Mt. Hope tennis team wins D-II state championship

White clinches D-II state championship for Huskies

Photos and story by Richard W Dionne Jr
Posted 10/29/19

Eva White, the Mt. Hope tennis team’s No. 4 singles player, came back to win in three sets and clinch the Division II state championship for the Huskies at Slater Park on Saturday afternoon.

It …

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Mt. Hope tennis team wins D-II state championship

White clinches D-II state championship for Huskies


Eva White, the Mt. Hope tennis team’s No. 4 singles player, came back to win in three sets and clinch the Division II state championship for the Huskies at Slater Park on Saturday afternoon.

It was the first win for the Huskies since winning the Division III title in 2012.

“It feels amazing,” said Huskies No. 1 singles player, Meg Dolan. “We went three years with out one. This entire season, that ’s all we’ve been building up to. It’s the biggest relief ever. I’m so proud of our team.”

The Huskies branded #OurSeason at their home tennis court.

“If you go to our tennis courts, we have the #OurSeason. The team had totally taken to it. It’s what we’ve believed and it showed today,” said Huskies head coach Geoff Keegan.

The Huskies started the match strong, earning points at 1 doubles and 3 singles to take a 2-0 point lead.

Huskies No. 1 doubles team, Ellee Kopecky and Annie Kryzwicki, were first to win their match, with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Ponaganset’s Sara Brouillard and Katie Mooney.

No. 3 singles player Sara Macedo was next off the court, with a 6-2, 6-1, win over Ponaganset’s Samantha Harkness.

Macedo, a junior, has only been playing tennis since her freshman year. She has dominated her competition.

“Sara is athletic and she works hard at the game,” said coach Keegan. “She was out there this morning at 7 a.m. hitting with her father.”

Still, the championship was in doubt for the Huskies as four of the remaining five matches had all lost their first set.

Huskies No. 1 singles player Meg Dolan lost her first set to Amelia Campanella, 3-6, and if that wasn’t dire enough, she injured her elbow in the process.

Jilly Parker the Huskies No. 2 singles player lost her match to Ponaganset’s Andolina Cipriano, 2-6, 2-6 to cut the Huskies lead to 2-1.

No. 4 singles player Eva White lost her first set badly, 1-6, to Ellyssa Tancrede and was embroiled in a battle for the second set.

“If you were a spectator, you probably thought she was down and out and there was no coming back,” coach Keegan said.

Since it was White’s 16th birthday the next day, coach Keegan told her to, “Give yourself a birthday gift, compilmentary of yourself.”

On court seven, No. 3 doubles team, Ally Picard and Olivia Vezina were in a battle with Ponaganset’s Natalie Gray and Daniella Harkness. They pulled even in the first set before losing it 5-7.

The only bright spot was No. 2 doubles team, Catherine Quesnelle and Marissa Astrologo on court six, as they won their first set against Ponaganset’s Katie Tancrede and Anneleise Curry, easily 6-2.

Back on court one, Mt. Hope assistant coach Maureen Gauthier was rubbing Dolan’s elbow. Assistant coach Tim Thorpe went over and asked Dolan if she wanted a time out, to ice it. Dolan told coach Thorpe that she wanted to play through it.

“Her elbow was killing her during the match,” coach Keegan said. “She did not let that bother her. Did not use that as an excuse. And she came back.”

She was just getting warmed up. Despite her elbow, the Huskies left-handed No. 1 singles player did what she always does, came back.

Dolan first serves began to fall. She gained control of her powerful groundstrokes, cut down on unforced errors and proceeded to run Campanella all over the court.

“Her opponent is an amazing player and she battled too,” said coach Keegan. “But Meg knows how to finish. That’s a girls who loves to be told ‘put the team on you back and rock this.’” he said.

Dolan won the second set 6-3, and dispatched Campanella in the third set 6-1, to give the Huskies a 3-1 point lead in the match.

“My teammates needed me,” said Dolan, adding, “I had to win it for them.”

Back on court seven, No. 3 doubles, Picard and Vezina won their second set 6-3, and were battling in the third set.

No. 2 doubles, Quesnelle and Astrologo lost their second set, 4-6. It seemed every time they thought they had the Chieftains beat, Ponagaset would pull the match even. Quesnelle and Astrologo went up a break in the third set, 6-5, the Huskies pair needed only to serve out for the match and the championship. But the Chieftain’s Tancrede and Curry broke serve and forced a tie-breaker.

Meanwhile on court four, White was was in a dog fight of her own. She managed to get up a break and win the second set 6-4. As she played she learned her opponent’s weaknesses and began to exploit them.

“Eva is one of the smartest mental players that we have,” coach Keegan said. “She can analyze the court like nobody else. She knew what she was looking at and she exploited her opponent’s weaknesses.”

“I started moving my feet more and being more patient,” White said. “I rallied longer and I believe that she got tired.”

On court six, It looked as though Quesnelle and Astrologo were finally going to win the match for the Huskies. The No. 2 doubles team had gone up 6-4 in the tie-breaker and needed just one more point for the win. Astrologo serving for the match, threw the ball into the air. But as she did, Play was suspended. White had beaten them to it. She had defeated Tancrede, 6-3, and clinched the championship for the Huskies.

“She played well and succeeded better than she could have ever dreamt of. That was great,” coach Keegan said.

“We know how to battle and we know how to get the job done and we did,” he said.

“This was our goal,” coach Keegan quipped, “And mission accomplished.”

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