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PAWTUCKETâNot bad for a team that by their own admission was âthrown togetherâ at the beginning of the season.
âShe was actually a singles player last year and I started playing tennis my freshman year of high school,â North Kingstown junior Grace Callahan said after she and playing partner sophomore Lucia Bolibruch captured the RIIL State Doubles Championship Sunday at Slater Park.
âWe kind of got thrown together in the mix. A lot of the partners on our team had been playing together for a few years.â
The Skippersâ top duo â who were the top seed coming into the tournament â knocked off the No. 1 team from La Salle Lindsay Brazenor and Kat Braganca 6-4, 6-2 in the finals to capture the title.
âThey were good competition,â Bolibruch said, âand I think we just came out onto this court and wanted to win.â
âWe were both hungry for it,â Callahan added, âand we wanted this weekend to be done because we wanted to have this moment hopefully.â
While the Skippers had the desire to win, that didnât mean the Rams didnât also and they played like it in the first set en route to a 4-1 lead.
âWe just got out to a slow start,â Callahan said.
After their early woes the Skippers were dominant though, as they captured the next five games to not only take the set but complete control of the match as well.
âWe just focused on what we had to do,â Bolibruch said, âand not what the other team was doing.â
While there was obviously another set still to play, the match was more or less over at that point as Bolibruch and Callahan were in complete control.
While they may not have played together prior to the start of this season Sunday, chemistry for the NK duo played a major part in their victory.
âThe chemistry was just perfect. We both work together. We know where each other is on the court, we know what weâre about to do,â Bolibruch said. âWe just work well together both mentally and physically on the court.â
It wasnât just chemistry that made the difference though, as strategy â particularly on serving with and into the wind at the blustery Slater Park courts â was equally important.
âSheâs able to spin the ball and Iâm a little bit more power so with the wind the past few days Iâve been serving into the wind and sheâs been serving with the wind,â Callahan said. âThat was definitely a strength.â
Bolibruch and Callahan advanced to the finals after their opening round opponents withdrew followed by two closely-contested victories.
They beat Mount St. Charlesâ Meaghan Dubois and Kaitlyn Gangnon 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in the quarters and Moses Brownâs Maddie Gorgi and Racy Moran 7-5, 6-3 in the semis.
North Kingstownâs No. 1 singles player, Mary Morabit, was the only other Skipper to play in the weekend tournament.
After defeating Middletownâs Sarah Bertsch 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in the opening round Morabit lost to eventual runner-up Aleksandra Drljaca of East Greenwich 6-0, 6-0.