by Roger Wistar
The girls varsity tennis team scored an upset win over Milton en route to a runner-up finish at the finals of the New England championship on May 20-21.
Seeded third, the Bearcats (14-2) hosted #6 Taft in the morning match on Saturday and swept the Rhinos 6-0. The three doubles pairs of Sara McClure '20 & Grace Kennedy '19, Savannah Roberts '19 & Jennifer Li '20, and Ginny Barnes '19 & Sally Kuehn '17 won all of their matches, and McClure, Kennedy, and Sophie Sitinas '17 won their singles matches in straight sets. The other matches were halted when Hotchkiss clinched the overall victory.
With one victory under their belts, the Bearcats journeyed north to Deerfield to take on #2 Milton, who were undefeated on the season. The match unfolded in thrilling fashion, with Roberts clinching the match 5-4 for Hotchkiss.
In doubles, McClure & Kennedy dropped the #1 doubles match 1-8, but Roberts & Li at #2 and Barnes & Kuehn at #3 won their matches 8-4 to give the Bearcats a 2-1 advantage heading into the singles play.
The girls played two-set matches, with a third-set "super-breaker" to ten points if the first two sets were split, as was the case in three of the six matches.
After Kuehn dropped her #5 singles match to open, the two teams split the next two matches, each by super-breaker. Sitinas at #6 suffered a 6-4, 2-6, 7-10 defeat, and Kennedy at #2 won 4-6, 6-2, 10-6.
The next two matches provided more drama and another split, with #1 McClure losing but #4 Li winning in straight sets, 6-4 and 7-5. The two teams were thus knotted at 4-4 with the final match settling the score.
And the #3 match would not disappoint, with Roberts winning an epic final match that saw both of the first two sets go to tie-breakers and needing a super-breaker. Ultimate, Roberts prevailed 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (4-7), 10-5 to clinch the match for Hotchkiss.
With their upset win, the Bearcats qualified for Sunday's final against top-seeded Andover. The Gunga would prove too much for Hotchkiss, winning 5-0 to win the title.
The boys found themselves matched up in a quarterfinal contest on Saturday morning against Deerfield, but the Big Green prevailed 4-1 to bring the season to a close for the Bearcats.