Brattleboro's Aidan Earley fell to Maddy Pagnucco, 6-1, 6-0, in No. 1 singles. The tall, slender Pagnucco played close to the net and made overhand volleys, using her height as an advantage. She took a 3-0 lead in the first set before Earley began to fight back.
On the next court, Burr and Burton's Jordan Harmon handled Libby Annis in second singles, though the Brattleboro athlete held strong as the two were physically similar in build and strength. During much of the match, Annis and Harmon drew each other out to the front to challenge. Harmon's speed was the determining factor to decide the 6-1, 6-0 final.
Opposite Earley's match was teammate and newcomer this year, Halie Lange. Lange faced BBA's Gabi Hasaj and lost, 6-0, 6-3. Lange demonstrated great ball control and sliced a few shots over the net just out of reach of her opponent. Hasaj fired her shots back with precision to keep Lange on her toes.
In No. 4 singles, BBA's Gabby Vella defeated the Colonels' Katie Tsukamoto, 6-2, 6-1. Tsukamoto battled back from a 4-0 BBA lead in the second set, but Vella maintained her composure, not letting her emotions get in the way, to finish. A few of Vella's shots looked like they were going out, but Tsukamoto kept them in play.
"Tsukamoto and Lange each played tight singles matches", said Brattleboro coach Tom Weber.
Stella Oh backed Brattleboro's Aliza Racine into a corner to take a 6-0, 6-1 win. Oh stayed on top of Racine, making her chase after the ball while being pushed to the baseline. Racine had some solid returns but it was apparent that Oh had the experience with her agility.
BBA's No. 1 doubles team of Monica Mas Mir and Julia Campanella defeated Jenn Hutton and Anna Kerlin-Smith 6-1, 6-0. Brattleboro had a few nice points, but Mia Mir's stature enabled her to reach over to get off some hard volleys. She had decent serves as well, and Campanella provided relief on the return. Hutton and Kerlin-Smith's communication broke down towards the end of the match.
Following the first doubles match, BBA's Eliza Breed and Kitt Sikes took on Brattleboro's Linnea Jahn and Kara Piergentili in No. 2 doubles. After each game, the two teams got their heads together to go over some strategy before approaching their coaches. The teams played to a 7-6, 7-6 final and the Bulldogs squeaked out the win.
"The Brattleboro team played well today," said Burr and Burton coach Dan Hutner, as he watched the last doubles match. "They played well at net so it forced my girls to hit nice shots. We didn't have the best strokes, but we had decent strategy."
Breed covered the net most of the time, but had trouble communicating with Sikes when the ball got past her. This allowed Piergentili to challenge and tap over a few almost unreachable volleys herself. Then Brattleboro began placing their shots in the corners. The match was especially intense toward the end of the first set heading into the second.
"Breed and Sikes are good friends, so that helps," said Hutner.
"We let them get away a little bit," noted Weber. "We knew what we were in for, but the girls fought hard."
David Aquino can be reached at email@example.com, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 164.