Patriots top Rutland in rain-shortened match

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BENNINGTON — Dodging the raindrops to get in most of the match, the Mount Anthony girls tennis team won three of the first four games of the day before heavier rain ended the match in MAU's favor, 3-1.

"It took a bit to find the footing this year, but the girls are getting more confidence with every match," said Mount Anthony coach Paige Rossi.

Bao Bao Shuang continued her dominance since debuting with the Patriots. The No. 1 singles player was formidable in a 6-0, 6-1 win over Rutland's Maddy Bourassa.

In the opening game of the match, Shuang had a couple of aces, then won with a precision forehand to the corner. Throughout, her returns had Bourassa, a good player in her own right, running from line to line to catch up.

"She's a force to be reckoned with," Rossi said. "It gives the [other] girls confidence to know they have a strong No.1, it takes some of the weight off their shoulders. Bao Bao is a great person to play against and it helps us to practice with her."

The closest match of the afternoon came at No. 2 singles between Mount Anthony's Hayleigh Loomis and Rutland's Stefanie Allen. Loomis took the first set, 6-3, but tired in the second set and dropped a 7-6 decision (7-2 in the tiebreaker).

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"[Before the third set], I told her that it's 0-0, a clean slate," Rossi said. "You can't let the last set bring you down. They are well matched and Hayleigh buckled down and did what she needed to do, it was impressive."

That set up a third-set 10-point tiebreaker. Loomis trailed 6-2 midway through, but scored four of the next five points to tie the set at 7-7. Loomis finished off a long rally to get to match point, then Allen hit long to finish it and give Loomis the victory.

"I was talking to myself, I am good at coming back," Loomis said. "It makes it interesting. I was so whipped, I wanted it to be over. The point is I didn't give up."

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When Loomis got down in the tiebreaker, Rossi said she wasn't worried because Loomis is the king of the comeback.

"Hayleigh is all about the comeback," Rossi said. "You can't count Hayleigh out, it's not over until its over."

It was the second time in as many matches between the two that went three sets. In Rutland, Allen got the better of it.

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"It was back and forth, she's a great opponent, I knew we'd have long rallies," Loomis said. "I'm proud of myself for pushing through and getting those points."

The other two matches to finish before the rain were the No. 3 singles and the No. 1 doubles. In doubles, Lexi Gerow and Chloe Gore snagged a 6-2, 6-1 victory that gave Mount Anthony a 2-0 lead early in the contest.

"Chloe and Lexi have a great dynamic and great communication," Rossi said. "They know what the other is doing, they play as one. It blows me away how well they work with one another."

The only defeat for MAU on the afternoon came at No. 3 as Rutland's Amy McGee dropped MAU's Carly Bylina in straight sets, 1-6, 2-6.

When the rain stopped play, the last three matches — No. 4 and No. 5 singles and No. 2 doubles — were ongoing. MAU led all three, with Lily Donahue, Gabby Griffin-Leon and the team of Regina MacDonald and Zoey Amoroso picking up first-set victories.

MAU is 6-5 on the season.


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