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girls tennis

Game, set, match for ConVal

Cougars defeat Goffstown 5-4 in opener behind four singles wins

  • The ConVal girls tennis team opened its season against Goffstown on April 5, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The ConVal girls tennis team opened its season against Goffstown on April 5, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The ConVal girls tennis team opened its season against Goffstown on April 5, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The ConVal girls tennis team opened its season against Goffstown on April 5, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The ConVal girls tennis team opened its season against Goffstown on April 5, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The ConVal girls tennis team opened its season against Goffstown on April 5, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The ConVal girls tennis team opened its season against Goffstown on April 5, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The ConVal girls tennis team opened its season against Goffstown on April 5, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The ConVal girls tennis team opened its season against Goffstown on April 5, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The ConVal girls tennis team opened its season against Goffstown on April 5, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The ConVal girls tennis team opened its season against Goffstown on April 5, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The ConVal girls tennis team opened its season against Goffstown on April 5, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The ConVal girls tennis team opened its season against Goffstown on April 5, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

Entering Friday’s season opener, ConVal girls tennis coach Greg Morris had a good idea of what he was going to get out of his top three.

It was the bottom half of his rotation that remained an uncertainty — especially since none had played very many high school matches. And with snow lingering this spring, the Cougars had only one practice outside prior to Friday.

“Without a lot of practice time I wasn’t sure what I’d get,” said Morris. “I expected some scares.”

But Morris was pleasantly surprised when No. 5 junior McKenzie West and No. 6 Sabina Pieterse, a senior, earned their first high school victories to help the Cougars close out a season opening 5-4 win over Goffstown at the Adams Playground courts that were still surrounded by snow.

Both West and Pieterse battled back from three games down at different points in their matches to give ConVal a 4-2 lead entering doubles play. And the Cougars needed both wins.

West won 8-5 and Pieterse grabbed an 8-4 victory to go along with wins at No. 1 and 3.

“It turned out that five and six were the ones who won the day for us,” said Morris. “Both were behind, but came back to win. I was so proud of them.”

Sophomore Chloe Tournier and junior Ashlynn Wing closed out the team’s first victory of 2013 with an 8-3 win at No. 2 doubles.

Senior Caroline Trowbridge started things off by winning her first match as the program’s top player, 8-4, over Goffstown’s Kim MacPhail, who was filling in at No. 1 for the Grizzlies.

The next match to be decided was Tournier against Annika Jens. Tournier was in midseason form in her 8-3 win, as she was the only ConVal player to pick up two wins on the afternoon.

“It was a whole team effort,” said Morris.

Senior Chloe Kipka, the No. 2 player entering the season, had a tough start to the season with an 8-5 loss to Georgia Caine in singles play and then fell in doubles 8-6 while partnering with Trowbridge to MacPhail and Caine.

“Neither one was happy with their performance,” said Morris. “I know that Chloe Kipka and Caroline can play significantly better tennis than they did.”

Wing battled her way through much of the fourth position match and was down just one game late, but Goffstown’s Bridget Kisselback won the final two games to hand Wing an 8-5 loss.

West and Pieterse took their doubles match to a tiebreaker, only to fall 9-8 (7-3). But it was their singles play that was most important.

With two wins out of the fifth and sixth positions, ConVal needed just one more going into doubles. At one point though it did not look good. ConVal and Goffstown were tied with two wins apiece, West and Pieterse were both down in singles play and Trowbridge and Kipka also trailed.

Then it turned around when it mattered most for the Cougars. The bottom of the rotation proved they belong.

And now Morris has a better idea at where this team stands.

ConVal hosts Milford today at 4 p.m.

Tim Goodwin can be reach at 924-7172 ext. 226 or tgoodwin@ledgertranscript.com. He’s on Twitter at @TimGoodwinMLT.

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