Westborough girls tennis beats Sharon, advances to semifinals

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Westborough girls tennis beats Sharon, advances to semifinals
The No.3 Westborough Rangers girls tennis team secured their spot in the MIAA Division 2 State Semifinals on Friday by defeating the No.6 Sharon Eagles. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

WESTBOROUGH – The No.3 Westborough Rangers girls tennis team secured their spot in the MIAA Division 2 State Semifinals on Friday, soundly defeating the No.6 Sharon Eagles by a score of 5-0.

Westborough came into the match with two commanding 5-0 playoff victories, yet the Sharon team presented an interesting challenge for the program.

“It was hard to know what to think [going into the match],” Head Coach Scott Henderson told the Community Advocate. “Sharon is one of these teams that we’ve never seen before and we’ve had no common opponents. It was a big mystery. We had to rely on what got us here – we had to play hard – and hope it worked out for us.”

Although the Rangers were ultimately successful, the Eagles fought hard and made almost every matchup close.

Judy Song, the sophomore first singles player from Sharon, took the first set from Westborough’s Mira McLaren. McLaren fought back and eventually won the match (3-6, 6-2, 6-2) after decisively winning the last two sets.

“There were a lot of tough matches… [Sharon] really kept the pressure on, and I’m really proud of my girls for holding it together and doing what they needed to do to finish,” Henderson said.

Diya Bhattacharya – the Rangers’ second singles player – took care of business against Sharon’s Navya Shukla, winning the match in straight sets (6-1, 6-4).

Isabel Feldman, Westborough’s third singles player, comfortably defeated Ale Aguilar (6-2, 6-1) in perhaps the least-stressful match of the afternoon.

The doubles teams also performed well. Westborough’s Elena Chen and Ellie King took out Sharon’s senior duo Sophia Oh and Abby Vilk, winning in straight sets (6-4, 6-2).

Sahasra Kommineni and Nicole Nguyen rounded out the Rangers’ 5-0 win, defeating the Eagles’ Jenny Sand and Olivia Landstein (6-3, 6-4).

The Rangers will face No.10 Notre Dame (Hingham) in the semifinal match. The match is currently scheduled for June 14 and will be played at Newton South High School.

Henderson said he’s excited about the upcoming round of competition.

“I feel pretty good… The girls are playing well at every point, so I feel optimistic that we’re going to continue to play well and stay in the tournament,” he said.

The Rangers have been here before – last year, the team lost an “absolute heartbreaker” in the championship match – but Henderson is confident the team’s previous playoff experience will only help them navigate the tournament again this season.

“It’s hard to play a match when the pressure is on you, [and] when everyone is watching and counting on you. Emotions can really get the better of you. If you’ve been there before, maybe that helps you relax – you’ve got some experience, you expect that coming in, [and] you’re not taken by surprise. Hopefully it will help them,” he said.

However, Westborough isn’t yet looking to avenge last year’s loss. According to Henderson, the team will continue to focus on the game in front of them. The team will “keep [its] focus, try to stay relaxed, and keep playing [their] game.”

Westborough has started to become a tennis dynasty in recent years. Both the boys and girls tennis teams appear in the tournament semifinals this year.

“We’ve had a really great run of success, and it’s fun when both the boys and the girls team win because we can be there and support each other… It’s a nice run by Westborough,” Henderson said.

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