Published in the May 16, 2018 edition


LYNNFIELD — The girls’ tennis team is heading back to the Division 3 North Sectional Tournament for the 36th straight year, and is riding a nine-match winning streak.

The Pioneers (10-1) began last week defeating Masco 5-0 on May 9.

Freshman Megan Nevils won her first singles match in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1.

“Nevils was down 2-3 in the first set, but settled down and played steadily from the baseline and added pressure with approach shots and volleys,” said Pioneers head coach Craig Stone.

Captain Alexa Vittiglio cruised to a two-set victory during second singles, prevailing 6-1, 6-1.

SOPHOMORE Gillian Skelley (above) and freshman Emma Gallucci (below) defeated their first doubles counterparts in two sets during the girls’ tennis team’s 4-1 victory over North Reading on May 11.(John Friberg Photos)

“Vittiglio was rock solid from the baseline with very few unforced errors,” said Stone. “She made it very difficult for her opponent to win rallies.”

Senior Bela Ferreira earned a hard-fought three-set during during third singles. After losing the first set 2-6, Ferreira regrouped and won the second set 6-4 and the the third set 6-2.

“Ferreira battled back from a first set loss and took the next two sets for the win,” said Stone. “Both opponents had similar playing styles, but Ferreira proved to be the more mentally tough competitor.”

The first doubles duo featuring sophomore Gillian Skelley and freshman Emma Gallucci prevailed in an ultra competitive two-set victory. Skelley and Gallucci won the first set 7-6 (8-6) and prevailed 7-5 during the second set.

“First doubles were tested in a seesaw back and forth first set, and was actually down a set point in the tiebreaker before prevailing 8-6 in the breaker,” said Stone. “(Skelley and Gallucci) then road that momentum to win the second set and match.”

Sophomores Celeste Joly and Clare Yang won their second doubles match in two sets, 6-1, 7-5.

“Second doubles steamrolled through the first set,” said Stone. “They were down 0-3 in the second, and came from behind to win the second set and match.”

Stone was pleased the Pioneers were able to sweep Masco.

“Masco is a solid team like ours from top to bottom, so coming away with a shutout was very gratifying,” said Stone. “You can see our young team mature as players each time out, and hopefully we can continue this progression.”

Defeats Triton

The Pioneers kept rolling and defeated Triton 5-0 on May 10. The victory enabled the Pioneers to qualify for the Division 3 North state tournament for the 36th straight year.

Nevils earned a two-set victory during first singles, prevailing 6-2, 6-1.

Vittiglio dismantled her second singles opponent in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.

“Nevils and Vittiglio had their match in hand from the beginning,” said Stone.

Ferreira cruised to a two-set victory during third singles, prevailing 6-0, 6-0.

“Bela rolled the table,” said Stone. “After her two-hour marathon at Masco, she was first off the court today.”

Skelley and Gallucci won their first doubles match in two sets, 6-1, 6-4.

In second doubles, senior captain Makayla Maffeo and sophomore Elena Moisidis earned a decisive two-set victory, 6-1, 6-2.

“Skelley and Gallucci continue to assert themselves as one of the top doubles teams in the league, while Maffeo and Moisidis debuted as a doubles team for the first time and came away with a convincing win,” said Stone.

Stone said the Pioneers played very well against the Vikings.

“I didn’t have to do much coaching today,” said Stone. “The girls took care of business from first point to last.”

Stings North Reading

The Pioneers concluded last week defeating rival North Reading 4-1 on May 11.

Nevils won her first singles match in straight sets, 6-0, 6-3.

“Megan was rock solid,” said Stone. “She showed patience from the baseline and precision volleys.”

Vittiglio came up short in second singles, falling 2-6, 3-6.

Ferreira won her third singles match in two sets, 6-0, 6-0.

“Bela picked up her second consecutive double bagel after winning all 12 games,” said Stone.

Skelley and Gallucci earned a hard-fought victory during first doubles, 6-4, 6-2.

“First doubles again started slow,” said Stone. “But once the first set was won, the pair breezed through the second set.”

Yang and Joly won their second doubles match in two sets, 6-2, 7-5.

“Joly and Yang had the reciprocal match, breezing through the first set and were then down 3-4 in the second,” said Stone. “They bounced back by winning the last three games.”

Stone commended the Pioneers’ strong performance against North Reading.

“North Reading played tough as expected,” said Stone. “They were missing one of their singles players due to an injury, but still played very competitive tennis. Four matches, four wins this week, hopefully we can repeat the feat next week as we face another four-match challenge.”

Tournament results

The Pioneers competed in the North Sectional Individual Singles and Doubles Tournament at Newton South High School last weekend.

Nevils defeated Methuen’s Katelyn Wojtowicz in the first round of the first singles tournament, prevailing 6-0, 6-2. She lost to Lincoln-Sudbury’s Kate Sollowey in two sets, 2-6, 3-6, during the second round.

After winning the first round of the second singles tournament by default, Vittiglio lost her second round match to Weston’s Natalia Chaoul in straight sets, 2-6, 1-6.

Ferreira began the third singles tournament by defeating Lowell Catholic’s Elizabeth Keefe in two sets, 7-5, 7-5. She lost to Boston Latin’s Marabelle Berman in the second round of the tournament.

After being awarded a bye in the first round of the first doubles tournament, Skelley and Gallucci defeated North Andover’s tandem in two sets, 6-4, 6-0.

“The pair started slow and came from behind 3-4 to win the first set,” said Stone. “They then won six games in a row. They advance to the quarterfinals next weekend.”

Joly and Yang lost to Weston’s second doubles tandem, 6-7, 5-7, in the first round.

Stone said the Pioneers played well during the tournament.

“I was very pleased with our performance at the Individuals Tournament,” said Stone. “We played very well against some strong opposition.  It’s the kind of tennis we will need to play at team tournament time later in the season.”