Sacred Heart Greenwich

Sacred Heart tennis team ends season by edging FAA rival Rye Country Day, 4-3

Photo by David Fierro: The Sacred Heart Greenwich tennis team topped visiting Rye Country Day School, 4-3, on May 22, 2021.

Sacred Heart Greenwich and Rye Country Day School had tight tennis matches in the past and Saturday was no different, as the Tigers and Wildcats’ matchup was tied with only one doubles contest remaining.

All eyes were on the No. 3 doubles match between Sacred Heart’s Sia Goyal and Francesca Marangi and Rye Country Day’s Kiki Montgomery/Julia French as they competed in a super tiebreaker in the third set.

And in their first doubles match together, Marangi and Goyal posted a memorable win that made the Tigers victorious in their final match of the season.

Marangi and Goyal’s three-set win clinched a 4-3 victory for Sacred Heart against visiting FAA foe Rye Country Day. The Tigers’ No. 3 tandem won the match, 6-3, 4-6, 10-8.

“Super tiebreakers are difficult and every point is kind of the deciding point,” Marangi said. “You have to work your way through and you don’t want to mess up. It’s a lot of pressure. When we won the match, it felt great. I didn’t get a chance to play with her during the season until today, so it was fun.”

“It was our first match together and we started off pretty strong, we won 6-3 in the first set,” said Goyal, a sophomore. “After that we didn’t put a lot of pressure on ourselves in the second set. It was a strong fight, in the second set and overall, it was a pretty good match. I am looking forward to playing on the team next season.”

At first singles, Sacred Heart senior tri-captain Grace Coale was edged in a third set super tiebreaker by Shya Krishnan. Coale, a four-year varsity player, has been a mainstay at No. 1 singles since her freshman season.

“It was a tight battle the first set, it really came down to a couple of deuce points that went my way,” Coale said. “The second set, I was a little fatigued, she had great defense and had really great angle shots, so she claimed the second set. The tiebreak was hard fought, we were neck-and-neck and she clinched it.”

Coale learned to be battle-tested playing at first singles, a spot where nearly every team has a strong player.

“This is my fourth year playing No. 1 singles and you always know to expect a competitor at No. 1 singles,” Coale said. “You always have a great match, a good fight. I love playing the role for that team.”

At second singles, senior tri-captain Ursula Vollmer put the finishing touch on a superb Tigers tennis career, edging Sam Roskind in three sets, 6-1, 5-7, 10-8.

“The first set I was playing really strong and then the second set, I started ahead, but then she started hitting to my backhand,” said Vollmer, also a mainstay in the team’s singles lineup for several seasons. “It was my most competitive match of the season and she was a really great competitor. But it came down to those last couple of points at the end of the third set tiebreaker and I’m super proud that I stuck it out and won. I’m happy with how it turned out.”

Isobel Costello of Sacred Heart, which is coached by Ed Metzendorf, was impressive at third singles, topping Jessie Bobman 7-6, (4), 6-1. The Wildcats got a win at fourth singles from Jesse Curry, who won her match against Catherine Dodman, 7-5, 6-2.

Metzendorf was impressed with the team’s steady improvement throughout the season and their performance in the final match of the season.

“It was a fitting way to end the season,” Metzendorf said. “The girls worked hard for the last two months and improved as the season progressed, especially in doubles play. So today, their hard work paid off, beating a good team in a very tight and spirited match. We preached finishing strong all season and today we displayed it. I’m very proud of the girls.”

Rye Country Day’s doubles win came at the No. 2 spot, as Anna Willmer/Maddy Leslie were victorious in a tough match against Kaitlyn Langer/Isobel Cunningham, 6-2, 6-3. At first doubles, senior tri-captain Morgan Wilkens and junior Isabel Lehrman earned another victory for the Tigers, pulling out a hard-fought 1-6, 7-5, 11-9 decision against Sofie Petricone/Ella Weinstein.

“The first set we lost 6-1, so we were a little scared to lose, but then we used a different strategy,” Lehrman said. “Coach advised us both to go back and it ended up working for us. In the second set, we won by a small margin and the tiebreaker was very nerve-wracking, because a lot of people were watching. We pulled through and ended up winning. I had such a great time in this match, I thought it was the best match of the season.”

Wilkens, who also served as a captain of the school’s volleyball team, will remember her role as one of the tennis captains.

“This season, we had a very new team, which was challenging but exciting,” Wilkens said. “It was a learning experience for myself, even as a senior captain in my fourth year as a varsity player. We came together and pulled through in the last match, which was great. I loved being able to lead my teammates and learn from my teammates just as much as I led them. It is really fun to be a captain, because I love to cheer people on and give pep talks. It’s really gratifying and rewarding to give back to my teammates, because they give me so much joy.”

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