HB tennis hopes for deep run

Editor’s note: The Hollis Brookline girls tennis team opened NHIAA Division II tournament play against Oyster River on Wednesday. Results were not available by Hollis Brookline Journal presstime.

By BEN LEVINE

Correspondent

Rebuilds are inevitable in any level of sports, especially high school athletics. That’s the reality Hollis Brookline girls tennis coach Marie Salamone is facing heading into this year’s Division II tournament.

With four contributing seniors on her roster, Salamone recognizes that this may be her team’s best chance at winning a championship.

"This is pretty much our year to win," she said. "Unfortunately, it looks like we’re going to be looking at a rebuilding year next season, so this is really our last chance."

While armed with a formidable formation of seniors, including Nicole Hall, Teresa Randlett, Sophia Bruzik, and Monika Schneider (along with the team’s top player, junior Courtney Koran), it will still be tough for the Cavaliers to advance multiple rounds in the Division II playoffs.

Hollis Brookline earned the fourth seed in the tournament, setting up a first-round date with Oyster River. The Cavaliers have already beaten the Bobcats this season, a 7-2 victory earlier this month.

"I think we’re excited about that matchup," Salamone said. "We did well against them earlier this season, so we’re looking forward to that."

Of course, after that, the 11-3 Hollis Brookline squad will have to take on undefeated Portsmouth (which plays a 7-7 Souhegan squad in the opening round).

If they pull off that unlikely upset (two of HB’s three losses came at the hands of the Clippers), they’ll likely eye a date with undefeated Hanover in the finals.

Despite the talented division, Salamone is still confident in her team’s chances.

"We need everyone to be healthy, and we need everyone to be mentally ready," the coach said.

"The last two weeks, we’ve played eight total matches, so the girls are a bit tired. Still, I think the girls are thinking positively. We won’t be giving up, that’s for sure."