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Mariners cruise in playoff opener

October 20, 2013

Photo: Jerry Silberman/

NARRAGANSETT—The result was worth the wait for the Narragansett girls tennis team Tuesday.
The Mariners had to wait nearly 45 minutes past their estimated 3:30 p.m. start time for their Division II Quarterfinal match with Classical but needed less than an hour to dispose of the Purple 4-0 to advance to the semifinals.
“They’re as relaxed as can be whether it’s the first match of the season or the third match of the season or the playoffs,” Narragansett coach Peter Barlow said. “It was good to win. It wasn’t a particularly good match to get them ready for Westerly because none of them were really competitive so we’re looking forward to Thursday.”
Narragansett had more or less a home match in the next round as it took on Westerly Thursday afternoon at Prout (results unavailable at press time).
“I’ve never been on the courts. My guess is some of the girls have played there but you’d always rather be just across the street than go to Lincoln or Slater,” Barlow said.
“You’ve got Westerly and Narragansett so why send us to Slater Park when there’s a facility right here so that works for everybody.”
The winner of Thursday’s showdown will play the winner of Providence Country Day and Toll Gate Saturday at Slater Park at noon for the D-II Championship.
The Mariners have come close a number of times over the past decade – falling to Classical 4-1 in the semis last season – but have not managed to break through with a finals berth.
As Barlow explains it though, this year the championship plaque is there for the taking for any of the remaining teams.
“Portsmouth was so good. I mean halfway through the season we all knew Portsmouth was going to win. Their matches were over in singles,” Barlow said of the title race last season. “Westerly and Toll Gate are obviously very good teams but no one is as good as Portsmouth was last season. I think any one of the three teams can win it.
“Toll Gate’s certainly the favorite because they’ve beaten everybody but a lot of three-set matches and our two matches with those schools were both pick’em so it’s good to get another shot at them.”
If the Mariners are going to get to the finals they are undoubtedly going to face greater resistance than they did Tuesday.
Narragansett’s No. 1 doubles team of senior Kara Heatherton and sophomore Maddie Gilbert wasted little time in securing the first point as they defeated Classical’s Rebecca Shays and Grishma Shrestha 6-1, 6-1.
Senior MacKenzie Page and junior Sarah Hoxsie got the Mariners halfway there with their 6-3, 6-0 victory at No. 3 doubles over Chanthavy Uk and Anna Guttmacher 6-3, 6-0, while Kristen Gershkoff closed out her match at No. 3 singles over Bianca Donadio 6-0, 6-2 soon after for ’Gansett’s third point.
“The doubles went according to what we thought,” Barlow said. “The surprise was Kristen’s match. …It was [6-0 and 6-2] and last time she went three sets with her.”
Junior Eily Sullivan then won the race to close out the match by beating Jessica Spindell 6-3, 6-3 at No. 2 singles.
By the time the match ended senior Marianna Sanchez was ahead in her match at No. 4 singles, while senior Olivia Scalora and the team of juniors Brooke McGreen and Ashley Kennedy had barely started their matches at No. 1 singles and No. 2 doubles, respectively.

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