EPHS girls’ tennis team eyes improved results in 2019

Townies take fresh approach under new head coach Duquette

By Mike Rego
Posted 9/9/19

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School girls’ tennis team began its 2019 season last week with a shutout loss to host Middletown, the Townies’ second year back in the state’s …

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EPHS girls’ tennis team eyes improved results in 2019

Townies take fresh approach under new head coach Duquette

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School girls’ tennis team began its 2019 season last week with a shutout loss to host Middletown, the Townies’ second year back in the state’s middle tier of Division II and first year under the direction of new head coach Cory Duquette.

The loss may have been by a lopsided score, 7-0, but it didn’t dampen Duquette’s enthusiasm for the group . In fact, the former Rhode Island College player and current Math teacher at Martin Middle School, he was buoyed by his team’s effort and what it meant for its prospects going forward this fall.

“Unfortunately, it was 7-0, but I was very, very pleased with how the girls fought all day. They showed a lot of grit during the match,” Duquette said. “Middletown is one of the better teams in the conference. I thought our talent level was comparable to Middletown’s, which is something to feel good about.

“I think the girls were a little nervous it being the first match of the season. I know I was it being my first match as a head coach. They played a lot of 7-5 sets, some very tough, close sets. So we need to work on those important breakpoint opportunities, but that will come in time and with repetition.”

The Townies return most of the players from last year who saw the bulk of the action in what was a 2-11 season for the locals in their first year back in D-II, after being one of the better teams in Division III the previous few falls. EPHS won the D-III title in 2016 and reached the league semifinals in 2017.

Sophomore southpaw Jessica Normile, junior Raissa Luu and senior Meg Amore are back, in order, to the top three singles spots. Senior Christina-Marie Capobianco, a member of the Townies’ first doubles team last year, earned her way into the solo lineup at the four position through preseason ladder matches.

“Jess is a tricky lefty player. I find lefties are amazing to have on your roster. There aren’t many of them, so opponents aren’t used to playing against them. Jess is always eager to improve, learn more things,” said Duquette.

He continued, “Raissa is a very fast, scrappy player that hits hard. She frustrates her opponents with her speed. Meg is a very consistent player. She has a nice serve. She’s very good at problem solving during the match. And Christina has probably showed the most improvement since we started working four weeks ago or so. She earned her way into singles.”

Seniors Skyla DaSilva, who played fourth singles last fall, and Riley Mello, Capobianco’s partner a year ago, make up the No. 1 doubles team for East Providence this season. Two more seniors, Katarina Correia and Michelle Northrop, for the second tandem while varsity newcomers, senior Alison Hughett and junior Wendy Carvalho, form the No. 3 duo.

“Riley and Skyla are both very determined. They work very well together. They have a lot of fun but are very serious on the court. They know how to lift each other when the other is down,” Duquette said. “Katarina and Michelle love to have fun, which is good thing to keep things light. They’re a new partnership. They’re working very well together. I can’t wait to see them develop throughout the season. Alison and Wendy were both JV players last year. Wendy shows so much dedication and determination out there, fighting for every shot. She earned her spot on varsity and same is true for Alison. They’re still working the kinks out, but I believe they’ll be a good team for us this season.”

Though Duquette said his lineup is “pretty solid” and was likely to go unchanged at the moment, two more players, juniors Victoria Gomes and Caislin Francis, are in the mix to make spot appearances on varsity throughout the season.

“Our girls are athletes, which is very good for a coach because they all know how hard they have to work to improve,” Duquette said of his team in general. “It’s nice to see how the girls’ games are developing and with the different skills we’re working, it’s only going to make us more competitive as the season goes along. I believe the results are going to be better than last year because I know how hard they’re working. We’re still working on a lot of fitness and technical drills, and I think it will all come together in our matches.”

The Townies were slated to play just one match this week, September 10 against Classical, after their home outing with the Lincoln School was postponed to September 20. E.P. travels to Cranston East, September 17, and hosts Scituate, September 19, before playing the Lynx next Friday. All matches start at 3:30 p.m.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.