Monument Mountain tennis duo Shafiroff and Higgins set for WMass individual tournament semifinals


The second weekend of the Western Massachusetts individual tennis tournament gets underway Saturday, and one Berkshire County doubles duo is still vying for a sectional championship.

The Monument Mountain girls are represented by the team of Carly Shafiroff and Hailey Higgins, with the duo set to play Longmeadow tandem Jennifer Brayton and Meghan Swanson today in the semifinals at the Longmeadow Tennis Courts.

Action gets underway at 9 a.m.

Shafiroff and Higgins booked their spot in the semifinals after topping Ludlow duo Kayla Santos and Marisa Lombardi in the quarterfinals. Shafiroff and Higgins won that match 6-1, 6-1.

The pair, seeded fifth, received a bye through the first round, and in the second round they topped Agawam duo Katelyn Poirer and Ariana Korcz 6-3, 6-0.

"They played well as a team and they didn't make many unforced errors," Monument Mountain coach Jeff Caligari said of his duo's play last weekend. "They kept the shots in play and kept their mistakes to a minimum. That was a big key to their success."

Minimizing mistakes will be a priority against Brayton and Swanson.

Caligari said that the Longmeadow doubles team features a left-handed and a right-handed player. As he described it, "they have forehands up the middle."

"[It] puts a lot of pressure on the middle of the court," Caligari said. "The girls have to hit their lobs or hit it down the alleys to be effective."

Serving will also be key for Shafiroff and Higgins. Last weekend, the pair were solid in their serves.

"They served well, didn't double-fault much," Caligari said. "They kept pressuring their opponents into making mistakes."

Brayton and Swanson were seeded eighth in the tournament, and their path to the semifinals included knocking off No. 1 duo Christine Mayotte and Sera Salerna of Minnechaug in the quarterfinals. Brayton and Swanson won that match 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Brayton and Swanson also went to three sets in the second round, winning 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 over Westfield duo Gabby Rivera and Natalie Mitchelle.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 duo Cali Grincavitch and Sarah Hachadourian of Longmeadow will face No. 3 Ludlow duo Emma Gomes and Mariana Goncalves.

In girls singles action, No. 1 Alison McCann of Amherst will face No. 5 Suzanne Eifman of Longmeadow in one semifinal, and No. 2 Hailey Gurski of Minnechaug will play No. 3 Meghan Bernard of Belchertown.

The boys singles semifinals will be No. 1 Wil Chen of Longmeadow against unseeded Jeff Mueller of Longmeadow and No. 10 Sam Freedman, also from Longmeadow, against No. 3 Andy Zykowski of Amherst. The doubles will be No. 1 duo David Bogdanis and Ben Schnieder of Longmeadow against No. 4 Charlie Denhart and Jake Denhart of Northampton, and No. 7 Pat Burns and Dan Draymore of Longmeadow against unseeded duo Galen Winsor and Jake Duggan of Northampton.

The championship matches are scheduled to be played in the afternoon. If the matches are postponed due to weather, teams are scheduled to return on Sunday to finish up.

Winners from Saturday will advance to the state tournament on June 18.

Contact Geoff Smith at 413-496-6254.


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