Deerfield made the long journey to Watertown, CT on Saturday for an afternoon match against Taft, the team’s first contest since returning from winter break. Having spent the week knocking the rust off, the JV girls were ready to put themselves to the test in their first match with an all-JV roster. The team sadly was without usual #3 senior co-captain Carolina Conzelman and #8 Esme Benjamin ’20 due to illness and injury, but everyone stepped up to fill in the ladder.
The evens were up first. At #2, sophomore Talbot von Stade took a win in the first game 11-7. Her opponent came back and the two pushed each other with two 12-10 games in a row, the first going to Taft and the second to Deerfield. As the players began the fourth game, an injury required Taft’s player to forfeit the game, giving von Stade and Deerfield the win. At #4, junior Cameron Heard was all business as usual. Despite illness, she won the first game 11-8, narrowly dropped the second, 7-11, and then fired off two wins (11-5, 11-7) to give Deerfield another point. Playing #6, junior Olivia Geraci was the only member of the team to go to five games (11-5, 8-11, 4-11, 11-7, 6-11). Though Geraci could have decided to let things slide at any point, she fought her hardest through each and every game to try to give Deerfield another point, and should be very proud of what she accomplished and of exemplifying the persistent, sportsmanlike spirit of Deerfield athletics!
As the odds took the courts, the day’s score stood at 2-1 in Deerfield’s favor, promising a nailbiter for the rest of the day. Senior co-captain Olivia Jones crushed three successively quicker games in her debut as a contributor to the final score, winning 11-8, 11-5, and 11-3 to put Deerfield within one point of a victory. At #5, junior Isabella Geraci’s opponent came out hot with an 11-7 win, but then fell to Geraci’s spirited serves, fiery forehands, and blistering backhands, with Geraci winning 11-3, 11-9, 11-7 to seal Deerfield’s victory for the day. Sophomore Christina Li, playing #3, won the first game 11-9 and proceeded to work her opponent over. The Taft player scurried in vain after Li’s shots, and Li took the match 3-1 (11-9, 6-11, 11-4, 11-5), putting the victory even more firmly in Deerfield’s hands. Senior co-captain and #1 player Lilley Salmon was unlucky against a skilled and fit opponent, but did her best and refused to concede until the end of the fourth game (4-11, 11-9, 7-11, 0-11).
Deerfield traveled home with its undefeated record intact, satisfied with its performance against a tough and talented opposition. The team will enjoy a Wednesday off before facing Westminster on Saturday at home.