Saturday April 20, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- Few have experienced the thrill of victory on the BUHS courts more than Scott Switzer, who played for Brattleboro’s undefeated tennis team in 1978.

On Friday morning, however, the father of Rutland’s No. 1 singles player had to deal with something he’s not used to -- the agony of defeat.

Anna Kerlin-Smith won the deciding match as the Colonel girls edged the visiting Raiders, 4-3.

"My family grew up here in Brattleboro," stated Scott, after watching his daughter Kristen take care of Brattleboro’s Aidan Earley 6-1, 6-4 in the top spot. "I moved to Rutland right after graduation."

He also said he’s good friends with Colonels coach Tom Weber.

"It feels pretty good to get this win. We could be tough when we’re at full strength," said Weber. "Anna didn’t know that the match was in her hands. She played nice, relaxed, steady tennis. It was her first singles match ever."

With the teams deadlocked at 3-3, it all came down to that No. 3 singles match between Kerlin-Smith and Rutland’s Megan Nadler. Kerlin-Smith prevailed 6-4, 7-5 to give the purple and white the victory.

Weber feels like Kerlin-Smith’s doubles experience came in handy, as she kept the ball in play and earned points by charging the net. He stated that she’s a super athlete who can run balls down.

The Colonels also got wins from Libby Annis (No.


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2 singles), Sophie Finnerty (by forfeit at No. 5 singles), and the second doubles team of Haley Marcil and Jaida Henry.

"Libby has really, really improved. I’m pleased with her development. She’s playing a really strong game. She’s a baseline player who is a good athlete and moves well," noted Weber, who enjoyed watching Annis take care of Mackenna Phelps 6-0, 6-2.

Henry, a freshman playing her first match, and Marcil defeated Sarah Nadler and Brenda Delorey 6-4, 6-3. As they walked off the court, their cheering section had them pose for photos -- like a racehorse in the winners’ circle.

Meanwhile, Switzer was watching his daughter’s battle with Earley on one of the courts closest to the school. Kristen Switzer made her opponent run early on, although Earley was often able to get to deep lobs and also showed off a strong backhand.

The best match was taking place on the adjacent court, where Rutland’s Melanie Hubbard outlasted Kara Piergentili at fourth singles 6-4, 1-6 (10-8). Piergentili played a relaxed game, as she kept the ball in play and let Hubbard make the errors.

"We have some athletes on this team," stated Weber, whose team improved to 2-1 overall with the victory. "Halie Lange, Taylor Bird, Kara Piergentili and Linnea Jahn are all good in other sports. We could be tough this season."

In their first doubles match together, Bird and Jahn fell to the experienced Kelsey Bullock and Amber Thomas 6-4, 6-4. In the first set, Bird got on a roll serving and used her quickness to get to balls in the back, while Jahn put everything away up front.

Brattleboro will play at Otter Valley on Tuesday.

Shane Covey can be reached at scovey@reformer.com or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.