Mount Greylock Girls Fall in State Semi-Final

By Stephen Sports
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MARLBOROUGH, Mass. -- A half hour into Saturday’s Division 3 state semi-final, it looked like the Advanced Math and Science Academy team was going to make quick work of Mount Greylock.
Two-and-a-half hours later, the Eagles finally prevailed.
Sruthi Kutada and Anna Grankin earned a three-set win at first doubles to give AMSA an insurmountable 3-1 lead, and Elena Cardoso finished off a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win at third singles a few minutes later to secure a 4-1 win and a berth in Tuesday’s state title match.
The Western Mass Champion Mounties (10-2) picked up their lone point on Saturday at second doubles, where Mai O’Connor and Piper Schulman defeated Jyothisha Chilukuri and Anvi Gamp, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
At the top of the ladder, Kirstin Hailey, who has committed to attending Brandeis University, handed Mia VanDeurzen a 6-0, 6-0 loss. At second singles, Emilie LaPointe topped Hannah Gilooly, 6-2, 6-0.
VanDeurzen and Gilooly then had plenty of time to cheer on their teammates, who battled for every point and made AMSA (17-0) earn every game as it built toward the team win.
“They were strong at first and second [singles], and we matched up pretty darn evenly -- three three-set matches for third singles and both doubles,” Mount Greylock coach John Jacobbe said. “We fought, and we gave ourselves a chance. About a half hour into the match, it didn’t look like we were going to have a chance.
“But Mai and Piper did a great job. Izzy [Leonard] and Olivia [Winters] were playing a very strong first doubles team. They were down, 6-5, love-40 [in the first], and they came back and won the tiebreaker.”
AMSA’s Sruthi Kurada and Anna Grankin topped Leonard and Winters, 6-7 (7-2), 6-1, 6-0.
“And I think [No. 3 Charlotte Sanford] fought hard to the end. I think if the [team] match was on the line, she might have been able to pull it out because halfway through her third set, she asked who won and who lost,” Jacobbe said. “That’s emotionally tough because you want to win for yourself, but you’re fighting for the team.”
After the battle was over, Sanford said she was glad she got to take on Cardoso.
“I’m coming off an undefeated third singles [season], and I had some really good competition, but today I played someone who was better than me, which was great because then I get to be better and I can work with that power she’s giving me and play the best tennis I know how to,” Sanford said.
“I knew I had to give it my best shot. The No. 2 doubles was still in, and I’m like, ‘I can’t let them down.’ “
After coming back to force a third set, Sanford fell behind, 5-2, in the third, but she rallied to win two games before Cardoso ended the match.
“I was like, ‘I need to get to three,’ “ Sanford said. “I thought: I can keep pushing her and keep pushing her. And I think we were going for like three hours.
“It was so exhausting, but I had so much fun out there. I’m doing something I love to do. I’m doing it next year [at William Smith College], which I was really scared of for a long time. But coming off this season, I’m excited to keep doing what I love to do.”
After pursuing that passion for six years at Mount Greylock, Sanford and her four senior classmates -- VanDeurzen, Gilooly, Winters and Leonard -- leave the program stronger than they found it.
“It’s incredibly special because, for the most part, the seniors have obviously been playing since seventh grade, and to kind of foster a lot of these younger kids … to be a part of that and build it up to what it is, is very meaningful,” Sanford said. “If it was still just the three [underclassmen] and five seniors, we wouldn’t have been able to do anything because it’s really a team at the end of the day, and I think there’s a lot of good to come after this, which is nice.”
First singles: Kirstin Hailey (AMSA) def. Mia VanDeurzen, 6-0, 6-0.
Second singles: Emilie LaPointe (AMSA) def. Hannah Gilooly, 6-2, 6-0.
Third singles: Elena Cardoso (AMSA) def. Charlotte Sanford, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
First doubles: Sruthi Kurada/Anna Grankin (AMSA) def. Izzy Leonard/Olivia Winters, 6-7(7-2), 6-1, 6-0.
Second doubles: Mai O’Connor/Piper Schulman (MG) def. Jyothisha Chilukuri/Anvi Gampa, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
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