Above: The 2022 EGHS Girls Tennis team took second in the state in Division 1. Submitted photo
East Greenwich may have lost 4-0 to La Salle in the Division 1 Girls Tennis state championship Nov. 5, but it was something of a victory to be there in the first place, according to Coach Marc Brocato.
“It was a heck of a run! So very proud of the girls for a season well played,” Brocato said.
“To beat LaSalle would have been a Herculean task. Any holes they may have had they filled with transfers mid season,” he said. “As a public school relying on kids from a single community, while we don’t back down from the challenge, the only way we compete or fill our own holes is in house determination and grit. We improved dramatically from Aug. 22 until Nov. 5. My kids should be proud of this season.”
LaSalle got their 4 points at 2 and 3 singles and 2 and 3 doubles (in the finals, the match is suspended once the 4th match clinching point is secured). This was La Salle’s ninth-straight state championship.
For EG, Annalee Ambler at number one singles had a great season and went into the final match with what Brocato called a “beautiful strategy” against La Salle’s number one, a player who hits a lot of high topspin lobs. “AnnaLee lost the first set 6-4 and it could have gone either way. She was still on the court battling when the match ended,” Brocato said.
Lily Shaughnessey at number two and Kyanna Lin at number three played well but lost in straight sets.
Ariana Davoudi, at number four singles, lost the first set in a tiebreak and was in the middle of the second set when the match ended.
“One doubles of Alexis Jacobs and Anna Deng played impeccable tennis, winning the first set and were on their way to winning the match when the match ended but they were still playing,” Brocato said.
Yes, they went to the match aiming for a win, but the start of the season had looked so very different.
“During tryouts, I was a little worried. I didn’t think we were at an elite D1 level,” Brocato recalled. “As a coach, you never know how the players will react to being pushed physically and, more importantly, mentally. Winning is a tradition in this program. The team, especially doubles, responded well to the drills. When I fired balls at them full speed, they became much more comfortable with the fast paced nature of division 1 tennis. They became comfortable with the heat.”
For co-captain Lily Shaughnessey, it was an amazing team this year.
“We all knew the odds weren’t always in our favor, but we upset Barrington at number two on their home court,” she said. “To make it past the semis was a huge accomplishment.”
She said the crowd support was terrific.
In the end, said Shaughnessey, “I couldn’t be more proud of how far we got and how hard these girls worked. I love this team and know they will continue to do great things.”
For Brocato, this is a team he will long remember.
“I refer to this team as my junk yard dogs,” he said. “They give everything they have. Not sure we played a match this year where at least one of my players didn’t come off the courts with a scraped knee as a result of literally diving for a ball. All heart, guts and determination.”