Pats cruise to 5-0

Pilgrim girls tennis tops Central 6-1 to extend streak

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The Pilgrim tennis team continued its hot start to the 2019 season on Tuesday, cruising past visiting Central 6-1 and extending its perfect record to 5-0.

Jenna Gustafson won the top singles match 6-2, 6-0 while Samantha Sheehan took home a 6-3, 6-3 win in the second singles spot.

Alana Resendes won in the third singles spot with a 6-0, 6-0 sweep, while Abigail Vest fell in the fourth singles spot by a score of 6-0, 9-7.

Bianca Smith and Isabella De Melo won the top doubles match 6-2, 4-6, 10-4. Mia Gustafson and Maeve Malloy won in the second doubles spot 6-0, 6-0. Sarah Carter and Hailey Link won third doubles 6-1, 6-3 for the Pats.

The Pats have been perhaps the state’s top team so far this fall, topping all five opponents either 7-0 or 6-1. The team snapped a long playoff drought last year when they advanced to the Division III Semifinals after topping Rogers in the quarters.

“We are continuing on from last year, we were turn a pretty big chunk of our team. We return our top three singles players, I only had two seniors graduate last year, so the core nucleus of the team is together. It’s nice because most of them have played with each other before. Our doubles teams have played together so we can reap the benefits of continuing on from last year,” said Pilgrim coach Daniel Robinson.

Although Pilgrim is excited to jump out to a great start, their toughest portion of the schedule comes towards the end of the regular season. Robinson looks forward to seeing how his club fares against some of the other top teams in the division, and hopes that it will be playing its best come playoff time.

“We’ve been winning 7-0, 6-1, but there have been times in these first few matches that we have been in some dog fights which is good and will prepare us for the back end of our schedule when we have to face some of the top teams in the league. We’re looking to improve, winning 7-0, 6-1 is great, but getting into the close matches will really show us where we’re at this year,” said Robinson. “They have already shown that they have the resolve to fight back when they fall behind which will bode well for us at the end of the season. Hopefully by the time the end of the year rolls around and we’re playing those playoff teams we’ll be firing on all cylinders.”

The Pats already seem poised to return to the playoffs and make a deep run … and maybe even compete for a state championship.

However, Robinson and company are just focused on the task at hand, which is to win each match that comes their way.

“We’re climbing, I would never think that our team is on top. Last year was the first time they made the playoffs in a very long time, they did a good job and won their opening match and got that exposure. This year, they have a goal and they want to get to that championship match. The first set is making it to the playoffs and that’s our focus now,” said Robinson. “They know they can (win it all), but they do a good job of tempering that and taking it one step at a time, they’re very keen on who they’re playing today and not looking ahead. They do a good job of keeping themselves grounded.”

Pilgrim faced Hope on Wednesday afternoon, but the results were not available at press time.

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