BRATTLEBORO -- If the Bruins battling back from a two-goal deficit with 82 seconds left in Game 7 on Monday night taught us anything, it was to never give up.
"Just like the Bruins...come back," screamed Katie Tsukamoto’s biggest fan with Brattleboro’s No. 4 singles player trailing 3-2 in the second set.
Tsukamoto took over from there, taking that set and then the tiebreaker to help the BUHS girls tennis team to a 5-2 victory over Hartford on a perfect Friday afternoon.
"We really needed a win as a team," said Colonels coach Tom Weber, whose squad had previously lost to the Hurricanes in White River Junction.
Brattleboro swept the doubles matches, with the duo of Aliza Racine-Taylor Bird winning by forfeit and the Linnea Jahn-Kara Piergentili tandem cruising to an easy 6-1, 6-0 victory over Hartford’s Ashley Fogg and Amanda Nelson.
But on the other five courts, the onlookers got their money’s worth.
Aidan Earley used a powerful serve, forehand and backhand to take a 5-2 lead over Hartford’s Jessie Gofberg in the opening set in No. 1 singles. It was a beautiful match to watch, with smooth strokes and long rallies throughout. Earley would prevail 6-4, 6-3.
Meanwhile, Brattleboro’s Jenn Hutton was improving from start to finish during a 6-1, 6-4 loss to lefty Alex Fogg at fifth singles. In the second set, Hutton was getting compliments from assistant coach Joe Meyer as she put away a lob and showed off a sweet backhand return.
At second singles, Hartford’s Allyse Mullen tried to wear her opponent out -- not the best idea when you’re facing the Nordic state champion. With many supporters in her corner, Halie Lange ran down balls near the baseline and also hustled to get drop shots in close in her 7-6, 6-4 win.
Third and fourth singles would go to tiebreakers.
Ossia Dwyer nipped Brattleboro’s Libby Annis 6-1, 4-6, 10-7 at No. 3. Annis put on a clinic early on by strategically charging the net or rushing back to get to a deep lob, but Dwyer eventually found that keeping the ball in play and letting her foe make mistakes was the way to go.
And the last match to end may have been the best, with Tsukamoto rallying to win 5-7, 6-4, 10-6 over Hartford’s Kali Covell.
"Katie’s been playing well, she just hasn’t been winning. Today, she got the reward," said coach Weber.
It seemed that Tsukamoto was losing focus and her confidence after dropping the first set and falling behind 3-2 in the second.
"Get in your zone, Katie. You can do it," said a woman who was watching the match closely from outside the fence. "Just like the Bruins...come back."
From that point on, it was all Tsukamoto. She used a deep lob, showed off her power from the baseline, unloaded while charging the net, and placed a drop shot where Covell had no chance to help complete the unlikely comeback.
Just like the Bruins.
The 5-7 Colonels will play three matches in a row next week, including Monday versus MAU, Tuesday against Springfield, and a Wednesday showdown with Woodstock.
Match results: No. 1 singles -- Aidan Earley, Brattleboro 6-4, 6-3 over Jessie Gofberg. No. 2 singles -- Halie Lange, Brattleboro 7-6, 6-4 over Allyse Mullen. No. 3 singles -- Ossia Dwyer, Hartford 6-1, 4-6, 10-7 over Libby Annis. No. 4 singles -- Katie Tsukamoto, Brattleboro 5-7, 6-4, 10-6 over Kali Covell. No. 5 singles -- Alex Fogg, Hartford 6-1, 6-4 over Jenn Hutton. No. 1 doubles -- Kara Piergentili-Linnea Jahn, Brattleboro 6-1, 6-0 over Ashley Fogg, Amanda Nelson. No. 2 doubles -- Aliza Racine-Taylor Bird, Brattleboro win by forfeit.
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.