The girl’s varsity tennis team won a thriller against Lake Ridge Academy on Tuesday. The hard hitting Royals came on strong from the start of the match, but the lady Bulldogs were determined to bring home the win.
First off the courts were Aly Leither and Shreya Desai at second doubles. Leither has been at second doubles all season and Desai was moved up from the jv team to play this non-conference match. It was a quick first set with the Bulldogs getting the 6-0 win in less than 30 minutes. The second set went almost as quickly as Leither and Desai handed out several aces and quick volleys at the net. They took control of the courts with their strong net play and ability to cover the baseline. The duo won the match 6-0,6-2
Playing in at third singles was senior Delaney Brown. Brown has played several matches at second doubles with Leither, but today she was on her own for the singles match. From the start you could tell this was going to be a close match as Brown and her opponent traded winners and rallies that were ten or more shots. Several of Brown’s winners came from the sheer fact that her wingspan could be compared that of a basketball player. Her height and reach were a definite factor and her determination was the bonus. Brown and her opponent traded the lead in the first set several times, but in the end it was Brown that won the set 6-4. In the second set, the lady Bulldog never lost the lead and with several well placed returns and long points, Brown put the set away 6-2 and won the match 6-4, 6-2
At the remaining singles positions were captain Abby Gaba at first singles and her cousin, freshman, Ellie Gaba at second singles. Both faced some serious competitors with powerful forehands and backhands. Gaba had several long rallies and returned the power to her opponent and had many games that went to deuce. It was a well fought match but Gaba lost 6-2, 6-2. On the next court, Goetz was trading baseline and cross court winners with her opponent, but it was hard for Goetz to gain momentum from the hard hitting senior. She kept her opponent on the run and had some great serves, but her opponent kept the lead. The final match score was 6-2, 6-0
At first doubles, it was Gabby Gosciewski and Madison Sherman. It was a slow start for the doubles team as they struggled to find their groove and make games out of well played points. They were down 0-5 in the first set. Their opponents were playing well, but then the Bulldogs decided to change up their strategy, especially on returning serve and that started the charge. The team began chipping away at the Royals lead and brought it to 3-5 and then 5-5 and soon it was 6-5 and the Bulldogs had the lead! Gosciewski was serving and Sherman was at the net. Sherman put away several volleys and then it was Gosciewski’s signature lefty serve to her opponents backhand that brought the first set 7-5 win for the team. The Bulldogs never let the Royals get ahead in the second set. They both crushed several aces to both sides of the service box and covered the court with well-placed lobs and point ending volleys. Gosciewski and Sherman put the pressure on when they broke their opponents serve, to bring the match to 5-3. It was another strong service game and the lady netters closed out the set with a strong 6-3 win. The final match score was 7-5, 6-3.
Head coach Laura Graham said, “All across the board our team played their hearts out today showed how their skills and mental toughness have grown immensely this season. Our Bulldogs played some hard fought matches today with exceptionally long rallies and we came out the winner. I am so proud of my entire team for their efforts. In addition, that come from behind win at first doubles was one of the most exciting come from behind matches I’ve seen in many years. That took grit and patience to pull that off. I always say that as long as you are on the courts you have a chance to win. These girls proved that today!”
The team is off on Wednesday and then heads to Parma on Thursday to close out the week. The team is 5-6 this season. There are three more matches ahead this month before they head to the sectional qualifier the first week of October.