The Toll Gate tennis team lost two of its final three regular-season matches but was still confident as it headed into Tuesday’s Division II quarterfinal match against Providence Country Day. In a regular-season meeting with the Knights, the Titans prevailed 4-3.
They expected more of the same Tuesday, but didn’t get it.
The fifth-seeded Knights won three of four singles match just as they did in the regular-season meeting, but they also grabbed a doubles match – which they hadn’t done before – and that ended up being the difference in a 4-2 victory.
The fourth-seeded Titans, who went 9-3 in the regular season, headed home.
“It was kind of a shock,” said Toll Gate head coach Gary Gorman. “We didn’t expect to lose, but anything can happen at this level of tennis.”
The Titans got the early edge as Caroline Waggoner made quick work of Amalia Amburn at No. 4 singles, winning 6-4, 6-1. That match was the first to conclude, giving the Titans a 1-0 lead.
Toll Gate then made it 2-0 when the second doubles team of Jackie Falso and Rachel Deschenes topped Jess Potter and Olivia Musto 6-4, 6-3.
From there, the next three matches off the court didn’t go well for the Titans – but it wasn’t unexpected. Emma Sheridan beat Schuyler Teneyck 6-1, 6-4 at No. 2 singles and Alissa Musto beat MacKenzie Kelly 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1 singles. The next match off the board was No. 3 singles, where Julia Ransom out-lasted Arianna Rizzo 6-3, 2-6, 6-0 to give the Knights the 3-2 lead.
That No. 3 singles match was one the Titans were hoping to get. Rizzo had beaten Ransom in the regular season.
But not getting it wasn’t the end of the world – the Titans had gotten a singles point from Waggoner, and the one singles point was all they had needed in the regular-season match-up. They had won each doubles match in straight sets.
But this time, things didn’t go as planned.
Both the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles matches went to a third set. PCD had the edge in both and clinched the overall victory when Sofia Mongeon and Alanna Horton beat Chloe Underwood and Jen Schaad 7-6 (7-5), 1-6, 6-4 in the No. 1 spot.
“Going in, I figured we’d get one singles point and then count on the doubles,” Gorman said. “We won all three doubles easily the first time we played them. Yesterday was a different story. Our girls didn’t have a great day of tennis. If we played them today, the outcome might be different.”
The Titans won’t get that chance. PCD moved into the semifinals, where it will meet Portsmouth today, while the Titans were left with a frustrating ending.
Still, the season was another successful one. The Titans have now posted a winning record in five straight years.
“It was a good season,” Gorman said. “Going 9-3 is not bad.”
And the future should be bright for the Titans. While they’ll bid farewell to seniors Deschenes, Underwood, Leona Chau and Allison Dickson, everybody else will be back, including the entire singles ladder.
“Next year looks promising,” Gorman said.