AVON, June 2, 2021 – It took a team effort for the Avon High girls tennis team to earn a spot in the Class L championship match Wednesday.
Visiting North Haven won at No. 1 singles and No. 2 singles to take an early lead but Avon picked up victories at No. 3 and No. 4 singles and two wins in doubles to edge North Haven, 4-3 and earn their first berth in the championship final since 2011.
Avon (14-3) will face top-seeded Hand-Madison (17-2) in Thursday’s final beginning at noon at East Hartford Tennis Club. The Falcons will be making their fifth appearance in a state final but their first appearance in the Class L final.
There are times when a team takes the top two singles matches, it can build momentum toward a victory. North Haven’s Ally Vallero outlasted Avon’s Kerry Karlin in a long three-set match at No. 1 singles.
Vallero had a solid 6-3 win in the first set before Karlin tied the match by winning the tiebreaker to capture the second set, 7-6. But Vallero was able to earn a 7-5 victory in the third set for the win. The visiting Indians had a 2-0 lead after Taylor Morris’ straight set win over Avon’s Delia Hogan at No. 2 singles, 6-2, 6-2.
Wins for Avon at No. 3 and No. 4 singles stopped any North Haven momentum from building. At No. 3 singles, Avon’s Tanvi Arora had a 6-1, 6-0 win over Risa Tobin and at No. 4 singles freshman Tanvi Raman beat Chandler Morris, 6-0, 6-2.
Avon’s Sam and Nan Senthil earned a straight set victory at No. 2 doubles while North Haven’s Zeema Mohamed and Noelle Cararody lost just three games in a straight set win.
It came down to the top doubles teams. North Haven’s Megan Kell and Nadia Karagel earned a 6-4 win over Avon’s Kelli Raines and Tanisha Gupta in the first set. But Raines and Gupta settled down and dominated the final two sets to earn the victory and help send the Falcons to the state finals.
Avon will be looking for their first state championship since 1986 when they shared a title with New Fairfield. In those days, teams earned points for their victories in singles and doubles.
The team championship in girls tennis has been decided by a dual meet tournament since 1989. Since that time, Avon has played in four state finals and lost them all. They fell to Joel Barlow in the Class S finals in 1992 and 1995 and to New Canaan (2004) and Hand (2011) in the Class M finals.
Avon 4, North Haven 3
Singles: Ally Vallero (NH) def. Kerry Karlin, 6-3, 6-7, 7-5;; Taylor Morris (NH) def. Delia Hogan, 6-2, 6-2; Tanvi Arora (A) def. Risa Tobin, 6-1, 6-0; Tanvi Raman (A) def. Chandler Morris, 6-0, 6-2
Doubles: Kelli Raines and Tanisha Gupta (A) def. Megan Kell and Nadia Karagel, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1; Sam and Nan Senthil (A) def. Sophia Delvecchio and Kaitlyn Ha, 6-2, 6-2; Zeema Mohamed and Noelle Cararody (NH) def. Allison Massih and Adele Oprica, 6-2, 6-1
Records: Avon 14-3, North Haven 12-8