By Mal Boright
The Champlain Valley Union High girls tennis team made a sixth straight run onto the Division 1 championship stage Friday (May 30), but were unable to come away with a third consecutive title.
Undefeated South Burlington High scored a 5-2 victory in a competitive afternoon at the Rebels’ courts, leaving the Redhawks with a 14-3 season mark, the losses all coming at the serves of the Rebels, who finished 20-0.
Considering that CVU graduated 10 from last season’s 20-0 squad, the return to the finals was a somewhat unexpected achievement, at least when the season began.
In Friday’s battle for the big bauble, CVU’s number one player and Vermont’s individual girls titleholder scored 6-3 and 6-1 triumphs over South Burlington’s Lajla Badnjevic.
“Kathy has such a fire in her eyes when she plays—her intensity is just awesome,” CVU coach Amy deGroot wrote in an e-mail to the Observer.
A second CVU singles winner was Elyse Killkelley, who scored a 6-2, 1-6, 10-7 win over Sajani Sivakumar.
A third singles match between the teams’ number three players, CVU’s MacKenzie Buckman and the Rebs’ Romana Bartosova see-sawed back and forth all afternoon before Bartosova emerged with a narrow 3-6, 6-2, 10-8 victory.
“She is tough,” said Buckman, who had bowed to Bartsova during a regular season meeting. “It was a good match.”
Leah Epstein and Isabelle Angstman were other CVU singles players, while the doubles teams were MacKenzie Kingston-Maia Bertrand and Erika Barth-Sara Erikson.
Epstein and Kingston are the Redhawks’ only seniors. Joseph leads a group of seven sophomores returning next year, along with three juniors and three freshmen.