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Season to remember for Lady Panthers

MA girls' tennis reaches postseason for first time

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Megan Wallace and the MA girls’ tennis team reached the postseason for the first time in program history this spring. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
June 11, 2012
MOULTONBORO – It was a historic season for the Moultonboro Academy girls' tennis team, as the Lady Panthers finished 9-6 and qualified for the Division III postseason for the first time in program history before falling to eventual state runner-up Bow in the quarterfinals.

"This year was the best record ever and first playoff appearance for the girls program, besting last year's 7-6 season," said MA coach Jere Burrows. "This was a very dynamic group of players who improved all year long and had a very good attitude as well. Everyone…parents, coaches and school personnel were very proud of their season."

Senior Amanda Hayden went 9-5 for the Lady Panthers in the first singles spot after playing their last year as well. Hayden qualified for the state individual singles tournament, winning her first round match via a default before falling to losing to an eventual semifinalist in the Round of 16.

"She just played consistently well all season long," said Burrows of Hayden, his lone senior in the starting lineup. "We lose Amanda (for next year) who was the team's captain and sort of spiritual leader. She gave the rest of the team members a terrific attitude and positive approach all year long."

Angela Yeo was a steady performer in the second singles spot for MA, as she found herself in the middle of quite a few close calls during the year to ultimately finish with a 9-5 record in singles play between the second and third spots of the lineup.

"She had many long matches with long rallies on lots of her points," recalled Burrows.

Junior Lexi Welch found a nice home at third singles for the Panthers, working her way up after seeing time in the sixth singles spot last year as a sophomore.

"She has developed the best ground strokes on the team and worked very hard at how to construct winning shots and strategies," Burrows said of Welch.

Sophomore Ally Lively was the team's fourth singles player, and Burrows was impressed with the improvements he saw from her during her first season in the MA lineup.

"She had many close matches throughout the season and she got stronger in all her strokes and confidence as the year went along," the coach said.

Perhaps the most consistent performer in the entire MA lineup this spring was fifth singles player Megan Wallace. With a dazzling 13-2 record including a playoff win against Bow, a Wallace win became almost an expectation each time the Panthers hit the court.

"She had probably the best season ever at any position," Burrows said of Wallace. "Her serving was amazing all year long."

Jenn Lively rounded out the top six for MA, as she compiled an impressive 7-3 record over the course of the season, developing more and more confidence as the spring unfolded.

Three other players saw action for MA this spring, as Grace Hoefs (2-0 record), Sophea Sindorf (2-1) and Ronnie Diltz (1-1) all picked up wins off the bench for the Panthers in their big season.

With so many exciting moments to choose from this season, Burrows pointed to the two matches with Lakes Region foe Gilford as most memorable. The Golden Eagles reached the semifinals of the D-III tournament, but MA handed them one of just two regular season losses thanks to a 6-3 win in April. Gilford won the rematch however.

"The two Gilford matches were a great test for the girls," said Burrows. "I think the win gave them some real confidence throughout the season."

With this spring now officially in the books, the future is bright for the Panthers as they return the majority of their starters with hopes of returning to the postseason for the second consecutive season.

"Next year the team should be even stronger with more players waiting in line to challenge for a spot on the ladder," Burrows said. "They will be a fun group to work with."

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