Saturday afternoon brought Deerfield’s varsity girls tennis team to the courts with Groton’s top six players. This playoff semifinal was a rematch of an early season battle between these two teams. In April, Groton came out on top. Deerfield’s squad was determined to avenge that loss and move on to the championship.
The top two doubles pairings came out on fire. Pulliam and Rao played what may have been their best match ever as a pair in this contest. The pair played brilliant doubles from start to finish, getting Deerfield on the board first with an 8-0 sweep. Sanders and Waterfall followed suit soon after, adding a hard-earned 8-4 win to DA’s slate. Entering singles, Deerfield led 2-1.
The second phase of this match would stretch to a fourth hour. The athletes on both sides had to battle through the heat, and many of these players were playing their fourth match of the day. Groton proved to be the fiercest competition Deerfield saw all year. Credit goes to this disciplined and talented squad. Isha Rao and Natalia Sanders would earn Deerfield’s third and fourth points. With a trip to the championship on the line the two remaining singles matches reached third sets. Daphne Gavros and Avery Brooker battled in tie breaks on opposite ends of the tennis facility. The spectators had to rubberneck nonstop to keep up with the action.
Gavros pulled ahead 6-2, only to have her Groton opponent even the score. Redoubling her determination, Daphne tore through four straight points to earn the win and secure a trip to the championship round for the team! The team would need to catch a good night’s sleep to be on the road to Andover early Sunday morning.
- Isha Rao, W 6-1, 6-4
- Natalia Sanders, W 6-3, 6-0
- Hunter Pulliam, L 6-3, 4-6, 5-10
- Olivia Waterfall, L 0-6, 2-6
- Daphne Gavros, W 6-3, 3-6, 10-6
- Avery Brooker, 3-6, 6-2, 6-6 (clinched)
- Rao/ Pulliam, W 8-0
- Sanders/ Waterfall, W 8-4
- Gavros/ Brooker, L 4-8
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3