BARRINGTON — Over the last two years the Coventry tennis team has won 26 regular-season matches, two playoff matches and a Division III-West title.
Those are all superb accomplishments for a team which won just one match in 2010 and 2011.
Those accomplishments, however, don’t make what happened in last year’s Division III final against Mt. Hope and Thursday evening’s Division III semifinal against those same Huskies any easier to accept.
The Division III-East champion Huskies used victories from all four of its singles players, while Coventry could only muster a victory from its talented No. 1 doubles team of Shannon Oliver and Madison Sharkey in a 4-1 defeat to the Huskies at Barrington High.
“The girls wanted the rematch and they played really well. We’re close, we were almost there. Definitely next year,” Coventry coach Tiffany Risch said. “The amount of returning players that they have from last year’s team that beat us in the finals was tough.
“They do have weaknesses and if we can pick up on those over the long run and improve I think next year will be good.”
The highlight of the frustrating evening for Coventry (13-3 Division III-West) was the play of Sharkey and Oliver, who reached the state tournament this year. The juniors earned 6-2, 6-1 victory over Marisa Silva and Sarah Leger to momentarily tie the match at one.
Because the Oakers are only graduating one singles player, there is a very good chance the duo will reprise their role as Coventry’s No. 1 doubles team next year.
“They’re fantastic,’ Risch said. “Shannon and Maddie are our dynamic duo. They play every match really hard and they work on things through out the season. They’re going to be the doubles team to beat next season and they’re going to do well in the state tournament.”
Coventry’s lone senior, No. 4 singles player Briana Clift, suffered a 61-, 6-0 defeat to Mt. Hope sophomore Catherine McGee. Risch was quick to praise the work of her lone captain.
“She always leads the team,” Risch said. “Her attitude and her mentality were great. She’s going to be missed, that’s for sure.”
Junior Abby James led her first-singles match with Lauren Fletcher 4-3 in the first set, but the Husky senior won the final three games of the set and prevailed 6-4, 6-1.
Junior Brenna McKaig dropped a 6-0, 6-2 decision and the Huskies clinched the match when senior Lucy Spence defeat junior Jamie Trautman 6-4, 6-3 at No 3 singles.