another encounter with the Bears.
The Centaurs (9-2 overall) are on top of the division at 4-0 heading into those matches after a 5-2 win over Fitch May 11y.
The Centaurs did that against the Falcons. Woodstock Academy started on the wrong side of the score when No. 1 singles player Mari Ruggieri fell to Samantha Cote 0-6, 2-6.
Morgan Bassett evened things up with a 6-0, 6-0 victory at the No. 2 singles. But the back-and-forth continued when Hannah Darigan fell at No. 3 singles 1-6, 1-6 and Rachel Holden persevered for a 7-5, 7-5 victory at No. 4.
The doubles teams ended all doubts. Adeline Smith and Caitlyn Sroczenski posted a 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 1 doubles. The team of Rachel Lambert and Emma Durand were 6-3, 6-1 winners at second doubles. Annabelle Bastura and Jackie Trudeau completed the sweep with the 6-1, 6-1 victory in their doubles match.
It was a nice way to put a star on a week that was memorable already after the win over the Bears.  Ruggeri lost to Stonington’s Maddie Hamm 6-1, 6-1, but the Centaurs rallied in No. 3 and 4 singles. Darigan posted a 6-2, 6-0 win over Holly Foster and Holden prevailed 6-3, 6-1 over Erin Metherway.
The first and second doubles teams, however, stumbled. Smith and Sroczenski lost 1-6, 4-6 at No. 1 doubles and Bastura and Trudeau were downed, 5-7, 2-6.
It put the pressure on the No. 3 doubles team of Izetta Asikainen and Sophia Rakovan. They lost the first set to Grace Milne and Mia Lewendowsky 1-6. Asikainen and Rakovan had provided the winning margin in 4-3 victories over Fitch and RHAM.
The Woodstock Academy coach continued to watch the other matches and noted that third doubles were still on the court. Asikainen and Rakovan won the second set, 6-4. The third went six games each to force a tiebreaker which was just as much a back-and-forth battle with the Centaurs duo finally pulling out the 14-12 win.
Bassett, the second singles player for the Centaurs, was able to watch some of that tussle while her match was in progress and gained some momentum from their perseverance.
The senior had to take Advanced Placement tests and arrived to the match late.
It pushed Bassett’s match with Alison Margolice to last in the line.
And suddenly, the match as a whole was on the line.
“There was a little pressure, a lot of people watching,” Bassett said. “I knew, after talking to Coach Rathbone, that it had to be done and we were not going to get another opportunity like this in a long time.”
Bassett has been hovering near the .500 mark in individual matches this season and was questioning herself.
“I’m really proud of her because she stepped up to the No. 2 spot and has asked me the past couple of days, ‘What do I have to do to get a win?’ She’s been really close. I told her that it doesn’t matter if she wins, it’s about playing hard and setting an example for the rest of the team. She has bought into that,” Rathbone said.
This time, however, the Centaurs needed the win. The senior provided it. She won the first set 6-4.
But Bassett made it a little nerve-wracking when she lost the second by that same score, only to come back and roll to a 6-0 win in the third set.
“That was a pretty dominant performance in the third set which was easier on my nerves. You never know how that set is going to go,” Rathbone said.
“It was really exciting,” Bassett said. “The girls stormed the court and gave me a bunch of hugs and stuff. We were screaming for what seemed like 20 minutes on the Stonington court. It was the best feeling.”
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director
The Woodstock Academy


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