Tennis - Girls' Varsity
vs.
Deerfield Academy
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Away
Deerfield Academy
Loss 0-9
The Rhinos traveled to Deerfield today for their second match of the season. The weather was the best that we have had so far this spring with temperatures in the 70’s and little wind. The ladies competed hard and it was a great day of competition. Both teams were without a player due to college visits but Taft was also without #1 Kate Zhang and against an experienced and well coached Deerfield team, this put the ladies at a disadvantage. Determined to not let this affect them, each Rhino entered her match with an open mind and competed hard. The strongest showing for the day came from veteran member Nico Gusac who split singles sets with her opponent before dropping a super tight tiebreaker 8-10. The Deerfield ladies showed great flexibility in their style of play adjusting to all that the Rhinos threw at them and despite three matches going into tie-breaker situations, Deerfield took the overall match 9-0. At #1 doubles, co captain Regan Brewer, paired again with Maddy Meister and the two showed improvement from their first outing in our scrimmage against Hotchkiss. The ladies had exciting net points, consistent work from the back and definitive finishing shots but had too many errors to take such a close match, dropped this match 4-8. At #2 doubles, Abby Hawkins and Janse Schoonmaker paired up again fighting hard against difficult opponents. The ladies looked to maximize their opponents’ weaknesses and took many games to deuce but Deerfield took this match 8-1. At #3 doubles, Leigh Root and Lila DuPont also paired for a second time and also showed improved work together. The ladies ended up squaring off against the Deerfield #1 and #4 and so while they played well, took chances and fought hard, could not match up to the power and accuracy of their skilled opponents, dropping the match 3-8. As the doubles were playing, Lulu Bradley played one of the singles exhibition matches showing improved consistency and a nice sense of attacking play, winning this 8-5. Deerfield had the upper hand for the singles round as all but Regan Brewer were pushed up two places, but the Rhinos fought hard for each point. Pushed up from #2 to #1, Regan Brewer played with poise and attention to detail, but was no match for Deerfield’s new #1, Isha Rao, losing 0-6,0-6. At #2 Maddy Meister squared off against rival Ashley Manning who is a squash as well as tennis powerhouse. Both ladies worked their favorite slice shots to keep their opponent off balance and this was an exciting match to watch as each moved the other to many spots on the court! Ashley’s many years of experience came through as she made sure to win the key moments and she took the match 6-3, 6-3. Leigh Root showed that she is a true competitor in the #3 spot. She dropped the first set 2-6, but rebounded in the second set jumping to a 4-1 lead. Her opponent, however, regained momentum and was able to fight her way back into this set tying things up at 6-6 and then taking the tie-breaker 7-4. At # 4 Janse Schoonmaker played a great match against a very athletic opponent. Janse showed great poise and control as she looked to play consistently against a fiery opponent. Janse finished her first set as her teammates were finishing their matches! Down in this first set, Janse found her winning combinations in the final games and brought this to a tie breaker. Her opponent pulled out her big guns in key moments and was able to finish off this set with a 7-3 tie-breaker score. The ladies regrouped for their second set and Janse’s opponent seemed to build on her momentum from the first set, winning more and more points with her big guns winning this set 6-2. At #5 was the closest match of the day. Deerfield’s Victoria Waterfall took the first set comfortably against veteran Rhino Nico Gusac 6-1. Nico changed her approach to the match heading into the second set and was able to gain the lead mid set at 3-2. She held on for the 6-4 win gaining the only set for the Rhinos for the day. The ladies played at 10 point tiebreaker to determine the match. Again this was very close and Deerfield edged out Taft 10-8 to take this match. At #6 singles, Abby Hawkins played aggressively against her wily opponent but was unable to finish out any of her deuce games and dropped his match 0-6,0-6. Also during this round, Lila DuPont took to the courts for an exhibition match and she emerged victorious with an 8-5 game score. The ladies felt very good about their competition for the day and look forward to their upcoming matches this week against Loomis on Wednesday and Westover on Saturday. Record 1-1