Girls tennis falls to Foxborough in battle of unbeatens

Warriors win out after marathon third singles match.

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Cali Giglio, in recent action, hits a backhand. The girls team lost a hard fought battle to Foxboro.

The MVRHS girls tennis team came up just short in a closely contested MIAA Division 2 South Sectional semifinal, Thursday afternoon at Foxborough High School.

The No. 4 Vineyarders (14-0) and No. 1 Foxborough Warriors (16-0) each came into the semifinals undefeated, and played a match worthy of their records. MV swept the two doubles matches, and Foxborough won all three singles matches.

“It was an excellent performance by our girls,” Vineyard Coach Bill Rigali said. “Foxborough was the top seed. They had two elite players at the top of their lineup.”

The best-of-five series came down to a marathon battle at third singles between MV’s Karrine Nivala and Foxborough’s Sarah Prag Fox. After 2 hours and 20 minutes of play, filled with long rallies, Prag won out 6-4, 6-4. “It was quite a match,” Rigali said. “Both players did an excellent job for their teams.”

Foxborough took a 2-0 lead with wins in the first and second singles matches. Athena Li Fox beat Hunter Tomkins 6-0, 6-0, and Pam Nelson defeated Cali Giglio 6-2, 6-0.

“They competed very well,” Coach Rigali said of Tomkins and Giglio. “They didn’t get a lot of games, but the girls played well, played long points. It’s just that their two girls were one ball better.”

The Vineyarders evened the score with a pair of straight-sets wins in the doubles matches.

First doubles Tessa Hammond and Andrea Morse topped Maggie McAuliffe and Abby Costa 6-4, 6-1, with second doubles Paige Anderson and Evelyn Brewer defeating Juliana Preston and Emily Stow Fox by the same score.

“I can’t say enough about our two doubles teams,” Coach Rigali said. “They have improved so much from the beginning [of the season] to the end, and really gelled as a team, and they got us back in the match.”

In the end, the Vineyarders finished 14-1, and look ahead to a promising season in 2022. All of the starters were selected to the Cape and Islands Atlantic Division All-Star team, and Hunter Tomkins was voted league MVP.

“Yes, we’re disappointed that we lost, but we’re very proud of how we battled,” Coach Rigali said. “We’re ready to go farther next year.”