It’s that time of year again.
The time of year when the Foxboro High girls’ tennis program tends to put together their most complete effort with all sights set on getting back to the South Sectional finals like they have done so many times prior.
Their run started Tuesday.
The No. 5-seeded Warriors took four matches in straight sets, losing a combine seven games in their singles rotation, in claiming a 4-1 victory over No. 12 Holliston in the first round of the Division 2 South Sectional Tournament.
Sophomore Pam Nelson took a dominant straight-set victory at No. 1 singles while unbeaten senior Julia Muise (15-0) took her match by identical 6-1, 6-1 verdicts at No. 3 singles.
“I think I played consistently,” said Nelson, who has compiled a 16-2 record at No. 1 singles this spring, winning 12 matches without losing a game.
“I made the other girl run side to side until she made a mistake,” Nelson added of her blend of forehand and backhand shots getting the best of Holliston’s Abai O’Neill on the end line. “That’s generally how I play.”
Muise overcame a one-game deficit in the second set before winning each of the last six games. She won the final four of the first set as well.
Having secured each of the first two points in the match, the Warriors claimed the decisive third behind the No. 1 doubles team of Kendall Milender and Paige Krockta. The duo overcame a 5-4 deficit in the first set to pull out a 7-6 win in the first-set tiebreaker.
Milender and Krockta, who are each 14-3 on the season with all but one win in the doubles rotation, also overcame a 2-1 deficit in the second set and won two of the final three games to close out the match.
Foxboro No. 2 singles player Sarah Prag gave the Warriors point No. 4 just minutes later. Prag overcame one-game deficits to start both the first and second sets. She won six of the final seven games in the first set and rattled off six straight in the match’s second set.
“I mean, having got four points, there was definitely a lot I thought we could improve on,” Foxboro coach Jon Montanaro said.
“We played well, but I think we could play a lot better. We definitely didn’t start off on our best foot, but hopefully we’ll have a couple good days of practice and work on some stuff.”
Foxboro will now travel to No. 4 Dover-Sherborn in the Division 2 South Quarterfinals on Friday.
“A lot of these girls, you look at Paige Krockta who played her first varsity playoff match today, Maggie McAuliffe and Neha Jammula, who played their first playoff match, Sarah Prag played her first singles playoff match,” Montanaro said, “So, even though we have a lot of experience, there’s a lot of girls playing new roles. I think it’s really important they got that first one under their belt and hopefully we can kind of build on it.”
Foxboro 4, Holliston 1: Pam Nelson (F) def. Abai O’Neill 6-1, 6-1; Sarah Prag (F) def. Madison Rankin 6-2, 6-1; Julia Muise (F) def. Mary Hanstad 6-1, 6-1; Kendall Milender-Paige Krockta (F) def. Alyssa Brucato-Elexa Reiss 7-6 (7-0), 6-4; Aya Helayle-Madeline Cerulli (H) def. Neha Jammula-Maggie McAuliffe 6-0, 6-2.