A semifinal upset propelled the girls varsity tennis team to a second-place finish at this year’s New England championships on May 18-19.
The Bearcats (11-3) outlasted a gritty Nobles team 5-4 on Saturday morning before knocking off top-seeded Deerfield 5-3 in the afternoon. The good fortune ran out for Hotchkiss, however, as they fell to #2 Andover on Sunday by the score of 3-5.
It was a marathon of tennis on Saturday, beginning with the nail-biting quarterfinal win over Nobles. Last year the team swept Nobles 5-0 en route to the Bearcats’ New England title, but this year’s match would come down to the final set. After taking a 2-1 lead in doubles, the two teams traded singles matches back and forth until the final match at #1 singles involving co-captain Savi Roberts ’19, who needed a 10-3 super-tiebreaker win to clinch the match.
Circumstances would have seemed to be against the Bearcats in their semifinal match, when they faced #1 Deerfield on their home courts. The hosts had swept their opening match 5-0, so rest was not on Hotchkiss’ side. But the Bearcats came out firing, sweeping the three doubles matches for an early 3-0 lead.
Deerfield rallied with early first-set wins in three of the singles matches, and won at #1, #2, and #4 singles to draw the Big Green close. Rena Peng ’22 earned a huge singles point at #6 for Hotchkiss, winning her match 6-1, 6-0 to make the score 4-3. The clinching point for the Bearcats came on the racket of #3 Jennifer Li ’20, who also won her match in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 to send Hotchkiss into Sunday’s final.
On Sunday, the Bearcats did not fare as well, falling 3-5 to Andover in a finals match held at Westminster. By a curious coincidence, the boys team also lost to Andover 3-4 in their quarterfinal match on Saturday. The boys team dropped the doubles point and the first two singles matches before rallying with three straight singles wins to tie the match at 3-3. Co-captain Cole Maura ’19 played an epic match at #1 singles that came down to the final super-tiebreaker, which Andover ultimately won 10-8 to take the match.