Of the seven varsity girls tennis players, four are sophomores and one is a junior. With a handful of seniors graduating last year, it is safe to say the Wildcats don’t have a lot of experience.
coach Claudia Hawkes still warned her team about the school that was making its way up Route 128 to on Monday afternoon.
It is easy to play to the level of a team with less talent and experience and Hawkes made sure that didn’t happen as the Generals prevailed, 5-0.
“I told the team before the match that this was an inexperienced and young (Wilmington) team,” said Hawkes, whose team improved to 4-1. “I told (our team) that they still have to be aggressive and not play to their level. Sometimes that results in being flat-footed and not playing aggressively.”
Everyone won in straight sets with no player giving up more than four games in a set.
“Everyone kept up their game and played well,” Hawkes said.
Charlotte Horton and Bridie Thaggard, at first and second singles, respectively, breezed through their matches. Both players won 6-1, 6-0. Thaggard was especially pleased with her play, seeing she was the first off the court after normally playing longer than her teammates.
“That was the first time I was off the court first,” said Thaggard, a senior who improved her personal record to 3-2. “I was happy with the way I played.”
She decided to take advantage of her opponent’s weaker second serve by moving in. She said she also decided to mostly play to her strength – baseline play – letting the Wildcat make mistakes.
“I was letting her make the mistakes," Thaggard said. "I was trying to out-rally her.”
Thaggard led 2-0 in the first set before Kristen Tavares, a sophomore, broke through with her only win. Thaggard then reeled off 10 straight games with strong baseline play and occasional net play to come out victorious.
Horton, a junior, was also done quickly as she, too, captured the final 10 games.
“I thought our number one and two players both played very well,” Hawkes said.
Christina Belezos, normally at first doubles, moved up to third singles due to an injury to Caroline Gribell. The Generals didn’t miss a beat as she prevailed, 6-3, 6-2.
Allie Wheeler, a senior, moved up to Belezos’s spot at first doubles with senior Katherine Heffernan for a 6-1, 6-2 win, and the second doubles team of seniors Caroline Flores and Colleen Ford, up from junior varsity, overcame an early deficit of 3-2 to win 6-4, 6-1.
“This was a good chance for Colleen to play and get some experience,” said Hawkes. This was eye-opening for her even though she normally does well on junior varsity.”
Hamilton-Wenham on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at Pingree Park.