Rutland’s No. 1 singles player, Maddie Bourassa, was unavailable for the Raiders’ previous girls tennis match against Burr and Burton Academy. Pressed into service in the No. 1 spot, Stefanie Allen didn’t win that match, but she gained plenty of confidence and experience. Back at No. 2 singles Friday, the experience fortified her in a 6-2, 6-1 win over Brattleboro’s Camden Haskins, part of Rutland’s 4-3 victory.

“I think it helped her confidence,” Rutland coach Mary Haskell said of Allen’s foray into the land of No. 1 tennis. “She saw that she could keep the rallies going against their No. 1 player.”

“It taught me to be more aggressive because that player could hit everything back. I did more attacking today,” Allen said. “The more aggressive I am, the better the outcome seems to be for me.”

Allen did not have a lot of steam on her serve early, but the velocity picked up after the first set without losing accuracy.

“I got into a funk,” Allen said. “I just took a couple of deep breaths and got more focused.”

Bourassa dropped her No. 1 singles match to Alissa Walkowiak 6-1, 6-4.

Rutland earned a win at No. 3 singles with Amy McGee outlasting Paige Starkweather 6-4, 6-3.

Brattleboro took the No. 4 singles win with Maia McNeill splitting sets with Eva Menconi before winning the tiebreaker 10-6.

Freshman Olivia Shipley, who earned a spot in the singles rotation well into the season, won in the No. 5 spot for Rutland. She prevailed 6-0, 6-1 over Xia Achilles.

Haskell had plenty of reason to give Shipley a spot in the singles lineup.

“She moves really well,” Haskell said.

“She has good court sense. I think that is helped by her playing basketball.”

Shipley was a swing player between the JV and varsity squads this past basketball season.

“I get to the ball quickly. It is more important to get to the ball quickly in singles than in doubles,” Shipley said in assessing her move to singles.

She agreed that basketball and tennis complement one another.

“We did a lot of drills with footwork stuff in basketball that I think help,” Shipley said.

The Raiders and Colonels split the doubles matches. Amelia Harrison and Lydia Hazard-Leal gave Brattleboro the No. 1 doubles win, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 over Sydney Erickson and Jessica Orluck.

The Rutland No. 2 doubles team of Hannah Hebert and Olivia Andrews toppled Emeline Stewart and Marley Hathaway 6-1, 6-4.

The victory lifts Rutland’s record to 5-3 and the Colonels fall to 4-5.

The Raiders will try for a sixth win on Monday at Woodstock.

“It was good competition,” Haskell said of the match with the Colonels.

Both matches with the Colonels were very competitive this season. Rutland also won the first meeting 4-3.

NOTES: Brattleboro coach Seth Marcil graduated from Castleton University in 2017 and played tennis there for coach Bruce Moreton. ... Olivia Shipley’s father, Ted Shipley, taught tennis for a number of summers. The Castleton University baseball coach is also a huge tennis fan, and subscribes to the Tennis Channel. ... Haskell has a pre-match routine where the players gather around and take turns bouncing the ball on their racket while stating what their goal is for that day. ... The game was moved indoors at the Grand Slam Tennis facility due to rain. ... The Raiders’ next hurdle is an imposing one. Woodstock is 7-0 and that record includes a 6-1 victory over Rutland.


Follow Tom on Twitter: @RHSportsGuy

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