STONEHAM — With two more victories this past week, the Wilmington High Girls Tennis team clinched their third straight trip to the Division 2 state tournament, improving their record to 9-5 overall on the season and 6-2 in the Middlesex League.
On Monday afternoon, the Wildcats rolled to a 5-0 road victory over Middlesex Freedom Division rival Stoneham, winning each match in straight sets.
The Wildcats were particularly dominant in their single matches, with senior Emily Hill winning first singles 6-0, 6-1, while junior Carolyn Roney took second singles by a score of 6-0, 6-0 and senior Lia Kourkoutas took third singles by a score of 6-0, 6-0.
In doubles play, the first doubles combination of senior Jess D’Arco and Lauren D’Arco earned a straight set 6-2, 6-2 victory while the second doubles duo of sophomores Vidhi Shah and Jess Murray won by a score of 6-3, 6-3.
“All of the matches were pretty similar where we were in control the whole time, especially in singles,” Wilmington coach Matt Hackett said. “The playing conditions were kind of rough because it was very windy, but that affected both teams. That can affect your serve a lot, but the girls didn’t let it bother them. They all battled through it and they all played well.”
The Wildcats most impressive victory of the week came in a 3-2 decision over Middlesex Liberty Division rival Arlington last Thursday, in a match where all three of their victories came via singles. Not only was it their most impressive victory of the week, but it stood out as one of the biggest wins in recent memory for the Wildcats.
“I hate to rank victories, but that is right up there with our biggest wins over the past few years,” Hackett said. “We have been close with Arlington before, but we just haven’t been able to beat them. We have always come up just a little short. This was a really good win for the program”
The clinching match of the day came from Kourkoutas in third singles with a straight set 6-2, 6-0 victory.
“It was very exciting to have Lia clinch it for us, but there really wasn’t much drama to it because she was in control the entire time,” Hackett said.
Roney won her second singles match by a score of 6-1, 6-4, while Hill took her first singles match by a score of 6-2, 6-4.
“Carolyn was a little up and down in her match, but she did such a great job of staying focused and blocking out any distractions. She doesn’t let anything bother her and she did a great job blocking out distractions and beating a very good opponent,” Hackett said. “And you can say the same thing about Emily. She blocked out any distractions and just went out there and took care of business. She was able to keep her focus the entire match and the player she beat was a player she had never beaten before.
“If this wasn’t her most impressive win of the year, it was certainly in the top two or three. She was consistent all the way through, and she was determined to win.”
The Wildcats will wrap up their regular season with two matches this week, hosting Wakefield on Wednesday for Senior Day, and then traveling to Watertown on Thursday.
HILL AT INDIVIDUALS
In addition to helping the Wildcats to a pair of big wins this past week, Wilmington High senior Emily Hill also participated in the MIAA Girls North Individual Tournament at Newton South High School on Saturday morning. Hill, who was seeded sixth in the tournament and had advanced to the regional round of 16 was defeated by Winchester’s Nicole Costales by scores of 7-5, 6-4 eliminating her from the tournament.
Hill had earned her way into the round of 16 after getting a bye in the first round and then winning her round of 32 match last weekend over an opponent from Dover Sherborn by a score of 6-0, 6-2.
Hackett said that although Hill may not have been at her best on Saturday, she has plenty to be proud of.
“Emily was really disappointed with how she played, because she had a lot of unforced errors, which is very uncharacteristic for her,” Hackett said. “But despite that she still had a chance to win. The points were all close and the games were all close.
“I reminded her that I can’t remember the last time we had a player in the individual tournament, let alone advance two rounds. I also reminded her that her win over Arlington a couple of days earlier was much bigger than anything she could have done in the individual tournament. We don’t win that match without her. I was very proud of her."