BRISTOL – The Bristol Central girls tennis team is state touranment bound after taking home a 4-3 nail-biter over Bristol Eastern on Friday.
The Rams finish their season 6-9 to earn a postseason berth while the Lancers’ year ends with a 3-11 record. Central won two singles matches and two doubles matches in a contest that featured many close battles.
“It came down to the last match of the season and the last match of the Bristol Central [against] Bristol Eastern match,” coach Matt Wayton said. “They’ve worked hard all year, it’s a really good acccomplishment, they haven’t made states since 2015. It’s a really good accomplishment, we just made it under the wire.”
Central’s singles wins came from freshman Alex Rivera and junior Samantha Chapman. Rivera made quick work of fellow freshman Ava Gesner 6-0, 6-1 in the third singles match while Chapman bested junior Trisha Mohan similarly 6-1, 6-0 in fourth singles.
“They’re really good players, Alex and Sam, they’re going to be good players next year and I hope they can continue to develop,” Wayton said. “This was a good season for them overall, they both got a lot of wins.”
Sophomores Brooke and Alexa Rinaldi won the top doubles match with a hard-fought effort over seniors Jenna Cefaly and Ashlee Lewandoski 7-6 (0), 6-4.
“They won the tiebreaker 7-0 and we really needed that [match] to win the match too, that got us over the hump,” Wayton said.
The teams split the first six matches 3-3, make doubles match between Central juniors Hannah Krueger and Sydney LaRosa and Eastern senior Gina D’Angelo and junior Kiana Ouellette the decicive matchup and the Rams came out on top 6-2, 6-2.
Eastern won both of the top two doubles matches led by junior Brooke Treannie defeating Central junior Ava McCann 7-6 (5), 6-3. The two needed a tiebreaker to settle the first set before Treannie found better footing in the second.
“When we started, it was really close, she was great competitor, she hit some nice shots,” Treannie said. “I was really nervous to start off and I feel like once I got the hang of it I started to play like how I know I could.”
Senior Brianna Kelley notched another win for the Lancers in second singles, and closed out her high school tennis career on a high note, besting Rams’ senior Melaney Dam 6-3, 6-2.
Eastern’s final win came in second doubles where junior Olivia Dossias and freshman Adrianna Reay split the first two sets with Central juniors Elizabeth Martin and Emely Sosa 6-0, 2-6 and then won the match tiebreaker 10-7.
“We tried hard,” Eastern coach Barbara Lessard said. “Our whole goal for this year was to do self improvement. I think they all [improved]. We came out as everyone improving from where they started.”
The regular season is over for the Lancers while the Rams are off for a week before the CIAC playdowns.