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PAWTUCKET â After an 11-1 season in 2012, the East Greenwich High School girls tennis team was on track to reach the finals in their first year in Division I. Despite their superiority on paper, however, the Avengers were caught sleeping in the semis and upset by a Mount St. Charles team they had beaten earlier in the season.
Coming off a quarterfinals bye to start the 2013 postseason, the Avengers were favored once again as they returned to Slater Park last Thursday, entering the tournament as the divisionâs top seed. This time around, however, there was no letdown as East easily handled fourth seeded Smithfield, 4-0.
âI think we learned our lesson,â Brocato said. âIt was a pretty dominating performance overall. I was happy to see them shake off the nerves a little bit. Obviously those things are going to be a little bit natural, but they performed beautifully and they played very well. It was great.â
As to be expected, fresh off their date in the RIIL individual championship finals just four days prior, No. 1 and 2 singles players Aleksandra Drljaca and Peri Sheinin came out and quickly set the tone for the Avengers. Drljaca led the charge with a punishing 6-0, 6-0 win over Evelyn Miller, while Sheinin brought in Eastâs second point with a 6-3, 6-1 victory.
Samantha Land and Veronica Comito then put East Greenwich on the verge of a trip to the finals when they grabbed the Avengersâ third point with their 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 2 doubles against Smithfieldâs Georgia King and Shannon Frontier.
Catherine Karbasiafshar, the only EG singles player who lost when the Avengers and Sentinels met in the regular season, found redemption for her earlier 6-4, 6-4 loss to Julianna Romeo with a route of the Smithfield senior, winning 6-3, 6-0, punching Eastâs ticket to the championship match on Saturday.
Three matches were still in progress when Karbasiafshar netted Eastâs fourth point and play was suspended.
And in case their four wins were not enough, the Avengers were on their way to three more as Heather Shen at No. 3 singles, Emma Falkenberry and Eleanor Fulghum at No. 1 Doubles and Romina Garakani and Brooke Fennell at No. 3 doubles had all won their first set and were leading in the second when the match was called. The win kept the undefeated season alive and put the Avengersâ just one win away from their first Division I team title in the schoolâs history.
âThatâs one of those things we kind of stress, the âone match at a timeâ mentality, try not to overlook some things,â Brocato said, âbut in the back of our minds I think [reaching the finals is] something weâve been setting a goal for all season long.
âItâs nice to see the kids have met their initial goal. Letâs see if we can finalize it on Saturday.â