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Division 1 Girls’ Championship

Acton-Boxboro girls cruise to tennis title

Colonials win second straight championship

SHREWSBURY — After a week of rain pushed back the Division 1 state girls’ tennis final, both Acton-Boxboro and Longmeadow were eager to get on the court Monday at St. John’s High School. The delay worked in Acton-Boxboro’s favor, as the Colonials defeated Longmeadow, 4-1, for their second straight championship.

“I said to the girls today, ‘Just put every ball in play,’ ” Acton-Boxboro coach Mike Gardner said. “I told them not to be fancy and we’ll hope that [Longmeadow will] try to do too much — and that’s just what happened.”

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The only match that went beyond two sets was second singles, where Wellesley College-bound senior Dasha Kostikina battled Lancers senior Lisa Calcasola. Kostikina dominated the first set, 6-2, but Calcasola struck back just as fast in the second set, defeating Kostikina, 6-1.

At that point the Colonials had already won the title, but Kostikina was determined to end her career with a win. She was able to defeat Calcasola, 10-8, in a tiebreaker.

“Even though I knew we’d won, I still wanted to win for myself,” Kostikina said. “It was my last high school match and I’m just happy I can say that I won it.”

In first singles, Acton-Boxboro senior Julia Larson defeated Longmeadow freshman Suzanne Elfman, 6-0, 6-2. Although Elfman exhibited powerful shots, they were no competition against Larson’s solid forehand.

“She definitely hit the ball hard, which took awhile to get used to,” said Larson, who will continue her tennis career at the University of Massachusetts in the fall. “It made me mess up a little in the beginning of the second set but eventually I was able to get into the groove.”

The third singles match was Longmeadow’s only victory. Lancers senior Rachel Korn topped junior Mohini Vembu, 6-3, 6-0.

The Colonials’ first doubles team of sophomore Amy Liu and freshman Rose Zhad defeated Longmeadow seniors Hannah Epstein and Ashley Toebes, 6-4, 6-3, in the clincher, despite trailing, 4-3, in the first set.

“They’re delightful girls who don’t get nervous or upset,” Gardner said. “When they’re down they just turn the match around and have been doing that all year.”

In second doubles, Acton-Boxboro’s Kayla Pieri and Kelly Wagner dominated juniors Rachel Moore and Camille Burger, 6-2, 6-2.

“Our first goal this year was just to make the tournament,” Gardner said. “We never imagined in a million years that we would win the whole thing again.”

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