MAU edges past Colchester into semifinal

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BENNINGTON >> As individual as high school tennis is, it really is a team game.

Mount Anthony's girls tennis team had two players lose their first individual matches of the season on Thursday during the Division I quarterfinal against No. 10 seed Colchester.

But not to worry, the rest of the team had their backs.

The Patriots got victories from four of their five singles players in a 4-3 win over the Lakers on a scorching hot day at the Bennington Rec Center to reach the Division I semifinal for the first time in school history.

"My prediction was 5-2, and we were close to that," said MAU coach Steve Coggeshall. "We have a great group of players that really support each other as far as we've gotten and we're 14-0 at this point."

No. 1 singles Margaret Curtin got the Patriots off on the right foot immediately, as the senior rolled past Cara Barmore 6-1, 6-0, finishing the match in about an hour.

No. 2 singles Grace Page was next to score a victory, just as dominant as Curtin — winning in straight sets against Shannon French 6-0, 6-1 to get the Patriots halfway to the next round.

"My key to success was [ball] placement and staying positive," said the senior Page. "If you can't say positive, you're not going to win. Tennis is a [mental] game."

Colchester earned a win at the first doubles, with Julia Pellegrino-Wood and Emily Bryant scoring a 6-3, 6-1 win over Thea Pappas and Brooke Young to cut the lead in half, but then a minute later, No. 5 singles Phebe Hall finished her match with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Adrienne Colley to put Mount Anthony one win from the semifinal.

Colchester made it 3-2 in the second doubles, with Zayla Smith and Jessica Erdman topping Caitlin Banks and Trinity Galipeau in a three-set affair 1-6, 6-1, and 10-7 in the tiebreak. The defeat was the first for Banks and Galipeau this season but the Patriots still had the lead in the team score.

No. 4 singles Ally White clinched the match in dominating fashion to pick up her teammates with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Haley Kieny to send Mount Anthony to the semifinal.

"Up 3-1, I knew we really needed the fourth one and once [the Colchester player] won the first game, Ally really capped it off," Coggeshall said. "She's an extremely determined athlete and she's learning how to play very good tennis at the same time. Our legs should be fresh next week after playing two days in a row."

At No. 3 singles, Anna Salem lost her first match of the year to Ashley Wells, 4-6 and 1-6, but she'll have a chance to redeem herself Tuesday as the Patriots will face the winner between South Burlington and Essex on Tuesday.

"It was Anna's first loss and [the doubles] as well," Coggeshall said. "So we were not expecting that. But we knew [Colchester] would be pretty strong. Margaret came out strong and Ally White played some outstanding tennis. The team as a whole is so determined, they work so hard [to be successful]."


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