For the second year in a row, Newburyport squeaked by the Marblehead High School girls’ tennis team to advance to the Division 2 North Finals, 3-2 June 10.
One year ago, Marblehead's first singles phenom Michelle Shub came down with pneumonia and couldn't play, and this time it was its best doubles player, senior captain Simone Likterov, who missed the match, due to a planned family vacation.
"It certainly put us at a disadvantage not having Simone, but I wouldn't take anything away from Newburyport. They got the three points, fair and square," said coach Tracy Ackerman.
"I had to shuffle the doubles teams, and make adjustments. But the girls did a great job, and just fell short. I thought they all played really well, but the Clippers were able to close out the close matches without forcing a third set, which I think was the key to their victory.
"As usual, Michelle and Hannah came out strong, and played at a high level to put us in a good position. They both won their matches rather quickly. The three remaining matches were lost by the narrowest of margins, 4-6, 5-7 on both occasions.
"I am very proud of the team we built this year. The senior leadership was great, and we will miss them, but I’m already looking forward to next season."
Shub beat her Newburyport opponent Ann keKanter going away in first singles, 6-0, 6-0. Hannah Porath did the same against Sophie Page, 6-1, 6-2. But Jessie Munroe lost in third singles, 4-6, 5-7. Cannan Whittier and Tess Keaney lost in first doubles, 4-6, 5-7. Cahill Whittier and Leah Saulnier dropped their second doubles match, 4-6, 5-7.