SOUTH KINGSTOWN—Even narrowly missing out on the Division I playoffs couldn’t damper the South Kingstown girls tennis team’s spirits after the complete turnaround the Rebels made from a season ago.
South made its return to D-I last fall – finishing just 1-11 – and were expected to be in a similar situation for 2013.
South (5-7 D-I) defied those expectations though, and with two games to play were still in the mix for a playoff berth.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, they fell just shy as back-to-back 4-3 losses to Moses Brown and Barrington sealed their fate.
“They had a grand season,” South Kingstown coach Mary Lou Morissette said. “They were very, very pleased with the year.
“…They were ecstatic and it’s not just the tennis, it’s the camaraderie that goes with it. They went out there and tried their best.”
Last Thursday against the Eagles the deciding point came down to Natalie Meyer’s match at No. 4 singles as she dropped a highly contested battle with Monica Drimbarean 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
As for victories for the Rebels, senior Alexa Pagliaro recorded a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Emily Deslaurier, while the remaining wins came in doubles play.
SK’s top team of Meghan Blessing and Mary Matthews defeated their opponents 6-2, 6-4, while Megan Costaregni and Brianna McGrath won 4-6, 7-6, 11-9 at No. 3 doubles. Sam Rendine, Annie Madden, Zoe Pagliaro and Kathryn Jarbeau also played well in losing efforts.
While the Rebels could not sneak in as the sixth and final seed in D-I, Morissette spoke very highly of her team and what it accomplished.
She specifically highlighted her seniors – Alexa Pagliaro, Matthews and Meyer – in helping her team return to being competitive in D-I.
Losing the three players will definitely be something SK will have to account for – particularly the loss of Pagliaro – but with the bulk of the roster returning 2013 could have only been the beginning of brighter days for the Rebels.
“I don’t know what the other teams are going to be like but we’ve got some kids that are very much into the game,” Morissette said. “They’ve already said they’re going to be working indoors. We have freshmen and sophomores that are beyond their years and I expect we’ll do much better than 5-7.”