PA Girls Tennis Comes up Short against Thayer, Gets Ready for Rematch Against Archrival Exeter

Under blistering sun and with only a fraction of its players, the girls’ tennis team turned up to play the formidable Thayer Academy. Though Big Blue’s weakened lineup fought hard, in the end Thayer’s seasoned team finished off the Andover girls for a score of 14 sets to 4. With two players injured and one suffering from a bad case of strep throat, the PA lineup was not in peak condition to face the toughest team in the league. However, as always, the Blue Ladies showed up and played with determination and grace. With the usual number one, Margaret Kelly, ’06, suffering from strep throat, number-two player Diana Grace ’05 stepped up to the number-one spot. Grace’s opponent was Paula McGinnis, who is active in tournament play and is ranked tenth in New England for 16 and under girls. Grace played well, making use of her renowned shot selection, but McGinnis was patient and won 6-1, 6-1. At the second slot, Kelly did her best to battle the suffocating heat and her illness against an equally challenging Thayer opponent. After many frustrating and long games, Kelly’s determination and great strategies won her the match 7-5, 7-5. While Lucretia Witte ’06, the usual number three, was sidelined with a knee injury from the Milton match last week, Captain Sarah Chang ’05 stepped up to the third slot against one of Thayer’s new recruits. Chang played well, but she was worn down by the heat and could not hang in until the end, losing 4-6, 0-6. With number five, Alice Campbell ’05, injured as well, sixth player Alyssa Hill ’06 made the big jump up to number four. Unfortunately, Campbell fell 1-6, 2-6 o her Thayer opponent. However, her doubles partner and seventh slot player Julia Watson ’07, was more than ready for the challenge that Thayer’s number five offered her. She ate up her opponent and sailed through to win 6-1, 6-2. Finally, Stephanie Chan ‘05 from the Varsity B to play at number six, but lost 4-6, 4-6 to her Thayer opponent. In the doubles, numbers one and two Grace and Kelly partnered, rather than the usual pairing of Grace and Witte, Kelly and Chang. However, the combined strength and versatility of the Thayer girls proved too much for an ailing Kelly, and the two couldn’t summon up enough intensity for a win, losing 3-6, 0-6. At the second slot, Chang and Chan in a fought well but lost 3-6, 3-6. At third doubles was the usual pairing of Hill and Watson, and though they pulled out showy strategies and signaling, they lost 5-7, 6-7 in a heartbreaker of a match. After the match, Coach Martha Grant was still optomistic about the team’s prospects going forward. “I anticipate our peak next Wednesday for the Exeter rematch,” said Coach Grant. And Exeter, of course, is the perfect time to peak