TIVERTON — After a tough opening match, the Tiverton girls tennis team has turned things around and by this week had run off a four-game win streak to stand at 4-1.
Not bad for a team that went winless three years ago but by last year made it to the state semifinals.
The Tigers made their Division 3 East debut this year (last year they were D-3 South) against Rogers and were beaten 6-1. The only girl to win her match was #4 singles player Courtney Toler.
Coach Lauren Marsh takes a share of the blame.
"I let my emotions get get the better of me in that one and I think that had an effect on the team. Tennis is such a mental game and you've got to stay focused."
But days later, at home against Shea, it was a much different story.
"The girls played their hearts out and won 7-0," Coach Marsh said. "We even won the exhibition."
Next at St. Raphael's, Tiverton won again but this time by a 4-3 score. Singles players led the way for the Tigers, taking all four of their matches. Coach Marsh said that Tiverton's number-one singles player Samantha Rollings inspired her teammates with gritty play. She took the first set but lost focus a bit in the second. "But she turned it around with a tough performance in the third set and had a strong finish against a good opponent."
Last Wednesday, Tiverton beat Woonsocket 7-0.
"You could see that the girls are getting comfortable with one another, pepping each other up with cheering — good luck things ... It's fun to watch.
Friday, Tiverton knocked off a tough Tolman team away 4-3 in "a real nail-biter."
All three doubles teams notched wins for Tiverton putting the pressure on for at least one singles player to win.
"Some girls don't like being told that," the coach said. But as two of the singles players were beaten, she told her #1 and #4 singles players about the situation.
"And finally it all came down too Courtney Toler at #4 singles ... who was playing a marathon. "But she came through, exhausted but happy."
Courtney won her first set 7-6 (8-6 tiebreaker); lost her second set 7-6 (8-6 tiebreaker) and won the third set 6-4. "By then they had turned on the lights it went on for so long."
The Tigers face a test this Tuesday against 4-0 (as of last Thursday) Mount Hope squad at home in Tiverton.
Tiverton's tennis ladder as of last week is — singles: