ME Girls Tennis Attempts Final Four Encore in 2023




Five of the Manchester Essex girls’ tennis team’s starters are back from a squad that made it to the Final Four of the MIAA Div. 4 tournament.  As a result, expectations will be high surrounding this squad heading into the season opener against Masconomet on April 3.

“I don't think that the team feels pressure, but I do as I of course want to help them build on last year's success,” explains girls tennis coach Barrett Alston, taking over as head coach after spending time as the team’s junior varsity coach.  “With the team, though, we just try to focus on the process of improving. I don't think that last year's Final Four gives momentum so much as it gives everyone confidence, including the new players, that we can make a deep run in the tournament.  It's also a great motivator to know that kind of success is a reasonable goal.”

The goal is considered reasonable thanks to the talent returning.  While the Hornets lost its starting first doubles team, returning to lead the way in 2023 are a trio of captains in Vanessa Gregory, Emery Weber-Provost, and Sophie Zalosh.

“The captains are excellent players who set a great example for all of the other players -- commitment to the team, enthusiasm, and thoughtfulness about their games,” says Alston.  “They are, in short, impressive student athletes.”

Gregory is the anchor at first singles, and she sets the tone for the rest of the team.

“Vanessa plays first singles for us and it's such an important position in the lineup, she is an incredibly hard worker on the court,” explains Alston.

Calista Lai is a senior who provides experience and talent at a crucial spot, second singles.

“Calista Lai is likely playing second singles and has a ton of natural ability & athleticism.”

Other key contributors include Weber-Provost and Zalosh, who pose an imposing presence at doubles, sisters Grayson and Sienna Crocker and freshman phenom Grace Scarbrough.

Sisters Grayson & Sienna Crocker are very skilled will both play big roles somewhere in the starting 7.  Emery & Sophie are a great doubles team, and freshman Grace Scarbrough will play a huge role in her first year.

“We have a ton of depth -- very, very solid lineup from top to bottom,” says Alston.  “Definitely have some movement within the lineup from last year, so learning skill sets specific to singles and doubles, learning how to effectively finish points, will be key.”

Masconomet provides quite the hurdle in the opener, followed by home matches with Ipswich on April 5 and Swampcott on April 10 (4 p.m.)

“[Masco is a] big school with a generally solid tennis program so I imagine it will be a challenge,” says Alston.  “That's a good thing, though, as we build up towards the big CAL matches against Ham-Wen, Lynnfield and others later in season.”

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