Monument tennis duo's run ends in state semifinals

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SHREWSBURY >> Monument Mountain's doubles team of Carly Shafiroff and Hailey Higgins had their postseason run ended by Martha's Vineyard's Elizabeth Williamson and Victoria Scott in a 6-1, 6-0 loss on Saturday at Saint John's High School in the MIAA state semifinals.

Despite the defeat to strong opponents, the Spartans' duo left the court with smiles on their faces, choosing to focus on the journey to the semis and the fond memories built through several years as doubles partners.

"We've been playing together for three years now, so it's just like having a really good friend with me along the way," Higgins said. "She always keeps me upbeat and happy throughout the game."

A moment of frustration would be understood when facing the team from Martha's Vineyard. Scott relied on her powerful forehand for winners, while Williamson used a more finesse game, using placement and spin to earn points. Add in the fact that Scott's left-handed serve puts a difficult spin on the ball, and it's clear to see how the duo became the first state finalist in school history.

Higgins and Shafiroff won the second game of the match, tying it at 1-1, but Scott and Williamson won all of the remaining games. Monument's duo struggled getting their first serves in, leading to double faults or slower paced serves that Martha's Vineyard returned with great pace.

The Southern Massachusetts champions committed very few unforced errors, and the pace and angles of their shots took away Monument's strong play at the net.

"Usually we're pretty good at capitalizing on other team's weaknesses, but they did not have any weaknesses," Shafiroff said. "Their first serves were good, their second serves were good, their ground strokes were good and they got everything back. It was hard to play them."

The Western Mass. champs will not get to face Northern Mass. champs Winchester in the final, but Shafiroff said they represented Berkshire County tennis well.

"We were walking around and people were like 'what's Berkshire County? Where are you from?,'" she said. "Nobody in the tennis world knows who we are, so it's pretty cool that we made it this far."

The loss wraps up a strong doubles career for Shafiroff, meaning Higgins will have a new partner if she plays doubles next season. Monument coach Jeff Caligari said the chemistry and bond shown from his No. 1 doubles team makes them a joy to coach and is reflective of the positive attitude of the entire team.

"The whole team is kind of like this," he said. "It's a good unit. They all get along well and they look forward to being with each other all the time in practices. They work very hard, that's why they made it to the semifinals."

Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252


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