Patriots shows pride in semifinals defeat


BENNINGTON >> A great season has come to an end for the Mount Anthony girls tennis team.

The No. 2 seed Patriots lost to No. 3 seed South Burlington in the semifinals on Wednesday afternoon, 7-0, knocking MAU out of the Division I playoff tournament and ending their perfect season.

"This was an amazing season for us and the girls should be proud of what we accomplished," said MAU coach Steve Coggeshall. "We just ran into a better team today in South Burlington who are a well coached team and play the game right. There is no shame like I told the girls for losing to this team in the semifinals."

MAU was in an uphill battle from the first serve on as South Burlington showed off its prowess early.

In the No. 1 singles match, MAU's Margaret Curtin found herself in an odd situation as the senior fell down 2-0 early on in the first set.

Curtin was able to cut her deficit to 2-1 and then 3-2, but that wasn't enough as South Burlington's No. 1, Lajla Batnjevic, was able to pull away from Curtin and win the first set 6-2.

In the second set, Batnjevic's forehand became too much for Curtin, who couldn't get any kind of rhythm going, losing her match with a 6-0 defeat.

The same was said for No. 2 singles player Grace Page who just couldn't keep the ball in play, hitting a lot of off balance shots beyond the court that resulted in her losing the first set 6-1.

Falling down 5-0 in the second set, Page made a comeback, winning two straight game to cut the deficit to 5-2 but that was it for the senior who fell straight sets with the 6-2 loss.

Down 2-0, things didn't get better for the Patriots in doubles play, when the No. 1 doubles pair of Thea Pappas and Brooke Young lost their match in straight sets 6-1, 6-0.

South Burlington then clinched their spot in the finals when MAU's No. 5 singles player Phebe Hall lost her match in straight sets, losing the first set 6-0 and after fighting back to tie the match 2-2 in the second set, lost four straight games for 6-2 defeat.

Even though they were eliminated from the playoffs already, the Patriots kept fighting and showed their pride by cheering on the rest of their teammates who were in the last three matches of the day.

Perfect example of that was shown in Anna Salem's No. 3 singles match.

After the sophomore fell down 4-1 in the first set, Curtin went over to Salem to give some advice and calmed her down during the break.

That teammate pep talk helped Salem come back following her 6-1 loss in the first set as she gained a 3-2 lead in the second, which was the only time MAU had a lead in a set all game match.

"Margaret and everybody on the team really helped me calm down out there after that tough first set and that helped me re-focus for the rest of the match," Salem said ."Having teammates and captain like that is great to have and that's why were so close as a team."

Salem went on to lose the second set 6-3, but it showed that the Patriots as team were going to fight to the end.

"This team has such great team chemistry and that is so important to have" Coggeshall said. "They all cheer for one another and they all help each other out in practice and in matches. You couldn't ask for a better team-like atmosphere than we had this season."

No. 4 singles player Ally White lost her match with two 6-1 defeats, while the No. 2 doubles team of Kaitlin Banks and Trinity Galipeau who played one of the best matches of the day Coggeshall said, lost their match in straight sets 6-1, 6-2 that sealed up MAU's first loss of the season.

With the loss, MAU finishes the season with a school record 14 wins and feel proud for what they have accomplished this season.

"This was a great season for our program and it just shows all the hard work our girls put in during the off-season and during the season," Coggeshall said. "After losing to a good team like South Burlington today I think time will show the girls coming back with what it takes to get to that next level of play and I am very excited to see what is in store for our team in the future."


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