BRATTLEBORO -- The Colonel girls tennis team was swept, 7-0, by Burr and Burton, Monday on the BUHS courts.
Brattleboro’s Aidan Earley fell to Maddy Pynucco, 6-1, 6-0, in No. 1 singles. The tall, slender Pynucco played close to the net and made overhand volleys, using her height as an advantage. She took a 3-0 lead in the first set before Earley began to fight back.
On the next court, Burr and Burton’s Jordan Harmon handled Libby Annis in second singles, though the Brattleboro athlete held strong as the two were physically similar in build and strength. During much of the match, Annis and Harmon drew each other out to the front to challenge. Harmon’s speed was the determining factor to decide the 6-1, 6-0 final.
Opposite Earley’s match was teammate and newcomer this year, Halie Lange. Lange faced BBA’s Gabi Hasaj and lost, 6-0, 6-3. Lange demonstrated great ball control and sliced a few shots over the net just out of reach of her opponent. Hasaj fired her shots back with precision to keep Lange on her toes.
In No. 4 singles, the Colonels’ Katie Tsukamoto fell to Gabby Vella, 6-2, 6-1. Tsukamoto battled back from a 4-0 BBA lead in the second set, but Vella maintained her composure, not letting her emotions get in the way, to finish. A few of Vella’s shots looked like they were going out, but Tsukamoto kept them in play.
"Tsukamoto and Lange each played tight singles matches", said Brattleboro coach Tom Weber.
Stella Oh backed Brattleboro’s Aliza Racine into a corner to take a 6-0, 6-1 win. Oh stayed on top of Racine, making her chase after the ball while being pushed to the baseline. Racine had some solid returns but it was apparent that Oh had the experience with her agility.
Jenn Hutton and Anna Kerlin-Smith were beaten by Munica Mia Mir and Julia Campanella, 6-1, 6-0, in No. 1 doubles. Brattleboro had a few nice points, but Mia Mir’s stature enabled her to reach over to get off some hard volleys. She had decent serves as well, and Campanella provided relief on the return. Hutton and Kerlin-Smith’s communication broke down towards the end of the match.
After Kerlin-Smith and Hutton wrapped up their match, Brattleboro’s Linnea Jahn and Kara Piergentili took to the No. 2 doubles court to face Eliza Breed and Kitt Sikes. The two retired singles and last doubles match players watched the last match through the fence of the adjacent court. After each game, the two teams got their heads together to go over some strategy before approaching their coaches. The teams played to a 7-6, 7-6 final and the Bulldogs squeaked out the win.
"The Brattleboro team played well today," said Burr and Burton coach Dan Hutner, as he watched the last doubles match. "They played well at net so it forced my girls to hit nice shots. We didn’t have the best strokes, but we had decent strategy."
Breed covered the net most of the time, but had trouble communicating with Sikes when the ball got past her. This allowed Piergentili to challenge and tap over a few almost unreachable volleys herself. Then Brattleboro began placing their shots in the corners. The match was especially intense toward the end of the first set heading into the second.
"Breed and Sikes are good friends, so that helps," said coach Hutner.
"We let them get away a little bit," noted Weber. "We knew what we were in for, but the girls fought hard."
The 3-3 Colonels will play at MSJ on Friday at 4:30 p.m.
David Aquino can be reached at email@example.com, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 164.