Photo Gallery: Monument Mountain girls tennis practice at Berkshire West
PITTSFIELD -- Making a deep postseason run is difficult to do once. Repeating can be even more difficult, but that's exactly what the Monument Mountain girls tennis team is setting out to do this spring.
The Spartans made program history in 2013 with their first-ever appearance in the state final.
"I feel like I have the talent on the team where I think we can win Western Mass. again," coach Jeff Caligari said. "I really feel we can. We don't have the same team as last year, but we got 16 girls on the team this year, some new talent and we're probably a little deeper than last year."
Repeating as Western Massachusetts champions won't be an easy task, and that will need to come before a second straight appearance in the state final.
The Spartans do have something helping them along the way this year: experience. They know what it took to get to that stage a year ago and know what it will take to get back there.
"Definitely condition a lot harder," said senior Sam White. "Last year, girls weren't in best shape for states, but I'd just say keeping trying hard and hopefully we'll make it there. We're strong enough."
It seems this year's team will have a drastically different look than last year's. The Spartans lost only three players from their seven-girl starting lineup -- the No. 2 and 3 singles players and half of their No. 2 doubles team.
What that means: For the third consecutive spring, Monument returns its top player. White will return to her spot at No. 1 singles for the final time, and that might be the only similarity the 2013 and 14 lineups share.
Cara Freadman, a sophomore, is moving from No. 1 doubles to No. 2 singles, but the switch shouldn't come as a huge surprise as she has ample experience playing on the singles side outside of high school tennis. Her ascension comes just after older sister Courtney -- who also played second singles -- graduated.
Cara admits there's a little pressure taking over for Courtney.
"She was a good player, too," the sophomore said. "So it'll be hard to fill her spot, but, I think, I can do it."
With Freadman leaving doubles, it also means her partner last year, Jen Evans, will need to find someone new to play with -- maybe. There's also the possibility Evans will move up to singles, which means Molly Amstead would be the lone doubles player returning to play doubles.
"It will be interesting because yeah, Cara and I always got the win, but I think we're both going to be really strong if we do both end up playing singles this year," Evans said. "I think it is a good move for the team for us to split, but I am sad about it."
Caligari was quick to note in late March that he doesn't yet know exactly how the lineup will look. He did, however, know he has about seven or eight players vying for five spots.
"Looking at these four practices, we definitely have a strong team again," Evans said. "I think we have some really good young players that will able to, not only this year but in the coming years, keep it going strong. So hopefully we'll go out and win a bunch of games again."
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