All three Bristol girls tennis teams qualified for their respective state tournaments, but each of them was knocked out after their first matches on Saturday.
With the No. 16 seed in the Class S tournament, Bristol Central faced No. 17-ranked Newtown and the match came down to the wire. The Rams won three of the singles matches - No. 2, 3 and 4 - and the Indians claimed No. 1 singles and No 1 and 2 doubles. The two teams’ fates were decided by the No. 3 doubles match, which ended in a three-set win for Newtown.
Emily McAllister (6-2, 6-0), Abby Goralski (6-1, 6-2) and Abby Gorneault (6-1, 6-2) earned the three wins for Bristol Central.
While the Rams did not win the match, all four Bristol Central singles players earned all-conference honors, with top player Ava Gorneault joining McAllister, Goralski and Gorneault. They combined for a 14-2 conference record.
Saturday’s match was the final team contest in the four-year varsity careers of Ava Gorneault and McAllister at Bristol Central.
“They mean so much to the Bristol Central girls tennis program,” Rams coach Rick Block said. “Both of them, along with junior captain Abby Goralski, helped create the winning culture within the girls tennis team. I’m the luckiest coach on earth to have them. All three are great role models for the younger girls on and off the court.”
St. Paul was the heavy favorite on paper entering Saturday’s match, facing the No. 21-seed Rocky Hill as the Class S tournament’s No. 5 seed, but the Terriers pulled off the 4-3 upset of the Falcons. St. Paul is one year removed from winning three matches in the tournament.
Seniors Natasha Kempes, Sophia Penisse, Mariah Fiscella and Lyndsey Martin have only the State Open individual tournament left in their high school careers. Kempes, Fiscella, Caroline Badal and Victoria Kilbourne each earned All-NVL honors this season. Kempes added a second-place finish as the NVL Individual Tournament and was presented with the Fossbender Award for the most outstanding player in the NVL this season.
Bristol Eastern earned the 24th and final spot in the Class L tournament but lost 7-0 to No. 9-ranked Amity. Second singles player Federica Castaldi was the only play to win a game for the Lancers on Saturday, falling 6-1, 6-1 to the Spartans’ Sarah Bullers.
Singles players Hannah Langlais and Federica Castaldi and doubles partners Gabby Reymont and Alivia Castle played in their last team match with Eastern, as they will be graduating next month.