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Conant girls’ tennis comes up short in state championship

  • The Conant girls' tennis team lost to Bow 1-8 in the Division III championship game on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at The Derryfield School in Manchester. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • The Conant girls' tennis team lost to Bow 1-8 in the Division III championship game on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at The Derryfield School in Manchester. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • The Conant girls' tennis team lost to Bow 1-8 in the Division III championship game on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at The Derryfield School in Manchester. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • The Conant girls' tennis team lost to Bow 1-8 in the Division III championship game on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at The Derryfield School in Manchester. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • The Conant girls' tennis team lost to Bow 1-8 in the Division III championship game on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at The Derryfield School in Manchester. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • The Conant girls' tennis team lost to Bow 1-8 in the Division III championship game on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at The Derryfield School in Manchester. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • The Conant girls' tennis team lost to Bow 1-8 in the Division III championship game on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at The Derryfield School in Manchester. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • The Conant girls' tennis team lost to Bow 1-8 in the Division III championship game on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at The Derryfield School in Manchester. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • The Conant girls' tennis team lost to Bow 1-8 in the Division III championship game on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at The Derryfield School in Manchester. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • The Conant girls' tennis team lost to Bow 1-8 in the Division III championship game on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at The Derryfield School in Manchester. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • The Conant girls' tennis team lost to Bow 1-8 in the Division III championship game on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at The Derryfield School in Manchester. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • The Conant girls' tennis team lost to Bow 1-8 in the Division III championship game on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at The Derryfield School in Manchester. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • The Conant girls' tennis team lost to Bow 1-8 in the Division III championship game on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at The Derryfield School in Manchester. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • The Conant girls' tennis team lost to Bow 1-8 in the Division III championship game on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at The Derryfield School in Manchester. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • The Conant girls' tennis team lost to Bow 1-8 in the Division III championship game on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at The Derryfield School in Manchester. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • The Conant girls' tennis team lost to Bow 1-8 in the Division III championship game on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at The Derryfield School in Manchester. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, May 31, 2018

Before the start of doubles play during the Division III girls’ tennis championship on Wednesday, Conant’s head coach Jody Baker gathered her team for a pep talk.

After losing five of six singles matchups, the girls already knew they had lost the championship to the undefeated Bow Falcons – Division III’s reigning champions – but Baker wanted her team to end the season on a high note.

“I told them to enjoy the moment,” said Baker. “A lot of teams wanted to be playing here today. As long as it’s good tennis and they work hard at it, I’m happy.”

Bow continued to be a thorn in Conant’s side on Wednesday, with the Falcons defeating the Orioles for the third time this season. Bow is the only team Conant lost to all season. 

“I knew we would have our hands full,” said Baker. “I’m proud of my girls for getting here. It was out goal to make it to the playoffs; I’m glad they never gave up.”

Once again, No. 3 freshman Kusum Aryal was the only Oriole to defeat her Bow counterpart. Baker said that many of her other players performed better than the previous time they played Bow in the regular season, when they also lost 1-8. 

“We weren’t mad at each other at any point, we all know we did our best,” said Aryal. “We just took everything one step at a time.”

No.2 Alexys Smith had a close singles match, improving greatly upon her performance in a previous singles match against Bow, but would eventually lose 7-9. 

“Coach always said we were the underdogs and that we had nothing to lose,” said Smith. “As long as we tried hard, we knew we could walk away proud.”

With three seniors – Smith, No. 1 Nicci Munroe, and No. 4 Delaney Hirsch – and Aryal departing after this season – Aryal is transferring to Dublin School – Baker admitted she will be in rebuilding mode next season.

Baker hopes some of this year’s freshman take a similar path to that of Munroe and Smith, who were on the sidelines for a championship game when they were freshman and later became the team’s top players. 

“It will take some time to rebuild but that’s what happens,” said Baker, who said she has a young core of players to work with next year.  

Throughout their matches, the girls could be seen hugging, comforting, and reassuring each other – a testament to their bonds forged throughout the season. 

“We’re leaving our family behind,” said Munroe. “But I feel really strong about all of our freshmen.”

While the season is over for the team, some of the Conant girls will be playing in the singles and doubles tournament this weekend, with Munroe and Smith playing in the singles and doubles tournament, and Aryal and Hirsch playing in the doubles tournament.  

“Always one more,” said Hirsch.