Despite a rainy morning, the JV girls found themselves on “walking on sunshine” on a beautiful mid-seventy-degree day by late afternoon, when the Taft bus rolled in. Deerfield was coming off a bruising 1-6 loss to Taft in the previous year, but had high hopes of providing stiffer competition this spring. All seven matches began auspiciously, but it soon became clear that the Rhinos would not go down without a fight.
Tess Mannix at #1 led the way with a decisive 8-4 win over her talented opponent. Next up, doubles 2, a fresh team of Cameron Heard and Lily Zeng found their rhythm at the net and the baseline, collecting a nice 8-4 W. Doubles 3 finished with a win as well, as Ally Kell and Griffin Dewey — another new pairing — communicated and played with full effort for a 8-3 win.
Deirdre Mullowney and Anne Brown were the first to go to a tiebreak game. Unfortunately, the pair lost, 3-7, to their opponents. Mullowney in particular, in her first appearance for Deerfield tennis, gave it her all and cleaned up the back court as well as performing effectively at the net in an excellent first showing.
Annabel Gerber at #3 was up a few games, but her opponent warmed and wised up and surged with a vengeance to ultimately win 8-6. At #4 singles, Kylie Kittredge battled back from an early deficit to nearly stage a comeback, but ultimately lost 4-8 to an incredibly consistent opponent.
Finally, Whitney Vogt was locked in a fierce battle at #2 with her Taft opponent, whom Vogt had, in fact, faced two previous times: first as part of a #1 doubles team in her ninth-grade year, and then again in another #2 singles match last year, when both students were sophomores. In last year’s matchup, the two went to 7-7 and Vogt won the tiebreak for Deerfield’s only point of the day. This year, however, Taft got the W despite Vogt’s admirable resistance and coolheaded, consistent, unforced-error-free play all over the court.
The team missed captain Liz Tarazi and erstwhile doubles pair Anne Fiorini and Aurora Devereaux, all of whom could not make the match. However, the group was proud of a 3-4 loss that could have gone to either very strong team, of some nice long points, great sportsmanship, and an overall solid performance. The group greatly looks forward to two contests this week with Suffield on Wednesday and Williston on Saturday.