BEACON FALLS — The Woodland girls tennis team came up on the short end of a 4-3 final margin to Watertown on Monday.
The Hawks (9-5) had beaten the Indians (11-2) earlier in the season but Watertown took all four singles matches to put the match away.
“That was a tough match,” Woodland head coach Mike Magas said. “When we beat them earlier in the season they had one of their singles players out. That wasn’t the case on Monday, and we had a battle on our hands. I told the girls coming into the season that we had a huge target on our backs after winning the NVL title in two of the last three years.”
On Monday, Hawks No. 1 singles player senior Meg Wester, with an 11-2 record for the season, was beaten by the Indians’ Kelly Lewis by an 8-2 margin.
Senior No. 2 player Lauren Tremaglio, with eight wins on the season, lost an 8-4 decision to the Indians’ Gabby Rinaldi. And No. 3 singles, senior Nicole Nelson, who has racked up five wins on the season, was in a grueling match with Watertown’s Alyssa Mucciaro but came up short by an 8-5 margin.
Watertown took a decisive, 4-0 lead in the match when No. 4 singles player Lindsey Parenteau outlasted Hawks freshman Julia Lawton by an 8-4 count.
“Julia has been one of the surprises for us this season,” Magas said. “She earned a spot midway through the first half of the season and has been a tremendous addition to the lineup. Another freshman Rachel Mariano has been rock solid playing in the No. 3 doubles slot.”
The doubles are a strength of this team as the No.1 doubles tandem of seniors Angela Vallillo and Avery Gartman, who are 9-4 on the season, easily got by the Indians’ Megan LaPorta and Emily Smith by a convincing 8-2 final margin.
The No. 2 doubles team of seniors Brooke Dragon and Eileen Hurley, who are 8-3 on the season, gutted out a down-to-the-wire battle with the Indians’ Kelly Marcal and Miranda Sqillacel and took a 9-8 victory.
Sophomore Liz Martin teamed up with freshman Rachel Mariano and throttled Watertown’s Taylor Burgyn and Liz Mendes by an 8-1 count at No. 3 doubles.
Magas isn’t worried about the potential of his team, which won the Naugatuck Valley League championship last year and was 22-1 overall.
“We have some talent on this team, there is no doubt about that,” Magas said. “Wester is a returning All-NVL singles player and Vallillo and Gartman are a returning All-NVL doubles team.”
The end of the season will be a race for the Hawks to try to finish in the top four of the league to gain a better position for the NVL team tournament.
“We have three matches left and we are trying to win all three,” Magas said. “There are four teams in the hunt for the fourth spot in the upcoming NVL tournament and we very much want to defend our title. St. Paul has outstanding singles players and Watertown and Naugatuck are right up there. We need these last three matches to wrap up the number four spot.
“You certainly don’t want to go into the tournament as one of the bottom eight teams,” he continued. “We need to stay positive and play to the best of our ability.”
Woodland was set to face Crosby and Wolcott this week and will conclude the regular season Tuesday against Seymour, one of three teams that has defeated the Hawks this season by a slim, 4-3 margin.