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SOUTH KINGSTOWNâ€”Even narrowly missing out on the Division I playoffs couldnâ€™t damper the South Kingstown girls tennis teamâ€™s spirits after the complete turnaround the Rebels made from a season ago.
South made its return to D-I last fall â€“ finishing just 1-11 â€“ and were expected to be in a similar situation for 2013.
South (5-7 D-I) defied those expectations though, and with two games to play were still in the mix for a playoff berth.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, they fell just shy as back-to-back 4-3 losses to Moses Brown and Barrington sealed their fate.
â€śThey had a grand season,â€ť South Kingstown coach Mary Lou Morissette said. â€śThey were very, very pleased with the year.
â€śâ€¦They were ecstatic and itâ€™s not just the tennis, itâ€™s the camaraderie that goes with it. They went out there and tried their best.â€ť
Last Thursday against the Eagles the deciding point came down to Natalie Meyerâ€™s match at No. 4 singles as she dropped a highly contested battle with Monica Drimbarean 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
As for victories for the Rebels, senior Alexa Pagliaro recorded a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Emily Deslaurier, while the remaining wins came in doubles play.
SKâ€™s top team of Meghan Blessing and Mary Matthews defeated their opponents 6-2, 6-4, while Megan Costaregni and Brianna McGrath won 4-6, 7-6, 11-9 at No. 3 doubles. Sam Rendine, Annie Madden, Zoe Pagliaro and Kathryn Jarbeau also played well in losing efforts.
While the Rebels could not sneak in as the sixth and final seed in D-I, Morissette spoke very highly of her team and what it accomplished.
She specifically highlighted her seniors â€“ Alexa Pagliaro, Matthews and Meyer â€“ in helping her team return to being competitive in D-I.
Losing the three players will definitely be something SK will have to account for â€“ particularly the loss of Pagliaro â€“ but with the bulk of the roster returning 2013 could have only been the beginning of brighter days for the Rebels.
â€śI donâ€™t know what the other teams are going to be like but weâ€™ve got some kids that are very much into the game,â€ť Morissette said. â€śTheyâ€™ve already said theyâ€™re going to be working indoors. We have freshmen and sophomores that are beyond their years and I expect weâ€™ll do much better than 5-7.â€ť