CANTON, May 28 – The Canton High girls tennis team returned to the Class S state tournament Saturday morning after an eight-year absence.
It was a trying experience. Playing in steamy, 90 degree temperatures at Mills Pond Recreation Area, the Warriors battled against Granby for the third time this season. Nearly three hours after it began, the two teams were still going at it.
Canton led by one point with two matches remaining. But Canton’s Sabrina Almeida and Brina Donovan outlasted Angela Copeli and Julianna Pestretto at No. 3 doubles to clinch the victory for No. 16 Canton (14-6). A few minutes later, Canton’s Lindsay Vacca completed her comeback with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Karissa Gaughan to give the Warriors a 5-2 decision.
Canton (14-6), playing in the Class S tournament for the first time since 2008, travels to face No. 1 and undefeated Stonington (14-0) on Monday, May 30 at 1 p.m.
Playing on four courts, the Warriors took an early 2-1 lead with wins from NCCC singles champion Kate Hynes at No. 1 singles and Lily Grabowski at No. 2 singles. Granby’s Karly Fisher and Julia Garndello easily won at No. 2 doubles. Granby’s Meg Daley and Liz Fetzner outlasted Canton’s Emily Miller and Morgan Vacca at No. 1 doubles in a three-set bout, 1-6, 7-6, 6-3 to tie the match at 2-2.
Canton freshman Manuela Montoya won at No. 3 singles, 6-0, 6-1 to give Canton a 3-2 lead.
The humidity was high and relentless for Almeida and Donovan at No. 3 doubles and Lindsay Vacca, who lost the first set at No. 4 singles before rallying with two wins to beat Gaughan. It was Canton’s first CIAC victory since 2007.
“They’ve accomplished much more than I dreamed or imagined they would,” Canton High coach Margaret Bristol said. “We have some real good talent on this team.”
Hynes is a sophomore with Montoya and Morgan Vacca at No. 1 doubles starting as freshmen. Lindsay Vacca at No. 4 singles is a sophomore.
“Overall, we’ve become a stronger, close knit group,” Hynes said. “(Bristol) has helped pull us together as a team. It’s been great.”
Hynes (17-3) avenged two regular season losses to Ellington’s Candance Settle in the NCCC Tournament on Thursday in Suffield. Hynes outlasted Settle in two sets, 6-4, 6-3 to win the No. 1 singles flight at the league tournament.
Grabowski finished second in the No. 2 flight in singles while Montoya was second in the No. 3 singles flight as Canton finished third overall in the league tournament. Undefeated league champion Ellington (16-0, 16-0 NCCC) outlasted Bolton, 24-16 to win the tournament. Canton was third with 14 points followed by Windsor Locks (13) and Granby (12).
Additional photos of Saturday’s match are available from our friend John Fitts of Canton Compass.
Canton 5, Granby 2
Singles: Kate Hynes (C) def. Kelly Ann Motta, 6-1, 6-4; Lily GrabowskI (C) def. Grace Hoeckle, 6-4, 6-3; Manuela Montoya (C) def. Heather Salter, 6-0, 6-1; Lindsay Vacca (C) def. Karissa Gaughan, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
Doubles: Meg Daley/Liz Fetzner (G) dec. Emily Miller/Morgan Vacca, 1-6, 7-6, 6-3; Karly Fisher/Julia Garnello (G) def. Lexi Benoff/Kayla Vanderkoffer, 6-1, 6-1; Sabrina Almeida/Brina Donovan (C) def. Angela Copeli/Julianna Pestretto, 6-3, 6-3
Records: Canton 14-6, Granby 11-8
Team results – 1. Ellington 24, 2. Bolton 16, 3. Canton 14, 4. Windsor Locks 13, 5. Granby 12
No. 1 flight: Kate Hynes, Canton, def. Candance Settle, Ellington, 6-4, 6-3
No. 2 flight: Erica Dean, Bolton def. Lillian Grabowski, Canton, 6-1, 7-5
No. 3 flight: Julia Tiedt, Ellington def. Manuel Montoya, Canton, 6-1, 6-0
No. 4 flight: Natasha Schweitzer, Windsor Locks def. Payten Walters, Ellington, 7-5, 6-2
No. 1 flight: Ashley Thomas/Erin Malley, Ellington def. Lee Snuffer/Sloane Stephens, Bolton, 6-0, 6-2
No. 2 flight: Allison Gorman/Jess Maitland, Ellington def. Karly Fisher/Julia Garnelo, Granby, 6-2, 6-1
No. 3 flight: Kaitlin Gresh/Natalie Sullivan, Ellington def. Madi Clark/Julianna Pestretto, Granby, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
2016 NCCC girls tennis standings
Ellington 18-0 18-0
Bolton 16-2 16-2
Canton 13-5 13-6
Granby 11-7 11-7
Windsor Locks 11-7 11-7
Suffield 8-10 8-12
Hartford Classical 5-13 7-13
Coventry 5-13 5-13
Enfield 2-16 2-16
East Granby 1-17 1-17