Portsmouth girls tennis beats Hollis-Brookline, advances to Division II quarterfinals

Members of the Portsmouth High School girls tennis team celebrate after Wednesday's 8-1 win in the opening round of the Division II state tournament.

PORTSMOUTH - The Portsmouth High School girls tennis team finished the regular season by winning eight of its final nine games.

The Clippers, who advanced to last year's Division II state championship match, continued their winning ways in the opening round of this year's tournament on Wednesday afternoon at South Mill Playground.

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Portsmouth (11-4) swept its six singles matches, and won two of three doubles matches to eliminate No. 11 Hollis-Brookline, 8-1 and advance to Friday's quarterfinals against No. 3 Souhegan.

Portsmouth's No. 1 Sophia Jundi (8-5), No. 2 Avery Porter (8-3), No. 3 Caylie Cook (8-1), No. 4 Mia Edwards (8-1), No. 5 Aoife Ryan (8-5) and No. 6 Elyse White (8-2) each won their respective singles matches, while the duos of Porter and Edwards (8-1) and White and Clara Daw (8-0) won in doubles.

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"I'm very pleased we got the match in before the darkening skies took over," Portsmouth head coach Wendy Poutre said. "But, I'm really happy with the way the girls focused and really did what they needed to do quickly. They didn't get behind and they really took care of business in an efficient manner. We just played Hollis-Brookline, so we knew they were very good at the top. We had our work cut out for us and everyone had to really focus to get the job done."

"I was really happy with (the win)," Jundi. "We played them before and it was a challenge, especially for me. Originally, I lost 8-1, but I was able to come back today to win which was nice. I think everyone on our team played really well and kept it consistent."

Portsmouth's Mia Edwards and Avery Porter each won their respective singles match, and paired up to win a doubles match in Wednesday's Division II playoff win over Hollis-Brookline.

Portsmouth defeated Hollis-Brookline, 8-1 back on May 12.

Though having just played Hollis-Brookline less than two weeks ago, Porter described the difference this time around was the tournament setting.

"It's definitely a lot more intense and I feel like the pressure is on a little bit more," Porter said. "But, we have the skills and we just have to win with that."

Poutre said despite the recent 8-1 win, the Clippers didn't take Hollis-Brookline lightly.

"We had some tough matches with them the first time around, especially at the top," Poutre said. "The girls (at Hollis-Brookline) have a lot of tenacity, so we had to really work and play our best to win."

Senior captain Caylie Cook said Wednesday's win, and the theme for the rest of the tournament, starts with attention to detail.

"I think that if we just focus as a team that we can do well in every match that we play," Cook said. "And just be ready and prepared ... I thought (today's win) was good. We ended with the same score as the last time we played them. They have really good strong people on their team, so overall, just really happy."

Souhegan (13-1) defeated the Clippers in the regular season, 6-3, but Poutre was encouraged after that match as some of the matches were close.

"We've gained some court management experience," Poutre said. "We've gotten more comfortable on the court, and we've worked on some tactics and strategies. Hopefully, that will bode well for us against Souhegan and we can turn some of those losses into wins."

Jundi said if the team has the right mentality, she "definitely believes" the Clippers can knock off the No. 3 seed.

"We were really close last time and it's definitely not out of our reach," Jundi said.

"I think we really just have to get hyped up before (the match)," Porter said. "I know they're a really good team and it's great that we get to play them again. I think we have what it takes to have a competitive match, and we might even win, which is always the goal."

Porter, one of three freshman in the top six, said she was a little nervous ahead of her first playoff game, but Poutre reminded the freshman trio that nerves are a good thing.

"I said that's great nervous energy," Poutre said. "Pressure is a privilege as Billie Jean King said, and it's really true. You have to embrace that nervous stomach that you have, utilize it on the court and just embrace that."

This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Portsmouth girls beats Hollis-Brookline in Division II first round