HARVARD — Last Friday’s Central Mass girls’ tennis showdown was supposed to feature the two remaining unbeaten teams in the district, but the Westboro Lady Rangers fell to Wachusett before facing Bromfield.
The Lady Trojans plowed their way through the Division 3 slate without much resistance to a 9-0 record, but the Division 1 Lady Rangers had other plans as they defeated Bromfield 3-2. The last time the Lady Trojans played competitively against Westboro was 2010.
“Westboro is always our toughest match,” said Bromfield head coach Chris Holmes. “Last year they were an unbelievable powerhouse. We always go in with the same attitude that we had today hoping that we can win.
“The matches didn’t play out the way I thought,” he said. “This played out in terms of getting us ready for the rest of the season. Every match was competitive.”
Bromfield failed to earn a singles point for the first time all season, but the strong play of the doubles’ teams kept the Lady Trojans in Friday’s match. The number two doubles tandem of Alena Davis and Rose Leikina stormed past Westboro’s Samantha Mack and Anna Skidmore in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.
Davis’ and Leikina’s performance set the tone for the number one doubles duo of Rhett Nuenighoff’s and Kristen Noyes’ memorable match with Ariell Sigel and Stephanie Johnston. Nueinghoff and Noyes utilized stellar communication and court awareness to rebound from one set down.
The Bromfield duo faltered in a tough first set, 4-6, but rebounded nicely to squeak out the final two 7-6 and 6-4. In the second set, the Lady Trojans and Lady Rangers kept the fans on the edge of their seats with great displays of agility and skill. Nuenighoff won the second set on a beautiful teardrop of a shot that was out of the reach of both Sigel and Johnston.
As the daylight slowly turned to dusk, the Bromfield pair observed a brief 10-minute break to regain their composure and they made quick work of a fatigued Rangers pair. Holmes said that the Neuinghoff and Noyes doubles match was undoubtedly the match of the day.
“Our two girls played as well as they have ever played,” said Holmes. “They battled very hard, played smart and were very patient. They (Westboro) were lobbing us like crazy, but we just kept it in play until we had an opportunity to do something. That was the match of the day for sure.”
Senior captain Casey Magrath fell in the first singles slot to Westboro’s Pooja Ganish in straight sets 6-3, 6-2. In the number two singles match, Bromfield’s Lindsey Kerr fell to Samantha Kehoe 6-2,6-1. Arpitha Hayes also fell in the number three slot to Westboro’s Ashley Chiu, 6-3, 6-0.
Holmes said the doubles’ strong performances last Friday increases the Lady Trojans chances to return to the postseason.
“Halfway through the season we already clinched the division,” said Holmes. “We are going to districts because we are assured a .500 record. The match was encouraging for the doubles because when we get to the end of the road we need our doubles teams to play like that. We haven’t lost a single singles point until today.”
Bromfield’s toughest match of the season will come two weeks from Tuesday when they travel to Sutton.
The Lady Trojans’ record at the time of publication stands at 10-1.