Bedford earns its first championship
SHREWSBURY - Given its record, the Bedford girls’ tennis team did not have the look of a potential champion.
The Buccaneers finished the regular season at 9-7 and were seeded ninth out of 11 teams in the Division 3 North sectionals. Such an average campaign, coupled with the task of facing defending state champion Manchester Essex in the sectional quarterfinals, made the prospect of a state title seem unrealistic.
However, first-year coach Monika Drabkova believed her team’s difficult schedule - including two 3-2 losses to Division 2 champion Concord-Carlisle - had them ready for a postseason run.
“The Dual County League is one of the strongest in the state,’’ Drabkova said. “It can be a little discouraging at times because we are playing really tough opponents, but it definitely gets us ready for the states.’’
The challenges of the regular season paid off for Bedford, which captured the Division 3 crown Friday with a 5-0 victory over Bromfield at Saint John’s High School. It is the first state title for Bedford (15-7).
“It’s still very overwhelming winning the state championship as a first-year coach, but I had a great team to work with,’’ Drabkova said. “They guided me through.’’
The Buccaneers’ doubles teams set the tone for the afternoon with straight-set victories. The first doubles pairing of Sarah Cowles and Maya Biswas needed only 33 minutes to defeat Lindsay Kerr and Rhett Nuenighoff, 6-0, 6-0, and Melissa Landman and Allegra Scharff emerged with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over the Trojans’ Julie Gormaly and Kristen Noyes in the second doubles.
Sydney Arsenault made the victory official when she downed Casey Magrath, 6-2, 6-1, in first singles.
“This is definitely well-deserved for this team,’’ Arsenault said.
Even with the title clinched, Bedford did not let up until the end of the five matches. With teammates cheering them on, Hannah Mardini and Sarita Biswas made it a clean sweep for the Buccaneers. Mardini beat Arpitha Hayes, 6-1, 6-4, in third singles and Biswas outlasted Meaghan Katz, 6-4, 6-1, in second singles.
“Even though tennis is an individual sport, it’s really all about the team,’’ Cowles said. “We were supportive of each other all year.’’
Bromfield’s season ended at 20-4, but coach Chris Holmes praised his Central sectional champions.
“I’ve been the coach for seven years and this is the first time we’ve gotten this far,’’ Holmes said. “The last four matches they played up until today was the best they played all year.’’