Beginning in about a week, Newtown High School’s girls’ tennis team will focus on trying for back-to-back South-West Conference tournament championships — the team semifinals are scheduled for May 16, with the finals slated for May 20.
The Nighthawks appear to be in great shape to successfully defend their title. Newtown remains perfect in SWC play, having topped seven teams by convincing 7-0 scores. The Nighthawks carried a 12-1 overall record into their final three regular-season matches. Only FCIAC opponent Fairfield Ludlowe, which battled to a 4-3 win on May 3, has been able to solve the Hawks this spring.
In that lone defeat, three of the matches went three sets. Top singles player Caroline Kelly won her match in three, and the second doubles team of Annie Beier and Grace Winans, and No. 3 tandem of Meghan Logan and Aimee Alexander both fell in three sets. No. 2 singles player Lauren Beier and the top doubles team of Stephanie Roman and Julia Frattaroli both won in straight sets.
In a 7-0 victory over Masuk of Monroe on May 6, Kelly, Lauren Beier, Mia Terracino, and Lily Mittleman all earned singles wins. In doubles play, in addition to Roman and Frattaroli, the teams of Annie Beier and Lauren Frazzetta, and Rachel Durno and Maggie Kost all came out on top.
Newtown Coach Maureen Maher has had consistency throughout the lineup, whether it’s with regulars at the top spots or whomever she plays in the third and fourth singles and doubles positions. Some players have competed in singles and doubles matches on given days.
“Everybody’s stepped up. They’ve done a great job whether they’re playing doubles or singles,” Maher said. “We’re doing great. We’re doing really well.”
Despite the loss to Ludlowe, the coach hopes will the match will prove to be valuable come the postseason. “It was a great match,” she said. “That’s why we play them. They’re always a really good team. The competition is good for us — it makes us stronger.”
Newtown actually appears to have gotten stronger on its own, since last year’s title run. Although a few players elected not to return to the squad, there were no seniors a year ago, and Maher’s top players all came back. What’s more, freshman Lauren Beier has played consistently at second singles.
The remaining three matches, against Pomperaug of Southbury, Lauralton Hall of Milford, and Weston, a team Newtown already defeated by a 5-2 count, should be pretty tough tests, Maher anticipates. But the coach believes that her team can continue to win and carry its momentum right on through the SWC tourney. “We have a very good shot at SWCs,” Maher said.
After the SWC individual tourney, May 22 and 23, comes the state bracket. Last spring, Newtown was the fourth seed, and got all the way to the semifinals of the Class L bracket before falling 4-3 to top-seeded Greenwich. Maher isn’t putting it past her squad to capture a state crown this time around.
“I think we’re going to be a contender for states. Our lineup is very strong,” she said.