By John Anderson

Girls varsity tennis won their first playoff match by soundly defeating Shepherd Hill 4-1 yesterday at home. This was a big turnaround from their 1-4 loss on May 12th when Jeanelle Wheeler was the only Auburn victor. During a break yesterday, Jeanelle said when she plays the Hill’s Abbey Packard, “We always go three sets, but I win.”

According to Coach Erik Berg, “I’m really proud of my girls. They really turned it around after their previous 1-4 loss.” Elizabeth Fazio was the first to walk off the clay with two 6-1 sets over Kyra Foss. First doubles partners Kayla Almstrom and Micaela Almeida came next with 6-3 and 6-2 victories.

Nathalie Khafaga won her single sets 7-5 and 6-1, while Kaitlyn Chestna and Monica Mularski fell 6-4 and 6-2. As tradition would have it, Jeanelle Wheeler went three sets. She had a solid victory in the first, 6-3, but seemed to struggle a little in the second when she lost 2-6. After a brief rest and some rehydration, Jeanelle hit the court with newfound energy and won in her best set of the day, 6-1.

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Coach Berg commented, “This was a pretty big victory” and he was very pleased that his two seniors, Kayla Almstrom and Nathalie Khafaga, gave up their senior trip to play in today’s match. Ziplining and whitewater rafting would certainly have been fun, but they likely would not have had the energy to pull off their victories.

In an away match on Saturday at 10:00am, Auburn faces D1 powerhouse Westborough in the next playoff round. Westborough has a 13-2 record, but if the Rockets play the type of tennis they did today, they very well could advance. Currently, Auburn is 12-6.

A slideshow of yesterday’s match follows. Our apologies to Kayla Almstrom and Micaela Almeida who finished before I got to the doubles courts. They will be featured in a future slideshow.