Published in the May 31, 2017 edition
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — With the regular season now in the rearview mirror, the girls’ tennis team is now shifting its focus to winning a fourth straight Division 3 North sectional title.
The Pioneers (16-1) began the final week of the regular season defeating Austin Prep 5-0 May 23.
Senior captain Sarah Mezini easily dismantled her first singles opponent in two sets, 6-0, 6-1.
“Mezini showed no ill effects from her weekend at the North Sectional Tournament and continued to out power another opponent in straight sets,” said Pioneers head coach Craig Stone.
Senior captain Camie Foley earned a hard fought victory over her second singles counterpart in two sets, 7-5, 6-0.
“Foley got off to a slow start against her backboard opponent,” said Stone. “She was down 1-4 in the first set before winning 11 of the next 12 games.”
Senior captain Katie Nevils defeated her third singles opponent in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2.
“Nevils combined her topspin ground strokes and drop shots to frustrate another opponent,” said Stone.
In first doubles, senior captain Katie Nugent and sophomore Alexa Vittiglio won their match in two sets, 6-0, 6-1.
“Nugent and Vittiglio, the newly formed tandem at first doubles, had little difficultly in picking up a win in their first match together,” said Stone.
The second doubles tandem consisting of seniors Laura Mucci and Allison Carey earned an impressive victory in two sets, 7-6, 6-3.
“The second doubles team of Mucci and Carey came from behind down 2-4 in the first set to steal it in a tie-breaker, then repeated the action after being down 2-3 in the second set,” said Stone.
Stone was impressed with the Pioneers’ performance against Austin Prep.
“Austin Prep was 15-0 in the Catholic Conference this season, and repeated as conference champs,” said Stone.
Cruises past Ipswich
The Pioneers kept rolling and defeated Ipswich 4-1 May 24.
Foley got the start at first singles and cruised past her opponent in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0.
“Mezini had the day off after an exhausting few weeks,” said Stone. “Foley stepped up to first singles and was equal to the task, winning 12 out of 13 games.”
Nevils started at second singles and dismantled her counterpart in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0.
“Nevils also was elevated a spot and duplicated the challenge,” said Stone.
Nugent lost her third singles match in two sets, 3-6, 2-6.
“Katie made a rare singles appearance,” said Stone. “She had a very competitive match, but her opponent prevailed.”
Mucci and Carey started at first doubles and won their match in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2.
In second doubles, seniors Rachel Strout and Rachel Collins won their match in three sets. After losing the first match 6-7, Strout and Collins prevailed 6-1, 6-1 during the second and third sets.
“Mucci and Carey moved up to the first doubles position and after a couple of previously closely played matches, they were in control of this one from start to finish,” said Stone. “The Rachels’ combined forces at second doubles proved for an eventful first set, losing it in a tie breaker. They dominated play in the next two sets for the win.”
Stone was pleased the Pioneers were able to defeat Ipswich for a second time this spring.
“It wasn’t senior day, but we fielded an all senior line-up for the first time this season,” said Stone. “We graduate eight seniors this year, so it was nice to get most of them in the line-up together one more time before the regular season ends.”
The Pioneers concluded the regular season earning an impressive 4-1 victory over Marblehead May 25. The match was held on Senior Day.
Before the match took place, Stone said the Pioneers honored Mezini, Foley, Nevils, Nugent, Carey, Mucci, Strout and Collins for their “contributions to the Lynnfield High School tennis program.”
Mezini handed Marblehead’s Michelle Shub her first loss this season after Mezini pulled out a 6-3, 6-1 first set victory.
“Mezini battled Michelle Shub, who had not lost a match all season either,” said Stone. “The two exchanged groundstrokes at the speed of light, with each hitting their fair share of winners. However, Mezini seemed to come up bigger at crunch time to prevail.”
Foley won her second singles match in two sets, 6-4, 6-1.
“Foley continued to impress at second singles,” said Stone. “She was down 0-2 in the first set and she rallied for the win. She was down 0-1 in the second and repeated the scenario.”
In third singles, Nevils cruised past her counterpart in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.
“Nevils was untouchable controlling the court and dictating the pace of the match,” said Stone.
Vittiglio and Nugent lost their first doubles match in two sets, 0-6, 3-6.
“Nugent and Vittiglio fought to deuce several times in the first set, but came up empty,” said Stone. “In the second, they seemed to find a rhythm but the undefeated Marblehead team had too many weapons.”
Mucci and Carey earned a hard fought win at second doubles. After winning the first set 6-4, they lost the second set 0-6 and prevailed 10-5 during the third set.
“Carey and Mucci held on for a close first set win, lost focus in the second, and won a third set super tiebreaker,” said Stone.
Stone noted the match was played indoors at Bass River Tennis Club in Beverly due to inclement weather. He said this was Marblehead’s first loss of the season.
“We played our best tennis today from top to bottom,” said Stone. “It was a great way to end the season against a great team. Hopefully, this catapults us into the tournament season and we continue to play the type of tennis we are capable of.”