Four-tune Smiles on ME Girls Tennis


With a win over Hopedale on June 11 in the Elite Eight of the MIAA Div. 4 Tournament, the Manchester Essex girls’ tennis team took another step closer to a state title.

The Hornets were slated to move on to the Final Four and play a familiar foe in Lynnfield on June 14.  A win would propel the team to the State Final game to play the winner of the Hamilton-Wenham/Lennox Memorial semifinal (scheduled to be played on the same date).

“Just fun to hold the final four banner up with the team and see all the smiles and excitement,” explains Manchester Essex girls tennis coach Barrett Alston.  “Great vibes at practice and general enthusiasm to be playing competitive tennis with something on the line.”

Even though the Hornets have some positive precedent against Lynnfield in 2023 already - Manchester Essex beat the “other” Hornets squad by a 4-1 score near the end of the regular season -- this promised to be one of the team’s toughest challenges to date this spring.

“They are a strong team with particularly excellent singles players,” says Alston.  “The match was competitive and it will be competitive again.”

To get there, the Hornets faced some strong singles play and prevailed against Hopedale by a 4-1 score on June 11, with the only loss coming at first singles.

While third singles was a relatively easy point for Manchester Essex, the other two spots were much more back-and-forth: Vanessa Gregory lost in three sets at first singles, Calista Lai won in three sets at second singles.  The ME doubles teams made quick work of the Lynnfield doubles teams, with the duos Emery Weber-Provost/Sophie Zalosh and Sienna Crocker/Grace Scarbrough both winning in straight sets at first and second singles, respectively.

Hopedale was really solid at one and two singles, and it had been weeks since Vanessa and Calista had truly competitive matches,” explains Alston.  “They both had rough first sets then played much better in the second sets.  Mentally tough players, athletes, both of them.  The third sets were 10-point tiebreakers because the overall match was already over.  As has been the case, our depth carried us through as the doubles were comfortable wins.”

It was a similar story in the Sweet Sixteen, with the Hornets pulling out a 4-1 win in that match as well.

“We knew 1st singles would be a tough ask, so we knew that everyone else would need to step up to keep the match from getting nervy,” explains Alston.  “Everyone played well from the start, so all of the first sets ended quickly.  Team effort all around.”

tennis, barrett alston, sienna scarbrough, manchester essex girls tennis coach, emery weber, calista lai, vanessa gregory, zalosh