HARWICH – The Monomoy girls tennis team earned two Cape and Islands League victories this week when they defeated Sturgis East in a 5-0 sweep on May 9 and the St. John Paul Lions 4-1 on May 7.
“We're having a great season,” said Monomoy head coach Bill Burke near the end of match play against Sturgis East. “We'll be 8-4 after today's match.”
It was a rare rain-free afternoon when the Sharks hosted the Storm last Thursday, with Monomoy's first singles player Lindsay Macdonald playing to a 6-0, 6-0 win against East's Cece Kane. In the adjacent court, teammate Julia Smith defeated East's Brooke Meyer 6-3, 6-4.
Stepping into third singles this season as a senior after playing doubles for Monomoy since eighth grade, Hannah Marty continued her stellar 2019 season with a 6-1, 6-4 win against East's Liz White. According to Burke, Marty has been a key contributor in Monomoy's success this season.
“I'm so happy for Hannah,” said Burke. “She's been a hardworking, loyal member of the team since eighth grade. This year I offered the opportunity for her to try singles. She's been a strong doubles player the whole time and took that challenge on. Other than Martha's Vineyard, she's beaten everyone that's come her way.”
The same goes for Macdonald, who has also had a winning 2019 season, her second as Monomoy's first singles player.
“Other than Martha's Vineyard, she's handled every team in the league that we've played,” Burke said. “She's a very strong player. I love her work ethic and her footwork and positive attitude. She's been lights out for us.”
Burke is looking for continued improvement from Smith, a sophomore, and feels she'll prove herself a tremendous asset to the team in the future.
“She's a very hard hitter and very cool no matter what the situation,” Burke said. “I love her tennis attitude. She's just got to clean up some consistency, but is going to be a very strong player for us moving forward.”
Monomoy's doubles teams also saw success against Sturgis with the first doubles team of Ava Barbella and Eliza Pillsbury defeating East's Grace Rizzuto and Sophie Lennon 6-1, 6-2, with the second doubles team of Olivia Prisco and Christie Beckley winning their match against East's Emma Rose and Carly Burns 6-0, 6-1.
“Ava and Eliza are probably the hardest-hitting doubles team I've ever coached,” said Burke. “They hit everything hard and are very aggressive at the net. If they can get a little more consistent, I think they're one of the best doubles teams in the league.”
Burke added that second doubles has seen some roster rotations, but also with success.
“Second doubles has been a bit of a revolving door but the one who has been consistent is Olivia Prisco, a freshman, [who is] a very strong player and a good net player, which you need in doubles. In the other position has been Molly McKenna, a senior who walked on the team last year, has good height, and plays hard and does what she's coached to do. When she's not available, Christie Beckley, an eighth grader, fills in at the net.”
The Sharks fought hard in their May 7 match against St. John Paul II, with Macdonald defeating Grace Felix 6-0, 6-2 in first singles and Marty besting Kara Oldham 6-1, 6-2 in third singles, while in first doubles Barbella and Pillsbury battled through an intense match to claim victory against the Lions' Brooke Eger and Maeve Lonergan 1-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-5. The second doubles team of Prisco and Beckley also faced a challenging contest, ultimately prevailing against Kathryn Korner and Penny Baroni 6-4, 5-7, 10-6.
“I think the thing that stands out with this team is that we're getting better as the season goes along,” said Burke. “It's very noticeable. I think everyone's working hard in practice and I think our confidence is really high, so I'm looking forward to the last six matches.”
With a number of eighth graders completing the Monomoy roster, Burke has high hopes for the future of girls tennis.
“We have a nice batch of eighth graders this year, coming up strong for us in the next few years,” he said. “A lot of it is the middle school feeder program that Monomoy has. The eighth graders are learning a ton and are very supportive of everybody.”
At press time, weather permitting, the Sharks were set to host Sturgis West, with their next match slated for Friday at Nantucket, once again weather permitting. Their next home match is scheduled for May 24 at 4 p.m. against Falmouth.