MV girls tennis overpowers Fontbonne in playoff opener

Vineyarders open defense of state title with near-perfect start.

Kat Roberts (left) and Kelly Klaren were all smiles after the first round win. –Edie Prescott

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) girls tennis team started the MIAA State Division 3 tournament with a resounding 5-0 South Sectional first round win over Fontbonne Academy of Milton on a sunny, windy Friday afternoon at the Ned Fennessy Courts in Oak Bluffs.

“It’s a great start for the playoffs,” Vineyard co-head coach Nina Bramhall said after the win. “At every step this competition is going to get a little tougher and we have to be ready for that. Today was a great beginning. We’ve never played this team before. That’s the fun part about playoffs.”

The two-time defending state champion Vineyarders entered the tournament as the top seed in the South with a 15-1 record, while Fontbonne came in as the sixteenth and last seed at 9-9.

The first doubles power-duo of Lizzie Williamson and Victoria Scott were first off the court, handily beating senior pair Lauren Critelli and Shannon Connelly, 6-0, 6-0.

“It’s exciting to get back into playoffs,” Lizzie said after her match.

“It was a great way to start the playoffs, I thought it went very well and I have confidence in the rest of our team. I’m excited to keep going,” added Victoria Scott.

Kelly Klaren and Kat Roberts finished almost at the same time at second and first singles, respectively, with both winning, 6-0, 6-0. Kelly defeated junior Leila Vo and Kat topped senior Amy Chu.

“She was good, she was nice,” Kelly said of her opponent.

Kelly’s right shoulder and arm were well taped up, but she was improved after a two-week break off the courts.

“It feels a lot better, I’m glad to be back out on the court,” Kelly said.

Hannah Rabasca won her singles match 6-0, 6-1. –Edie Prescott

“Being the number one seed, we expected to have not a very competitive match but they were still good and had good points and I’m looking forward to the next one,” Kat Roberts said.

The Pogue sisters, Molly and Paige, also won 6-0, 6-0, defeating Isabelle Resil and Mawadda Jastaniah at second doubles.

“It was a fun match,” Molly Pogue said. “It was our first playoff match, so that was good,” added sister Paige.

Last off the court was Hannah Rabasca at third singles, who beat junior Ming Hun Xie, 6-0, 6-1.

“It was good,” Hannah said. “There were a couple of questionable calls, but that happens in a lot of matches and you just have to go through it. It was definitely really windy so that was an adjustment because we hadn’t played in a while [due to rain].”

“These girls have been playing since they’re little, you can tell,” Fontbonne Academy coach Michael Merritt said of the Vineyarders during the first doubles match.

“I think they have a pretty good chance of repeating,” MVRHS athletic director Mark McCarthy said after the match.

The Vineyarders host eighth-seeded Archbishop Williams of Braintree in the South Sectional quarterfinals, Tuesday at 3 pm. The Bishops (13-4) beat ninth-seeded St. John Paul II of Hyannis in the opening round.