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NARRAGANSETTâ€”The result was worth the wait for the Narragansett girls tennis team Tuesday.
The Mariners had to wait nearly 45 minutes past their estimated 3:30 p.m. start time for their Division II Quarterfinal match with Classical but needed less than an hour to dispose of the Purple 4-0 to advance to the semifinals.
â€śTheyâ€™re as relaxed as can be whether itâ€™s the first match of the season or the third match of the season or the playoffs,â€ť Narragansett coach Peter Barlow said. â€śIt was good to win. It wasnâ€™t a particularly good match to get them ready for Westerly because none of them were really competitive so weâ€™re looking forward to Thursday.â€ť
Narragansett had more or less a home match in the next round as it took on Westerly Thursday afternoon at Prout (results unavailable at press time).
â€śIâ€™ve never been on the courts. My guess is some of the girls have played there but youâ€™d always rather be just across the street than go to Lincoln or Slater,â€ť Barlow said.
â€śYouâ€™ve got Westerly and Narragansett so why send us to Slater Park when thereâ€™s a facility right here so that works for everybody.â€ť
The winner of Thursdayâ€™s showdown will play the winner of Providence Country Day and Toll Gate Saturday at Slater Park at noon for the D-II Championship.
The Mariners have come close a number of times over the past decade â€“ falling to Classical 4-1 in the semis last season â€“ but have not managed to break through with a finals berth.
As Barlow explains it though, this year the championship plaque is there for the taking for any of the remaining teams.
â€śPortsmouth was so good. I mean halfway through the season we all knew Portsmouth was going to win. Their matches were over in singles,â€ť Barlow said of the title race last season. â€śWesterly and Toll Gate are obviously very good teams but no one is as good as Portsmouth was last season. I think any one of the three teams can win it.
â€śToll Gateâ€™s certainly the favorite because theyâ€™ve beaten everybody but a lot of three-set matches and our two matches with those schools were both pickâ€™em so itâ€™s good to get another shot at them.â€ť
If the Mariners are going to get to the finals they are undoubtedly going to face greater resistance than they did Tuesday.
Narragansettâ€™s No. 1 doubles team of senior Kara Heatherton and sophomore Maddie Gilbert wasted little time in securing the first point as they defeated Classicalâ€™s Rebecca Shays and Grishma Shrestha 6-1, 6-1.
Senior MacKenzie Page and junior Sarah Hoxsie got the Mariners halfway there with their 6-3, 6-0 victory at No. 3 doubles over Chanthavy Uk and Anna Guttmacher 6-3, 6-0, while Kristen Gershkoff closed out her match at No. 3 singles over Bianca Donadio 6-0, 6-2 soon after for â€™Gansettâ€™s third point.
â€śThe doubles went according to what we thought,â€ť Barlow said. â€śThe surprise was Kristenâ€™s match. â€¦It was [6-0 and 6-2] and last time she went three sets with her.â€ť
Junior Eily Sullivan then won the race to close out the match by beating Jessica Spindell 6-3, 6-3 at No. 2 singles.
By the time the match ended senior Marianna Sanchez was ahead in her match at No. 4 singles, while senior Olivia Scalora and the team of juniors Brooke McGreen and Ashley Kennedy had barely started their matches at No. 1 singles and No. 2 doubles, respectively.