In athletics, many times we must look past the simple number of the final score and the North Branford girls' tennis team became part of this unwritten rule when it lost at home to Valley Regional, 7-0, on April 27, the same score the Warriors defeated the T-Birds by 23 days earlier. Yet North Branford did not go quietly in the sweep without some valiant efforts, including No. 3 singles player Ashley DiStasio forcing Valley's Jacqueline Stevens to earn a game-point twice in her 7-5, 7-5 loss.
"They played much better than the last time against this team; they were more competitive," Head Coach Mary Philipp said. "The practice has come out more and more at the midseason point. The girls are playing hard and giving it their all."
Valley's No. 1 duo of junior Taylor Riggio-McGrath and senior Carly Melillo defeated juniors Courtney DelColle and Jana Ferraro in straight sets (6-1, 6-0) to take the first match of the day. North Branford (2-6 overall, 2-6 Shoreline) did earn some quick points behind a powering shot and a nice one-hop serve that landed just inside the baseline, but Valley (9-1, 9-1) took the match after a series of excellent overhand returns of North Branford shots.
In additional doubles play, No. 2 doubles' Lexie Riggio-McGrath and Sarah Burzin defeated North Branford junior Allison Faracias and sophomore Christina Gangi (6-0, 6-0).
In No.1 singles action, senior Eva Ribchinsky defeated junior Tara Augur (6-1, 6-0). Augur earned some well-fought points due to skilled backhands, yet Ribchinsky took the match behind some powerful backhand shots of her own.
"I thought I had a nice volley going out there today," Augur said. "I also thought I was consistent."
In the No. 2 slot, Brigit Crosbie notched a win against junior Ashley Arre (6-4, 6-3). Arre gave her opponent a fight with some quality serves against the ever present-wind and some nice hustle points on underhand lob returns, although Crosbie held her off for the victory.
In the No. 3 singles match-up, Stevens took the contest behind powering backhand shots, including an impressive chase down for a volley on her left side.
In No. 4 action, freshman Abby Wolff defeated junior Audra Catania (7-5, 6-2), despite Catania having some underhand returns that were too quick for Wolff to play.
"Overall, this year we are a little inconsistent, but working hard," Philipp said. "It is a building year with mostly juniors, but we are staying positive."