Gilford’s Charleyne Panner hits a forehand during her 8-1 win at second singles against Bow in the Division III semifinals. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
May 28, 2012GILFORD – For the second year in a row, the Gilford High School girls' tennis team saw its season come to an end at the hands of Bow.
Despite taking a 3-0 lead after three singles matches finished in their favor, the Golden Eagles couldn't hold off a Bow charge on May 25. The third-seeded Falcons won the deciding match at third doubles, 8-4, to capture a tight 5-4 win over the second-seeded Eagles in a Division III semifinal round matchup at the courts at Village Field.
"That feeling we have of being so close to the finals for the second year in a row…," began Gilford coach Hermann Defregger after the loss. "Their coach said to me before the match, 'here we are again' and it's true. I think it came down to the two best teams playing in the semifinals again."
The Eagles lost to Bow in last year's state semifinal by an identical 5-4 score, with the Falcons then moving on and winning the state title. Gilford had already beaten this year's other state finalist, Profile, via a 6-3 score.
"We knew Bow was Bow," admitted Gilford senior third singles player Olivia Broderick. "We lost to them in the semis last year. Last year I felt we didn't have as much build up going into that match. This year I felt a lot more riding on it. We thought this (match) would depend on whether we won the championship."
The match was tied 3-3 after singles play, making doubles action a best of three affair for a spot in the state finals. While Cheralynn Corsack and Charleyne Panner fell in the number one spot, 8-4, to Bow's Sunday Swett and Nisha Niak, the second doubles tandem of Broderick and Lindsey Corsack won the final four games of their match to capture an 8-3 result.
That put all eyes on third doubles, where Sarah Anderson and Emily Hanf found themselves in a back-and-forth match with Rachel Kramer and Claire McCann. The teams were on serve at 3-3 when Bow won a four-deuce game during its serve to take a 4-3 advantage. Anderson's serve was broken on another multiple deuce game however, as the Falcons took a 5-3 lead and held serve to go ahead 6-3. With the Eagles trailing 6-4, Anderson and Hanf had a chance to break back and get right back in the thick of things with double break point (15-40). But Bow won the final four points of the game, and the team broke Anderson's serve in the final game for an 8-4 match-clinching victory.
"It was so hard watching that match," said Broderick of the third doubles tilt. "I had to walk away at times. I couldn't watch some of it because it was so nerve-wracking."
Defregger said it was tough to put the fate of the entire season on the rackets of just two players.
"To say, 'now it's up to you to win the state semis,' how crazy is that?" the coach said. "All you can really say in a situation like that is to just go out there and give it what you've got."
Gilford's afternoon got off to a rather promising start, as Panner was first off the court with a commanding 8-1 win at second singles over Jess Torres. Broderick followed at third singles, as she played from behind for most of the match before pulling together down the stretch and winning the final four games for a solid 8-6 win over Niak. Lindsey Corsack made it 3-0 when she held off a late Kristie Smith charge, 8-6.
Bow won the next three singles matches however, as Swett beat Cheralynn Corsack, 8-5, while Alex Lust (8-6) and Paige Wilbur (8-4) won matches at fifth and sixth to pull the Falcons even entering doubles.
Broderick and Lindsey Corsack were the lone Eagles to win both their matches on the day. In their second doubles match, the pair led 4-1 before Bow pulled within 4-3 and appeared to have some momentum. But the Gilford duo had a quick conversation, urging each other on to an 8-4 win.
"I just said we gotta go, we gotta do this," explained Broderick. "Just don't get down about it."
Defregger was impressed with the day Broderick put together in her final tennis match at Gilford.
"I give Olivia a lot of credit today," the coach explained. "She played with (heart)."