Update post publication:
Lynnfield advances to the Final Four defeating Mt. Greylock Regional 4-1 (June 11)
#3 Lynnfield will face #2 Manchester-Essex in the D4 State Semi-Finals
Game details TBA here.
Published June 7, 2023
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — The girls’ tennis team is headed back to the Division 4 Elite Eight.
The third seeded Pioneers (14-6) qualified for the Elite Eight after defeating 14th seed Lee High School 4-1 in the Sweet 16 at the Lynnfield Middle School tennis courts on Monday.
While the match was scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m., it got delayed for an hour due to rain and did not conclude until 7:30 p.m. Stone, along with dads Matt Martino and Jim Sieve, used squeegees to dry the tennis courts after it stopped raining. Stone used a blower to dry the courts as well.
“It was good to get a win and qualify for the quarterfinals,” said Pioneers head coach Craig Stone. “That is where we were last year. We graduated four seniors from last year’s team. We qualified for the tournament this year with one senior, two juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen in the lineup. That is pretty impressive. I give all of the kids’ credit. They made some giant strides this year.”
Sophomore Paige Martino easily defeated first singles counterpart Anna Martin in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1.
“Paige is a machine out there,” said Stone. “She possesses not only all of the strokes, but the confidence as well. She is very seldom unnerved and is very seldom tentative. She only has three losses this year, and all three were to players who are ranked in the top 10 in New England. It’s great having her in the lineup.”
Senior captain Genna Gioioso decisively dismantled second singles opponent Amy DeSiata in two sets, 6-1, 6-1.
“Genna has been just as productive and just as consistent as Paige,” said Stone.
Captain Maddie Sieve was the last Pioneer on the court after defeating third singles opponent Sophie Herman in three sets. After Sieve fell 3-6 to Herman in the first set, she bounced back and won the second set 6-3 and prevailed 10-6 during a third set tiebreaker.
“Maddie has improved at third singles as the year goes along,” said Stone. “She played doubles last year, and moving to third singles was a big jump for her.”
Sophomore Ella Hayman and freshman Vicky McCrann defeated second doubles opponents Maddie Haywood and Sophia Puntin in two sets, 6-1, 6-1.
Junior Leticia Marafon and freshman Lily Alves fell to first doubles counterparts Annie Herman and Shae Kelly in three sets. After losing the first set 3-6, Marafon and Alves bounced back and won the second set 7-6. Marafon and Alves lost the third set tiebreaker 5-10.
Stone said both doubles teams played very well against the Wildcats.
“I have been really impressed with the doubles teams,” said Stone. “Leticia was the only one of them who was a starter last year, and the rest of them assumed their roles and continued to work on their games. They have become very effective players.”
Stone commended the Pioneers’ play against Lee. He recalled that this year marked the second straight year the MIAA implemented a statewide tournament format instead of the regional format that was a staple for all high school sports for many years.
“The tournament format is interesting because you play teams you have not played before such as Lee coming out of the west,” said Stone. “Lee had a good year and they have some good players. The weather has been the most inconsistent factor in all of the tennis played the last couple of weeks, but the tennis itself has been very consistent.”
The Pioneers will play either sixth seed Mount Greylock Regional School or 11th seed Ipswich in the Elite Eight. Mount Greylock and Ipswich faced off on Tuesday, June 6, taking place after deadline.
Lynnfield previously defeated Ipswich 4-1 on May 5.
Townspeople can visit www.miaa.net to view the Division 4 girls’ tennis state tournament brackets.
First round stunner
The Pioneers qualified for the Sweet 16 after defeating Sturgis Charter Public School West by forfeit in the Round of 32.
“We were supposed to play Sturgis on Sunday, June 4, as decided by the tournament director, when both schools could not find a date that did not conflict with senior activities,” said Stone. “Sturgis forfeited the match due to not having enough players available. It’s unfortunate we had the forfeit in the first round. It’s never happened before. We had four practice days last week, and we hadn’t had four practice days combined in the three prior weeks. It’s strange that we were practicing more than we ever did when the tournament started.”