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BARRINGTON â€” Over the last two years the Coventry tennis team has won 26 regular-season matches, two playoff matches and a Division III-West title.
Those are all superb accomplishments for a team which won just one match in 2010 and 2011.
Those accomplishments, however, donâ€™t make what happened in last yearâ€™s Division III final against Mt. Hope and Thursday eveningâ€™s Division III semifinal against those same Huskies any easier to accept.
The Division III-East champion Huskies used victories from all four of its singles players, while Coventry could only muster a victory from its talented No. 1 doubles team of Shannon Oliver and Madison Sharkey in a 4-1 defeat to the Huskies at Barrington High.
â€śThe girls wanted the rematch and they played really well. Weâ€™re close, we were almost there. Definitely next year,â€ť Coventry coach Tiffany Risch said. â€śThe amount of returning players that they have from last yearâ€™s team that beat us in the finals was tough.
â€śThey do have weaknesses and if we can pick up on those over the long run and improve I think next year will be good.â€ť
The highlight of the frustrating evening for Coventry (13-3 Division III-West) was the play of Sharkey and Oliver, who reached the state tournament this year. The juniors earned 6-2, 6-1 victory over Marisa Silva and Sarah Leger to momentarily tie the match at one.
Because the Oakers are only graduating one singles player, there is a very good chance the duo will reprise their role as Coventryâ€™s No. 1 doubles team next year.
â€śTheyâ€™re fantastic,â€™ Risch said. â€śShannon and Maddie are our dynamic duo. They play every match really hard and they work on things through out the season. Theyâ€™re going to be the doubles team to beat next season and theyâ€™re going to do well in the state tournament.â€ť
Coventryâ€™s lone senior, No. 4 singles player Briana Clift, suffered a 61-, 6-0 defeat to Mt. Hope sophomore Catherine McGee. Risch was quick to praise the work of her lone captain.
â€śShe always leads the team,â€ť Risch said. â€śHer attitude and her mentality were great. Sheâ€™s going to be missed, thatâ€™s for sure.â€ť
Junior Abby James led her first-singles match with Lauren Fletcher 4-3 in the first set, but the Husky senior won the final three games of the set and prevailed 6-4, 6-1.
Junior Brenna McKaig dropped a 6-0, 6-2 decision and the Huskies clinched the match when senior Lucy Spence defeat junior Jamie Trautman 6-4, 6-3 at No 3 singles.