PAWTUCKET—In a tournament setting there can only be one winner.
Well, in this case two, but semantics aside only one team could come out of the RIIL State Doubles Tournament as champions Sunday.
Unfortunately for East Greenwich – who had all three teams on the same side of bracket – the winners weren’t wearing Avengers red as North Kingstown’s Lucia Bolibruch and Grace Callahan claimed the title with their 6-4, 6-2 victory over La Salle’s Lindsay Brazenor and Kat Braganca.
EG’s No. 1 doubles team of senior Emma Falkenberry and sophomore Eleanor Fulghum came the closest to getting to the finals but were knocked out by Brazenor and Braganca 6-3, 6-1 in the semis.
“We’re a little bummed but we finished out our tournament play really well,” Falkenberry said. “We played an excellent match against La Salle, the score doesn’t reflect how we played and we played our hearts out.”
Overall it was certainly an interesting ride for the Avenger duo, who even had to eliminate their own teammates en route to the semifinals.
After surviving a tough match against Narragansett’s No. 2 doubles team of Ashley Kennedy and Brook McGreen 7-6, 7-5 the Avengers faced off against teammates Veronica Comito and Samantha Land.
“It was a close match,” Fulghum said of the opener. “It took us a while to find out rhythm but once we did we clicked and we certainly proved that we could get past that match.
“I don’t think the division reflects the individual players, especially in tennis it’s such an individual thing that you can be the best person in Division III,” Falkenberry added. “We didn’t want to underestimate any of our opponents regardless of what division they’re in.”
Comito and Land won their opening round match against North Smithfield’s Leilani Feleciano and Emily Larson 6-4, 6-1 to set up the meeting with their teammates.
As it has gone all season EG’s top doubles team retained their title, outlasting Comito and Land 6-1, 6-4 in a tight match.
“It was difficult playing our teammates because Veronica and Sam are such great players,” Falkenberry said. “We’ve been practicing with them all season long but in the end I think we just played our game.”
As for East Greenwich’s No. 3 doubles team of Romina Garakani and Brooke Fennell, they suffered a defeat against the top team in Division II in Toll Gate’s Jenn Schadd and Jackie Falso in the opening round.
Garakani and Fennell dropped the opening set 6-2, stormed back to take the second without dropping a game but ultimately fell in the third 6-4.
While the Avengers had two teams face each other in doubles and obviously two players meet for the singles title, it nearly happened a third time in the singles bracket.
Senior Heather Shen had a strong showing for herself in singles and kicked off her tournament with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Portsmouth’s Julia Harrigan and followed it up by beating Moses Brown ace Liz Kinsella 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
Shen’s end in the tournament came in the following round but not without a fight as she battled Wheeler’s Natalia Pezzuco before succumbing 6-2, 6-1. Had Shen have won she would have faced tournament champion and teammate Peri Sheinin in the next round.