PAWTUCKET—Not bad for a team that by their own admission was ‘thrown together’ at the beginning of the season.
“She was actually a singles player last year and I started playing tennis my freshman year of high school,” North Kingstown junior Grace Callahan said after she and playing partner sophomore Lucia Bolibruch captured the RIIL State Doubles Championship Sunday at Slater Park.
“We kind of got thrown together in the mix. A lot of the partners on our team had been playing together for a few years.”
The Skippers’ top duo – who were the top seed coming into the tournament – knocked off the No. 1 team from La Salle Lindsay Brazenor and Kat Braganca 6-4, 6-2 in the finals to capture the title.
“They were good competition,” Bolibruch said, “and I think we just came out onto this court and wanted to win.”
“We were both hungry for it,” Callahan added, “and we wanted this weekend to be done because we wanted to have this moment hopefully.”
While the Skippers had the desire to win, that didn’t mean the Rams didn’t also and they played like it in the first set en route to a 4-1 lead.
“We just got out to a slow start,” Callahan said.
After their early woes the Skippers were dominant though, as they captured the next five games to not only take the set but complete control of the match as well.
“We just focused on what we had to do,” Bolibruch said, “and not what the other team was doing.”
While there was obviously another set still to play, the match was more or less over at that point as Bolibruch and Callahan were in complete control.
While they may not have played together prior to the start of this season Sunday, chemistry for the NK duo played a major part in their victory.
“The chemistry was just perfect. We both work together. We know where each other is on the court, we know what we’re about to do,” Bolibruch said. “We just work well together both mentally and physically on the court.”
It wasn’t just chemistry that made the difference though, as strategy – particularly on serving with and into the wind at the blustery Slater Park courts – was equally important.
“She’s able to spin the ball and I’m a little bit more power so with the wind the past few days I’ve been serving into the wind and she’s been serving with the wind,” Callahan said. “That was definitely a strength.”
Bolibruch and Callahan advanced to the finals after their opening round opponents withdrew followed by two closely-contested victories.
They beat Mount St. Charles’ Meaghan Dubois and Kaitlyn Gangnon 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in the quarters and Moses Brown’s Maddie Gorgi and Racy Moran 7-5, 6-3 in the semis.
North Kingstown’s No. 1 singles player, Mary Morabit, was the only other Skipper to play in the weekend tournament.
After defeating Middletown’s Sarah Bertsch 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in the opening round Morabit lost to eventual runner-up Aleksandra Drljaca of East Greenwich 6-0, 6-0.