The Rockland High girls tennis team came just short of reaching the Division 3 South Sectional semifinals last Friday.

The quarterfinal match against Archbishop Williams came down to the wire with the Bishops coming away with a 3-2 win.

“Although we didn’t get the outcome we wanted in the quarterfinals against Archbishop Williams, my girls never gave up and they fought hard for every single point. I am so pleased with the way they played this match and all season,” said Rockland head coach Ariana Launie.

Rockland entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed following a tremendous regular season, going 13-4. In the first round of the tournament, the Bulldogs dominated Marian at home, 5-0, to advance to the quarterfinal.

“During both our first tournament match and second, the girls were hyped and ready to go,” said Launie. “They went into both matches with a positive attitude which paid off against Marian in the first round.”

Coming into this season the goal for the coach and her girls was to improve off of their 2017 season, which they did and then some.

“I am very happy with the way this season played out and I believe the girls are too,” Launie said. “We went from having four total wins last year to going 13-4 in the regular season and making it to the second round in the tournament. I could not have imagined a better season.”

The Bulldogs’ tennis future appears to be bright with rising star of Bridget Hughes just finishing her rookie season. The freshman went 15-4 on the season as the teams No. 1 singles player.

“Bridget was very coachable and always listened to new tactics and ways to enhance her great tennis skills,” said Launie.

A couple of veteran players - Izzy Uong and Kara Sullivan - were vital in Rockland’s 2018 success. These two played great as the No. 1 doubles pairing, helping to get the Bulldogs to the postseason.

“Izzy is one of the senior co-captains this year and was an amazing role model and leader of this team while Kara was our rock at No. 1 doubles,” Launie said. “These girls were always asking about ways to improve their doubles strategies and they became an awesome pair of doubles players by the end of the season. They never let a loss bring them down and they worked harder every day after to ensure those mistakes would not happen again.”

Improving and wanting to learn was something these girls really cared about according to the coach and is a big reason for improving their win total by nine from a year ago.

“These girls truly embody the ideals of team,” said Launie. “They are constantly cheering each other on, whether it be in practice or during a match. From the first day until the last day, they always wanted to learn new strategy and ways to improve their skills. They made me so proud to be their coach each and every day.”