Girls Tennis Sweeps Milton, 5-0

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A Walpole doubles team serves against Milton.

Peter Hoegler

A Walpole doubles team serves against Milton.
A Walpole doubles team serves against Milton.

What a difference a year makes. After getting swept, 5-0, by Milton twice last year, Girls Tennis turned the score around in their first matchup on April 7 at WHS with the Wildcats — sweeping the match, 5-0. With the same starting varsity lineup as last year, the Rebels were able to pull off a victory against a Milton team that has been a nightmare for teams in years past. It was a significant victory for coach Diane Heinold, who led the Rebels to a victory against her former team.

 First singles sophomore Alyssa Rosen was the first to finish and win her match against Milton’s powerful forehand hitter. Rosen won in two sets 6-2 and 6-3; however, most points contained long rallies and multiple deuces. Milton’s first singles had a vicious forehand shot and a dangerous serve, but Rosen kept opponent on her backhand and returned her speed serve.

Second to finish was third singles, sophomore Erin Pitman, who was down 2-1 to start. However, Pitman rallied to win five games in a row to take the set 6-2 and ultimately finished her opponent in the next set, 6-1. Pitman said, “Last year we had a slow start to the season, but once we get clicked in, we can match-up evenly against the better players.”

 Second doubles, seniors Emily Byrnes senior Nicole Mallory, lost the first game of their first set. The loss did not set the tone of the match, as they were tied at 4-4 before they won the next two games straight to take the first set. They then went on to win their match with domineering 6-1 win in the second set.

Out of five matches, the varsity team only has to win three for the entire match victory. After Rosen, Pitman, Byrnes and Mallory, the Rebels had already won the match with three clean wins and two matches still going on.

Since Heinold was the assistant tennis coach for Milton in previous years, this win was extra special for her. She said, “It was great to see the girls win against a tough team, especially a team that I used to have coaching experience with.”

Second singles, senior Captain Hannah Miller, also won in two straight sets, 7-5 and 6-2. Miller had a tough start, for she was down 5-2 in the beginning of the match, but she came back and won five straight games to pull of a 7-5 win in the first set.Miller said, “I was mad that Milton’s coach expected my opponent to be winning by much more, so I was extremely motivated to prove her wrong and win my match.” Miller won the second set easily, as her opponent could not recover from her first set loss.

The last match to finish, taking over an hour to complete, was first doubles sophomores Mary Healy and Julia Sandquist. Healy and Sandquist won in an exhilarating three sets, being the only varsity players to not win in two straight sets out of three. They lost the first set, 4-6, but rebounded well from that loss to take the next two sets, 6-1 and 6-2.

 Sandquist said, “At the start of the match, we were playing it too safe with the other team, but we were able to capitalize on Milton’s returns when we put more force on our shots.”

Sandquist and Healy led in their second 5-0 sweep of the season, improving Walpole’s record to 3-2. Although the next few matches will be against strong teams such as Newton North, Wellesley, and Brookline, the Rebels look to secure a better record than last year and get into the playoffs.

This will be a big step for a program that consists of mostly underclassmen and seniors who have rarely been put into the pressure situations that a state tournament consists of.  After the next three matches against the top teams in the Bay State, the Rebels will look to get the necessary wins to reach one of their final goals: a berth in the state tournament.