Barry Ndinya could see his Bishop Guertin High School girls tennis team was nervous going into Monday’s season opener against Bedford.
Those nerves – along with the absence of five of the Cardinals’ top six players from last season – helped contribute to an 8-1 win for the Bulldogs, the first loss for Bishop Guertin in over four years. The Cardinals entered the day having won 68 matches in a row, including last year’s Division I championship against Bedford.
“They were nervous,” Ndinya said of his players. “The fear of losing made them play not to their abilities.”
The Cardinals lost four of their top players to graduation, and another one, Lauren Hayward, missed Monday’s match with an illness. In her place, freshman Grace Goyette stepped up to the No. 1 spot and got Bishop Guertin’s only win, beating Bedford’s Julie Aichinger 9-8 (7-1).
“She stepped up big for us,” Ndinya said of Goyette. “It was good for Grace, but it helped the rest of the team, seeing her fight.”
But Bedford (1-0) cruised in the other five matches. Anna Corrao beat Maddie Gilbertson, 8-0, at No. 3 while Anli Zhang defeated Emily Tobin at No. 5 by the same count.
Abby Ramsay beat Amelia Fallon 8-1 in the No. 2 match, while Anitha Machupalli (No. 4) and Sydney Fontaine (No. 6) defeated
Paige Kennett and Kiki Murphy, respectively, both by a score of 8-2.
“I’m very happy after a great first match,” Bedford coach Kristen Perez said.
“They came out nervous. We knew Bishop Guertin is always tough. But they played fantastic.”
Bedford swept the doubles matches, with Aichinger and Corrao beating Goyette and Gilbertson 8-4 at No. 1. Machupalli and Zhang picked up an 8-1 win at No. 2 over
Fallon and Kennett, while Ramsay and Fontaine defeated Lizzy Sheehan and Claire Mutty in the No. 3 match, 8-1.
“We have such depth, they’re all so even,” Perez said of her top six. “Any day, someone could beat one of the other ones. We’ll work on some things and dust the cobwebs off. It’s little things here and there.”
Ndinya expected the Cardinals (0-1) to go back to the drawing board Tuesday.
“We’re going to have a team meeting and see how we put this behind us,” he said. “The good news is that the girls are disappointed and want to fix it.”