BRISTOL - The Bristol Central girls tennis team got its revenge on Friday afternoon, defeating rival Bristol Eastern 5-2 after losing to them by the same score earlier in the season.
“I’m happy for my girls that they played well,” Bristol Central coach Rick Block said. “We got killed by them in the beginning. The Eastern-Central matches are cool that we play them at the beginning of the season and at the end because you can see the growth in the two teams.”
The Rams swept the singles matches, with one notable asterisk. The Lancers’ No. 1 singles player, Hannah Langlais, was forced to leave and seek non-emergency medical attention, which resulted in a win by forfeit for Bristol Central’s Ava Gorneault. Bristol Eastern held out hope through much of the match that Langlais would be able to return and play but it did not happen.
“[There’s] nothing you can do about that,” Bristol Eastern coach Barbara Lessard said. “You just hope Hannah’s doing fine. She would have persevered, for sure. It may have changed everybody else’s emotions or whatever but I don’t know.”
Langlais exited midway through the pre-match introductions, so the Lancers were forced to quickly recover and refocus and, while the results may not have shown it, they felt that they did.
“It definitely wasn’t the best to hear but we didn’t really let it affect us too much,” Bristol Eastern’s Gabi Reymont said. “We were all still on top of our game, trying our hardest, obviously hoping that Hannah might be able to come but we all still tried our best.”
In addition to the forfeit, Emily McAllister defeated Federica Castaldi 6-2, 7-5 at No. 2 singles; Abby Goralski took down Amy Bhagaloo 6-0, 6-2 at No. 3 and Abby Gorneault emerged victorious over Julia O’Leary 6-2, 6-4 at No. 4.
“It feels great,” McAllister said about Friday’s win. “I was getting a little tired in the second set but I came back with a 7-5 win and it just felt really great.”
The doubles side of the match was a battle for both teams. At No. 1, Bristol Eastern’s Kasey Simpson and Reymont split sets with Bristol Central’s Alex Goralski and Taylor Soucy, with the Lancers winning the first 6-4 and the Rams bouncing back to win the second 7-5. But Bristol Eastern’s duo stormed back in the third set to win it 6-1 to earn the victory.
Because the Langlais forfeit was not called until later in the match, the No. 1 doubles match kept Bristol Eastern in it but the No. 2 doubles match clinched the win for Bristol Central.
Emilie Dube and Amanda Warner earned the Rams their fourth win of the match with a three-set (7-5, 2-6, 6-1) victory over Sophie Johnsky and Kelly Simpson. After dropping the first set, Johnsky and Simpson took the second set but, like their teammates at No. 1, could not complete the comeback.
“I think it just shows determination,” McAllister said about her teammates pulling out three-set wins. “You go through two sets [and] you get tired but if you win the third set, it’s just determination.”
At No. 3 doubles, Bristol Eastern’s Alexis Waag and Allison Graham defeated Bristol Central’s Mersadez Chaleman and Kathryn Ross 7-5, 6-3 in the only doubles match to end in straight sets.
“Fight,” Block said about what he saw from his team on Friday. “At the beginning of the season, we didn’t believe in ourselves so when we would get down, that was match over. It was a done deal. Their confidence has grown with just playing in matches where they actually think they’re going to win - it’s not just me saying they’re going to win.”
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter: @K_baum30