BBA blanks Harwood in Division II semi, final awaits


MANCHESTER -- The only thing hotter than the tennis courts at Dana Thompson Rec Park on Monday afternoon was the Burr and Burton Academy girls tennis team.

On a day when ambient temperatures reached the 80s, BBA won all seven matches in straight sets, topping Harwood in the Division II semifinal, 7-0.

"This was a good warm up day for a big match [today]," said BBA coach Dan Hutner.

In the best matches of the day, BBA's first doubles -- Stella Oh and Megan Knight -- scored a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Mia Burfoot and Maddie McGeorge, the third match to go BBA's way.

Knight was a last-minute sub for Julie Campanella, who didn't play due to a family emergency.

"Megan Knight did a great job stepping up as a sub in the first doubles, her and Stella had never played together before," Hutner said. "She's been the first alternate, a great team player. She has less tennis experience but she filled the void. They just went for it and did a great job."

At first singles, Maddy Pagnucco backed up her fourth-place at the Vermont state individual tournament with a dominating 6-0, 6-0 win over Ally Behn that took 43 minutes to complete.

"Maddy's game is broadening, she has lots of tools to use, short shots and lobbing, which is a favorite strategy of hers," Hutner said.

Most of the games were quick, with both players trying to put the other away with hard shots to the corners. After winning the first set, Pagnucco broke Behn in the first set, winning four straight points, then won the third game in the second set as Behn double faulted four times in a row.

"She's figured out what shots to use and put them to good use," Hutner said.

At second singles, Jordan Harmon continued her good season with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Chase Fortier.

"The score didn't represent how the match went, she was good, usually play better against players with more pace," Harmon said.

Then after Oh and Knight's win gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 advantage, Irene Matas was the next BBA player to score a win -- 6-2, 6-1 over Shelby Parette -- and clinch a berth in the final.

"You want to keep the points short on a hot day, you can tire more easily with long points," Harmon said.

"Having the top three as good as they are is a good problem to have," Hutner said. "Our top players are all strong. [Irene] stepped it up, in a match that didn't demand her best, she gives her best and plays all out. It's nice to have her as a three."

Gabby Vella made it five wins with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Sarah Brodeur at fourth singles and then the second doubles team of Maria de Pablo and Silvia Velasco rolled past Sienna Jean and Lillie Miller, 6-0, 6-1.

"They came off the court beaming, they [had] played their best tennis and that reflected in the score," Hutner said.

In the last match of the day at fifth singles, the longest of the contest, Eliza Breed won a 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 matchup with Mallory Wright to sweep the day.

"Eliza has made huge strides this year, moving to singles and her level of play has gone through the roof," Hutner said.

BBA will face Montpelier in a rematch of last year's Division II final at the Bennington Tennis Center today at 1 p.m. BBA beat the Solons, 5-2, earlier in the season, but Montpelier topped the Bulldogs in last year's Division II final.

"We're confident overall, I'm glad to play Montpelier," Harmon said. "I've played them since [I was a] freshman, I feel this is our year."

"I'd rather be outside, we have some bad memories of the tennis center," Hutner said. "They'll shake it off and it'll be a great match."


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