Girls Varsity Tennis
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- May 30, 2018
- FALCONS: 8
CONANT HIGH SCHOOL: 1
MANCHESTER – On most of the courts at Wednesday’s Division III girls’ tennis final, the Conant players had more power and more polished shots. But the power and polish couldn’t beat Bow’s tenacity and diligence.
The steady Falcons wore down No. 2 Conant, winning five of six singles matches and then sweeping the doubles for an 8-1 decision.
“What I coach is get every ball back. And we laugh about it because I’ll say things like, keep it in play until you can put it away, and, hit it where they ain’t,” Bow coach Jonsey Rainville said. “And they’re probably the smartest bunch of girls … they’re all scholarly kids and it’s a really basic philosophy.”
That basic philosophy, and some willing and talented players, has led the No. 1 Falcons (17-0) to two straight undefeated championship seasons. Bow has now won 35 straight matches, been to eight straight D-III final fours and six of the last eight finals, and claimed four titles in that span.
Bow was 16-0 going into the 2016 D-III final, but lost to Conant, 6-3. The Falcons lost four players from that 2016 team, but overcame that to go 18-0 last season. They lost the top three players from that 2017 team, but once again they reloaded and ran the table.
The reloading and “keep it in play” philosophy blended together on the Nos. 5 and 6 courts for Bow. That’s where juniors Lauren Goyette and Miah Munro, best friends who are also outstanding soccer players, used their athletic abilities and Rainville’s simple strategy to overcome players with a touch more skill for a pair of wins on Wednesday.
Their journey to those wins, and their part in the reloading story, began years ago.
Rainville saw them both playing varsity soccer as freshman and soon she was pulling them out of English class and recruiting them to the tennis team.
“Yes, that actually happened,” Goyette said of Rainville’s English class interruption. “I was like, ‘Who is this lady and why does she want me to play tennis?’ No, I was flattered that she was asking and that she really wanted me to play. I think it was her eagerness for me to play that really made me want to play, so I joined tennis and it was awesome.”
Goyette and Munro never played tennis before joining as freshmen, but they were ready to make the move into the top six this spring. Plus, they had each other for support.
“I felt very composed going into the top six, I always had my best friend Lauren by my side,” Munro said. “We always push each other and we like playing against each other and with each other, so with her and really with the whole team, they all helped me stay composed this year.”
Munro, Goyette and Gwen Molind, Bow’s No. 1 singles player and the lone senior on the team, all helped Bow to the 2017 D-II girls’ soccer title, the 2015 D-III crown and, in Molind’s case, the 2014 D-III title. And there’s no doubt all that varsity athletic experience, and winning, also helped on the tennis courts.
“I think that soccer really helped my mental ability,” said Goyette, who was a First Team D-II soccer pick last fall. “When I’m down I’m able to come back because I’ve built a lot of strength through soccer. I also think I just have good spots awareness. I know how to beat my opponent and how to get to her.”
All that came together on Wednesday for Munro at No. 5 (8-3 win against Sarah Smith) and Goyette at No. 6 (8-3 win against Abigail Wheeler). Both players absorbed the pace from the Orioles and returned shots until their opponents made errors.
That was the same strategy Bow junior Emma Conley used to claim an 8-1 at No. 4 over Delaney Hirsch. The Conant senior could hit with power off both sides, but Conley consistently got the ball back, shuffled her feet back to the middle and waited for the next ball. Her win, along with the two from Munro and Goyette, gave Bow a quick 3-0 lead.
Molind made it 4-0 with her 8-2 win at No. 1 against Nicci Munroe. Molind built a quick 5-0 lead with her own brand of the “keep it in play” philosophy and then held off a late push from Munroe.
When that match ended, the Orioles held leads on court Nos. 2 and 3 and looked like they were going to force drama in doubles. Lara Chern made sure that didn’t happen. The Bow sophomore erased a 7-4 deficit against Alexys Smith to claim a 9-7 win and clinch the title.
“It was a very emotional match and (Chern) is a kid who wears her heart on her sleeve … and for her to come back and win is phenomenal,” Rainville said.
With the match already decided, Conant’s Kusum Aryal finished off an 8-5 win at No. 3 against Bow freshman Olivia Parzick. Bow then swept the doubles with wins from Molind and Chern (8-3 at No. 1), Parzick and Conley (8-5 at No. 2) and Munro and Goyette (8-2 at No. 3).
“Winning a championship was a goal in our minds, but it wasn’t something we talked about every day,” Goyette said. “We have a thing we like to say – it’s just another day in the office. So it’s just get one thing done at a time and then move on to the next thing. So we didn’t have a big goal to win the championship, it was just gradual, go from one thing to the next.”
That’s a pretty simple philosophy, and that works just fine for Bow.