LONGMEADOW -- Lenox High School girls tennis coach Melissa Alexicko lamented her team’s defeat in Monday’s MIAA Division III state semifinal match at Longmeadow High School. But in reflecting on the season past, Alexicko pointed out that, as rebuilding years go, 2012 wasn’t too painful.
"I couldn’t be prouder of this team," said Alexicko after the Millionaires were defeated by Central Mass. champion Bromfield, 4-1. "This has been a fantastic year. We had almost a whole new team from last year’s [state finalist] team, and we won Western Mass. I thought the girls did a great job."
"This has been a wild few days for us," said Bromfield coach Chris Holmes. "I’m just hoping the ride keeps going."
Due to rainouts, Bromfield knocked off top Central Mass. seed Sutton on Friday, perennial power Notre Dame on Saturday and last year’s state finalist Lenox on Monday.
"On Saturday and [Monday], we played our best tennis of the year," said Holmes. "Lenox is an outstanding team."
The Trojans jumped out to a 2-0 lead with wins at No. 1 and No. 3 singles. Bromfield’s Casey Magrath defeated Emily Ellis 6-1, 6-1, while Arpitha Hayes at No. 3 singles stopped the Millionaires’ Alex Trousilek, 6-1, 6-0.
In Ellis’ case, it was a matter of running into a red-hot Magrath. The Bromfield junior returned Ellis’ booming serve on a consistent basis, and her essential strategy was to keep the ball in bounds and wait for Ellis to make a mistake.
"Casey hasn’t lost a set in the postseason," said Holmes. "She has been playing her best tennis of the year when we’ve needed it the most."
Similarly, Hayes and Trousilek were evenly matched, as evidenced by several extended volleys between the two players. But Hayes simply made fewer unforced errors over the course of the match.
The Millionaires rallied at No. 2 singles, where Kelly Babich defeated Meaghan Katz, 6-2, 6-1.
Babich literally outlasted the Bromfield senior in the afternoon heat. At the end of the match, Katz was clearly dehydrated, and had to be helped from the court. She was rehydrated on the Bromfield bus, said Holmes.
"The heat was a factor," said Babich. "I won by coming up to the net and putting points away. The other thing was keeping the ball in and making her run a little bit."
The doubles matches were also close. After dropping the first match at No. 1 doubles 6-1, Rachel Cogswell and Nicole Babich battled their opposite numbers from Bromfield on a pretty even basis over the course of the next match. But in the end, they were edged by Rhett Noenighoff and Lindsay Kerr 7-5 in the second set.
No. 2 doubles was also close, with Alex Adams and Cami Smachetti eventually losing, 6-4, 6-2.
"It’s unfortunate we lost, but I have everybody back but my two seniors," said Alexicko, referring to Ellis and Nicole Babich. "So I think we should be in good shape next year."
Singles -- 1. Casey Magrath (B) def. Emily Ellis 6-1, 6-1; 2. Kelly Babich (L) def. Meaghan Katz, 6-3, 6-1; 3. Arpitha Hayes (B) def. Alex Trousitek, 6-1, 6-0.
Doubles -- 1. Rhett Noenighoff/Lindsay Kerr (B) def. Rachel Cogswell/Nicole Babich, 6-1, 7-5; 2. Julie Gormaly/Kristen Noyes (B) def. Alex Adams/Cami Smachetti, 6-4, 6-2.