Tennis Roundup
Sitting atop
ECC, tied
The Woodstock Academy girls’ tennis program was tested last week and that was the goal of coach Ann Rathbone.
With a big match looming this week against Stonington — the two teams sit tied atop the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II standings with identical 4-0 records — the Centaurs prepped last week with a tough battle against non-league foe, Northwest Catholic.
The Centaurs were able to pull out the 4-3 victory with a pair of juniors leading the way.
Morgan Bassett fell behind early, but rallied for the 0-6, 7-6 (7-2 tiebreaker), 6-4 victory over Elizabeth O’Neil.
“She played phenomenal tennis after losing first set,” Rathbone said. “It was the best match of the day and best I have seen anyone on the team play this year- just sheer guts and determination.”
Mari Ruggeri also had to step up after Clara Siegmund lost a tough match at No. 1 singles. Ruggeri countered with a 6-3,6-3 win over Lauren Mogelnicki to even the match up.
The two teams split the remainder of the way with Mackenzie Eaton and Codi Staveski winning at No. 1 singles while Rachel Holden and Hannah Darigan fell in a three-set marathon at No. 2 doubles to Kelci Goodison and Isabella Krocheski.
That left it up to the No. 3 doubles.
Sam Sheldon and Caitlin Sroczenski pulled out the win for both themselves and the team by a 7-5, 6-3 score over Olivia Chappano and Taylor Griffith.
“It was our biggest win of the season,” Rathbone said. “It was a big one along with two victories against Waterford.  Northwest Catholic is a strong program and we lost to them at the end of last year, so I knew it would be a close one.”
The Centaurs had it a little easier at the end of the week when they downed Bacon Academy, 7-0, in Colchester to raise their overall record to 8-2.
Rathbone took advantage of the opportunity to rest her seniors and give her underclassmen a chance to shine.
“I sat all the starting seniors to give the underclass girls a chance to gain some more match experience.  We had two juniors and two sophomores playing singles, which only will benefit us in the future,” the Woodstock Academy coach said.
Sroczenski, in her second singles appearance of the season, and Holden in her first, both prevailed in the match determined by pro sets.
Boys’ Tennis
While the girls are rocking for the Centaurs, the boys are rolling, just not always in the right direction.
The Centaurs saw two of their top singles players, Will Gajewski and Riley Douglas felled by illness prior to a match week.
It was reflected on the court.
The team had to make some adjustments in the lineup with doubles partners split up and some having to play singles.
The host team, New London, took advantage and scored a 6-1 win.
“That is a first for the boys I believe,” Rathbone said of the loss to the Whalers. “Just when we think the boys are totally on board, something seems to knock them off kilter. It was tough to lose two of top four players, but it has to be next guy up and obviously we were not prepared to do that. We have to instill that into each and every player daily from now on.”
The Centaurs didn’t pack it in.
May 3 they finished the week with a 4-3 win over Bacon Academy at home to get just above the .500 mark at 5-4.
“I preached to one of my captains, Fabian Meiser, that the team could redeem itself from losing to New London by beating Bacon.  He obviously got my message as he was the one who went three sets and was down 2-4 in the third before rallying to win.  He kicked it up a notch to secure the team win,” Rathbone said.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director

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