BENNINGTON -- The Burr and Burton Academy girls tennis team started its season in a big way on Monday, rolling to a 7-0 win over Mount Anthony Union High School at the Rec Park in Bennington.

"The weather cooperated, it was a beautiful day to start," said BBA coach Dan Hutner. "It was nice to play a competitive team and get the rust off and see what they can do."

The BBA singles players set the tone for the match, as number one player Maddy Pagnucco topped Jessie Kuzmicki 6-0, 6-0 while Jordan Harmon repeated the score against Keara Sternberg at number two singles. At number three, Irene Matas won 6-0, 6-1 against Erica Frost.

"It was a big wake-up call to come back and play Maddy," Kuzmicki said. "She is a really good player and it was a good match.

Burr and Burton Academy s Irene Matas returns a shot in her match against Erica Frost on Monday. Matas won her match 6-0, 6-1 and helped her team to a 7-0
Burr and Burton Academy s Irene Matas returns a shot in her match against Erica Frost on Monday. Matas won her match 6-0, 6-1 and helped her team to a 7-0 team victory. (Geoff Smith photo)
It was good to play against someone as skilled as she is."

For Harmon, the match at number two was never in question, but there was still some tuning up for the junior to do.

"I was a little rusty at first, but throughout the match I got better and started focusing more," Harmon said.

At number four singles, Margaret Curtin put up a fight against BBA's Gabby Vella, but in the end Vella battled low blood sugar and the hot sun to win 6-4, 6-0.

"Margaret played really well," said her co-coach Steve Coggeshall. "She played toe-to-toe with [Vella], who is a smooth player, and experienced player. It was Margaret's first time playing singles, she was a real bright spot."

Stella Oh rounded out the singles play with a 6-2, 6-1 decision over Grace Page.


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In doubles action, the first doubles pairings of BBA's Eliza Breed and Megan Knight against MAU's Nicole Monick and Julia Parks provided the most excitement on the afternoon.

After Breed and Knight rolled to a 6-0 win in the first set, Monick and Parks buckled down in the second to take the first game, then tied the set up at 3-3 after falling behind 3-2.

In the end, though, Breed and Knight were able to take the final three games for a 6-0, 6-3 win. "I think we kind of got familiar with their weaknesses and strengths and we could work with that," said Parks. "We have never played before, so we are still getting familiar with each other and our strengths together."

For Breed, her first match with Knight went smoothly when the pair realized overconfidence can be a killer.

"I think after winning the first set we were a little overconfident," Breed said. "But we stepped it up and won. I think throughout the second half of the second set we stepped it up and finished it."

In second doubles, BBA duo Julia Campanella and Maria De Pablo topped Taylor Tobin and Samantha Green 6-1, 6-0.

The match was the first for both teams, and highlighted the two different paths the squads will take for the season.

For BBA, which comes into the season after a loss to Montpellier in the Division II finals last season, the match was a chance to try some new ideas while allowing the returning players to find their form on the court.

"We were experimenting a bit with our doubles teams, so it was nice to see them out there playing together," Hutner said. "I'll have to juggle those around in the next few matches."

And while the Bulldogs will look to find the best pairings for doubles, coach Hutner and company have a rock-solid singles lineup to help lead the side.

"It helps to have that solid singles lineup as an anchor," Hutner said. "They are rock solid, it is hard to figure out what to do to improve that. It's a really strong, old team. They have a lot of experience."

For Coggeshall, the loss was not a surprise considering the competition.

"I think this was a very good learning experience. I wasn't surprised by any of the lopsided scores," Coggeshall said. "I think we both figured that, coach [Tanya] Case and I. What is shows is that we can all improve a lot, and that is a great thing to say."

BBA is 1-0 while MAU falls to 0-1. The Bulldogs return to action on Friday with a home match against Brattleboro. MAU returns to action on Wednesday, traveling to Brattleboro.