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After Exceeding Expectations, Girls Tennis Season Comes to an End

The Generals girls' tennis season was considered a success after losing in the sectional semifinals on Wednesday.

The girls tennis team exceeded their season goal before the season came to an abrupt end Wednesday afternoon in Bedford.

The team that surprised some by knocking off two teams by 5-0 scores in the Div. 3 North Sectionals – including top seed Bishop Fenwick – was dealt the same fate by the No. 3 Bedford Buccaneers in the semifinals.

Despite the 5-0 loss – which included 6-0, 6-0 scores in both doubles matches (Christina Belazos and Katharine Heffernan at No. 1; Caroline Flores and Allie Whelan at No. 2) – the fourth-seeded Generals have nothing to be ashamed of, according to coach Claudia Hawkes.

“I think they are pretty happy with what they did. They’ll look back and say it was pretty cool to get to the states and to the semifinals,” said Hawkes. “A goal of ours is to get to the states and we surpassed that (by making it to the semifinals).”

Bedford, in the strong Dual County League, had beaten Notre Dame Academy, 5-0, and Weston, 4-1, the 12th and 13th seeds, respectively, to set up the match against Hamilton-Wenham.

Senior Bridie Thaggard, the No. 2 singles player for Hamilton-Wenham, felt her team’s season was a success.

“That’s the furthest we’ve ever gone,” said Thaggard of her four years at Hamilton-Wenham. “I am very happy (with the season) because we deserved it.

“We really worked hard in the playoffs and we played our best.”

Thaggard fell 6-0, 6-1.

Bedford also ousted the Generals last year, in the first round.

The closest Hamilton-Wenham got to winning a match was at No. 3 singles, where freshman Caroline Gribbell fell to Hannah Mardini, who was celebrating her 16th birthday, 7-5, 6-4.

Gribbell, who had missed time this year with injuries, showed no ill effects. She was running baseline to baseline and often went to the net to win points.

In the first set, she won three straight games to take a 5-4 lead, including staving off two aces to give her opponent an ad in edge. But a double fault and a winner by Gribbell gave her the game.

However, Mardini then won the next three games to take the first set.

In the second set Gribbell had a 3-2 advantage only to lose four of the last five games.

“Caroline battled here. It’s not like it was a walk-over,” Hawkes said. “She is a freshman and inexperienced, but she is a very good athlete and does all sports she plays in well. She never gives up.”

First singles Charlotte Horton droped a 6-3, 6-2 decision to Sydney Arsenault, in a match that was closer than the score indicated.

“Charlotte gave her a good match,” Hawkes said.

The future is bright for the Generals, who will see Horton and Gribbell back at singles, as well as the doubles team of Whelan and Flores.

“Being in the semis of states was icing on the cake,” Hawkes said.

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