Published in the June 8, 2016 edition
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — The girls’ tennis team began its quest to win a third straight Division 3 North sectional title in impressive fashion, as the number one seed Pioneers crushed eighth seed Lowell Catholic 5-0 in a quarterfinal match June 4.
The Pioneers were in control of the match from start to finish. The match lasted only 45 minutes.
“Based on the seeding and the history, I didn’t anticipate it being a nail biter,” said Pioneers head coach Craig Stone. “I was hoping it would be a little bit more competitive because we have been practicing all week and we wanted to get into the competitive flow of things. Unfortunately, Lowell Catholic ran into some complications and was unable to fill their line-up. You take it for what it is worth and just move on.”
Before the match began, the Crusaders were forced to forfeit the second doubles match to Lynnfield’s second doubles team comprised of senior Hayley Timmons and junior Katie Nugent due to Lowell Catholic having only five players available. Stone said he could not recall the last time a team was forced to default a match due to a lack of players in both the regular season and state tournament.
“I can’t remember a default in a team match,” said Stone. “(Lowell Catholic) said they have 14 players and could only come up with five on this day.”
Junior Sarah Mezini cruised past Lowell Catholic senior Maggie Barrows in two sets during first singles, 6-1, 6-0.
Junior Katie Nevils quickly dispatched her second singles opponent, senior Krystal Mara, in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.
Senior captain Amanda Stelman crushed Lowell Catholic senior Kailey Catyb in two sets, 6-0, 6-0, during third singles.
In first doubles, senior captain Olivia Skelley and junior Camie Foley wasted no time dispatching counterparts Jillian Masse and Jaclyn Cappinzingo in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.
Stone said he was pleased with the Pioneers’ performance against Lowell Catholic even though the match was not competitive.
“We played eight sets and lost one game,” said Stone. “We are constantly trying to encourage the kids to get out of their comfort zone because we want them to be able to expand their playing abilities. It works out pretty well. Hopefully some of them were able to do that. But the match was pretty much over before it started, which is unfortunate.”
Stone acknowledged the Pioneers’ wished the competition from the Crusaders would have been tougher in order to prepare the team for upcoming rounds.
“Everybody was a little bit frustrated because they wanted the match to be competitive,” said Stone. “I anticipated we wouldn’t be here long and we could possibility make the face off of the lacrosse game.”
The Pioneers faced fifth seed North Reading in the Division 3 North semifinals on Tuesday, June 7, taking place after the Villager went to press. The match was the third time the Pioneers faced the Hornets this season and was a rematch of last year’s Division 3 North finals.
“We beat North Reading 4-1 both times,” said Stone.