Lenox Girls See Winning Streak End in State Semi-Finals

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
Print Story | Email Story
SHREWSBURY, Mass. -- After suffering its first defeat since its first match of the season, the Lenox girls tennis team Thursday was understandably disappointed.
But it was justifiably proud of its run to the Division 4 State Semi-Finals.
Defending D4 State Champ Hamilton-Wenham dropped just four games in earning a 5-0 win over the fourth-seeded but short-handed Millionaires (19-1) in a Final Four match at St. John's High School.
The shutout could not wipe out all that Lenox did this spring, including winning a Western Mass title, winning 19 straight matches and pulling off a road upset in the state quarter-finals just to get to Thursday's match.
"I'm just so proud because I know every single one of us worked hard every single day, and the most important part is that we always have fun," Lenox's Gali Gomez said. "And the most important part is that we always have fun, and I feel like that's what keeps us going most of the time.
"And this opportunity has been great. It has given us memories and taught us a lot. And I think this prepares us to really win it next year. I think we can do it next year."
Like most of the roster for Lenox, Gomez, a junior, will be back in 2024.
Unfortunately for the Millionaires, their two seniors -- Rihana Patel and Georgia Raser -- could not make the trip to Shrewsbury on Thursday due to unavoidable prior commitments. The pair would have played second and third singles, respectively, had the match been played as originally scheduled, but Wednesday's rain forced a postponement.
"I think they kept the team together," Lenox coach Monica Herman said of the seniors. "And they were really, really good role models in terms of great sportsmanship with great leadership, great playing abilities.
"And so I think all of the younger kids -- the eighth- and ninth-graders -- definitely looked up to them. It was sad that they couldn't be here. Fortet that they couldn't be here to play, it was also sad they couldn't participate in the last match of their high school careers."
The only silver lining was that it did give opportunities for other players to step up and fill the holes left by the seniors' absence.
"It's really an opportunity, too, because everybody gets a taste of what it's like," Gomez said. "It's just encouraging to let them play in a position they've never played before."
And the whole Lenox team had an opportunity Thursday to test itself against a Generals squad that started four seniors and two juniors.
"It's always good to be challenged," Herman said. "You always learn. Even when you lose, you learn something and improve something.
"We improved something for next season, for sure. We're delighted we got this far. It could have been a different outcome if we had had our two seniors. But it is what it is. I think several of the courts would have been much, much closer."
And all the accomplishments that Lenox achieved this spring could end up laying a foundation for even bigger things down the road.
"It's certainly bringing attention to the tennis program in general, and the [Lenox] boys also did very well," Herman said. "They just didn't make it as far. But hopefully this season is going to help grow the program even more for next year.
"We only had 10 girls here on our team this year -- hence part of the problem today. Hopefully, next year, we have 12 to 15 girls."
No. 1 Sky Jara, HW, def. Rory Lenehan, 6-1, 6-0.
No. 2 Naomi Provost, HW, def. Charlie Keator, 6-0, 6-0.
No. 3 Chloe Gern, HW, def. Caroline Kump, 6-0, 6-0.
No. 1 Abby Simon/Sienna Gregory, HW, def. Nicole Illingworth/Katie Shove, 6-1, 6-0.
No. 2 Alle Benchoff/Laynee Wilkins, HW, def. Gali Gomez/Julia Zanin, 6-1, 6-1.
Print Story | Email Story