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Girls' Tennis Team Ready For Usual Tough SWC Rivals



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Girls’ Tennis Team Ready For Usual Tough SWC Rivals

By Andy Hutchison

The Newtown High School’s girls’ tennis team is back on the courts for the start of the new campaign and Head Coach Maureen Maher expects another good season out of her players — along with the solid competition from the usual top-notch rivals, Weston and Joel Barlow.

Newtown went 10-5 a year ago and was knocked off in the qualifying round of the Class L State Tournament by Westhill. The Nighthawks were second in the South-West Conference standings. Weston, which won the SWC and Class S State Tournament, again is expected to be tough. Lauralton Hall, which fell to Weston in the state semifinals, and Barlow, which reached the Class M tourney, are two more teams to circle on the schedule. The three teams combined for 41 wins a year ago.

As tough as the SWC may be, given the wealth of talent the Nighthawks possess, Maher is expecting to be in contention for a conference title.

“I want to win SWCs and shoot to bring as many players to states as possible,” the coach said.

The Nighthawks should have an idea how they stack up against the competition from the get go. The girls were slated to begin the campaign with home matches against Joel Barlow on Wednesday and Lauralton Hall on Thursday.

Newtown will have a tough stretch of three straight road matches April 23 and 28 and May 1 against Barlow and Hall in midseason rematches, and Weston, respectively.

While much seems to be the same with the top SWC teams expected to vie for the label of conference champs, the Nighthawks do have some changes to deal with.

Four players graduated: No. 1 singles player Kristine Salbu, No. 1 doubles player Jenna Moser and the No. 2 doubles tandem of Nikia McFadden and Lauren Defelice.

Returnees to the lineup includes last year’s No. 2 singles player, senior Christina Ciamarra; last year’s No. 3 player, senior captain Maxx Zimmer; and last year’s No. 4 player, sophomore Jenna Himmelfarb. Moser’s doubles partner, now senior captain Katie Serock, will likely be in the singles’ lineup, head coach Maureen Maher anticipated before the regular season got underway this week. Serock and Moser were All-State honorees a season ago. Senior captain Charlotte Matos and sophomore Erin Nemeth, a strong force as a doubles tandem a year ago, will likely be back together as a pair for this year’s competition, the coach said.

Freshmen Caitlin O’Mahoney and Meghan Loose will contend for spots in the singles lineup, the coach said. There are four other new faces on the roster: sophomores Kristen Tanner, Ashley Cech, Scarlett O’Sullivan, and Nicole Vournazos.

Maher is confident the newcomers will step up and bring depth to the lineup. The coach added that all 12 girls on the team have talent and versatility to play singles or doubles.

“They’ve all improved so much,” she said.

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