The Vineyarder girls tennis team faced a unique challenge in its match against Sandwich High School, Wednesday afternoon at the Ned Fennessy courts in Oak Bluffs. Both teams came into the contest unbeaten at 4-0, but the Blue Knights, unable to field a full boys team this season, came to the Island with three boys playing on the girls team.
When all was said and done, it was business as usual for the Vineyarders, who rolled to a 5-0 win, their fourth shutout in five attempts.
Freshman No. 1 singles player Hunter Tomkins got MV off and running with a 6-1, 6-1, win over Sandwich junior Charles Gurner. Moments later, No. 2 singles sophomore Cali Giglio put the Purple up 2-0, overcoming an early 0-2 deficit in the first set to beat eighth grader Andrew Emeu 6-2, 6-0.
The Vineyarders clinched the best-of-five series after second doubles Paige Anderson and Evelyn Brewer defeated Yona Forant and Grace Ruthera 6-0, 6-0. First doubles Tessa Hammond and Andrea Morse made it 4-for-4 after topping Emily Lopes and Kaitlin Landry 6-1, 6-0.
The best match proved to be at No. 3 singles between Vineyard junior Karrine Nivala and Sandwich sophomore Pablo Gonzalez. Nivala took the first set, 6-2, and won a seesaw battle in the second, 6-4, to complete the Vineyard sweep.
For Vineyard Coach Bill Rigali, focusing on quality tennis is the only thing that matters. “The girls played well, the singles matches and the doubles matches,” he said. “The girls who were up against the boys did a good job in just focusing on tennis, and not on boys against girls. That comes with their training and what they’ve been taught on how to play tennis. I told them yesterday, ‘When the ball comes over the net, it’s not going to say “boy” or “girl,” it’s usually like “Wilson,” “Dunlop,” or “Penn” on it, or something like that.’ It’s all about tennis. It’s always about tennis. People who gain the best results are the ones who just focus on the ball and their strokes and their development, not on everything else. Great compliments to our girls today. They did a great job.”
The Vineyarders are back on the home courts versus Barnstable, Friday at 3 pm.