By DAN TOMASELLO
LEXINGTON — Three members of the girls’ tennis team competed in the North Sectional Individual Singles and Doubles Tournament at Lexington High School on Saturday, May 23.
Sophomore Sarah Mezini, who was seeded seventh, faced off against second seeded Izzy Essi of Wayland in the quarterfinals of the first singles tournament. Essi defeated Mezini in two sets, 4-6, 4-6.
“The match stayed close throughout with Essi just managing to stay ahead in each set,” said Pioneers head coach Craig Stone. “There were many deuce games and well played points from both players throughout the match.”
Mezini’s loss to Essi was her first of the 2015 season, bringing her overall record this season to 18-1. She has reached the quarterfinals of the North Sectional Singles and Doubles Tournament the past two years.
Prior to Mezini, the only players in Lynnfield High School girls’ tennis history who advanced to the quarterfinals were Karen Tractenberg (1983 and 1986), Sharla Caico-Sieve (1989, 1990 and 1991), Alex Alton (1992 and 1993), Shabnam Saeed (1995 and 1997) and Sarah O’Neil (2007 and 2009).
Junior Olivia Skelley and sophomore Katie Nevils advanced to the semifinals in the first doubles tournament. Skelley and Katie Nevils, who were seeded fifth, opened the tournament defeating Lexington’s fourth seeded first doubles tandem of Eugenia Formitchova and Marie Bank in two sets, 6-4, 6-2, in the quarterfinals.
In the first set, Skelley and Katie Nevils jumped out to an early 5-2 lead. Lexington surged back, making the set 5-4 before the locals’ pulled out the 6-4 victory. The duo cruised during the second set from start to finish and prevailed 6-2.
“Lynnfield took the early lead in the second set and never lost momentum,” said Stone. “The doubles tandem mixed a steady game of cross court and down the line ground strokes with lobs to keep their opponents off balance while also coming up with a strong volley game.”
Skelley and Nevils faced off against Andover’s Paige Webster and Laurie-Maude Chernard in the semifinals. Skelley and Nevils lost the match in two sets, 1-6, 3-6. Skelley and Nevils’ loss to Andover was the duo’s first this season, bringing their overall record to 17-1.
“The Pioneers seemed to always find themselves trying to play catch up and the Andover team was relentless from the baseline while always seeming to win the reflex volley game at the net,” said Stone.
Similar to Mezini, Skelley and Nevils joined exclusive company of doubles players who advanced beyond the tournament’s quarterfinals.
Jill Brooks and Jill Camuso were crowned champions in 1987. Elyse Newton and Terri Bebchick were finalists in 1989. Newton and Susan Falkoff were finalists in 1990. Betsey Vance and Courtney Rowland advanced to the semifinals in 1992. Jill Migliero and Kathy Kumph advanced to the semifinals in 1997. Julie Brown and Megan Conway were champions in 2004. Lindsey Buchanan and Abby Carroll were finalists in 2007.
The Pioneers began last week defeating Newburyport 5-0 on May 18. The victory improved the locals’ Cape Ann League record to 10-0 for the second straight year.
Mezini defeated her first singles opponent in two sets, 6-1, 6-1. Senior captain Kelley Nevils cruised past her second singles counterpart in two sets, 6-1, 6-1. Senior captain Izzy Figucia defeated her third singles opponent in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.
In first doubles, Skelley and Katie Nevils dismantled their opponents in two sets, 6-1, 6-2.
The second doubles tandem of Katie Nugent and Camie Foley defeated their counterparts in two sets, 6-1, 6-1.
“No matches were close and we led from start to finish at all five spots,” said Stone.
The Pioneers kept rolling and defeated Marblehead 5-0 on May 20, which enabled the locals to finish the regular season with a perfect 17-0 record.
Mezini defeated her first singles counterpart in two sets, 6-0, 6-1, improving her regular season record to 16-0. Kelley Nevils dismantled her second singles opponent in two sets, 6-1, 6-1, improving her regular season record to 14-2. Figucia dispatched her third singles counterpart in two sets, 6-1, 6-2, improving her regular season regular to 14-2.
Skelley and Katie Nevils cruised past their first doubles opponents in two sets, 6-0, 6-4, improving their regular season record to 14-0. Nugent and Foley defeated their second doubles counterparts in two sets, 6-0, 6-4, improving their regular season regular to 7-0.
With the regular season drawn to a close, the Pioneers are now focusing on beginning the 2015 Division State Tournament on Thursday, June 4.
“Finishing the season 17-0 and winning the CAL Small Championship are two very impressive achievements,” said Stone. “But our focus now is on beginning state tournament play and continuing to play the best possible tennis that we are capable of.”