Lots of news on Rutland’s tennis scene | Sport

Rob Purdy is busier than a Wimbledon food vendor selling the event’s distinctive strawberries and cream on a beautiful day in early July.

Rutland High’s boys’ tennis coach has added the girls team to his duties, at least so far.

The Raiders were without a coach on the girls’ side, so Purdy put on the extra hat.

“I think someone will step in,” he said.

The great thing about all of this is that the players on both teams have had a great attitude.

“The kids on each team are very eager to learn,” Purdy said. “Nobody fights it. No matter what exercises we do, they just eat it up.

“Of course I’m tired, but I’m coming home really happy.”

Do you remember the heyday of high school tennis in Rutland City? Maybe not. It’s been a while since the two high schools have tried the glory.

Mount St. The Joseph Girl Program had an astonishing run, winning three consecutive sate crowns from 1992 to 1994. Mounties also won state titles in 1987 and 1989.

The MSJ boys team has never won a state crown, but the Mounties reached the semifinals once and made a difficult 5-4 decision to Brattleboro in 1994.

The Rutland boys won a state championship in 1986 when the Raiders won Rice 4-3 in the Division I title fight.

The Rutland girls’ program claimed a few state crowns, trimming MSJ 5-2 in 1981 and Stowe 5-2 for the 1977 crown.

Yes, there is some tennis history in the city and the two schools would love to recycle it.

Perennial Rutland High Girls tennis coach Mary Haskell has left, leaving Purdy as coach for both teams indefinitely.

There is also another mood around MSJ tennis. Longtime coach Gary Thompson is not returning and he has been succeeded by Melissa Valgoi.

The Mounties will also have a boys team for the first time in years with Evan Smith leading that team.

Maybe one day, the tennis rivalry between Rutland and MSJ will be revitalized.

Many remember when Rutland boasted Zach Weaver and MSJ had Travis Tatko, two of the strongest players in the state.

When they played No. 1 singles, they had dramatic fights against each other that attracted large spectators and created a wealth of interest.

We are probably far from it happening, but everything has to start somewhere.

And MSJ boys’ tennis has restarted.

RUTLANDThe Olivia Squared tandem should be somewhere near the top of the singles ladder. Olivia Shipley returns after being the No. 1 singles player last year, and Olivia Andrews may be in the No. 2 spot.

Other strong candidates for singles action include Arrika Patorti, Anna Gallipo, Brooke Schaffer and Elizabeth Franzoni.

Patorti, a field hockey and ice hockey player, could be one to watch.

“She’s a great athlete. I’m super excited to work with her. She’s come up through our camps and tennis programs,” Purdy said.

Shipley was solid as No. 1 all last season.

“She’s super talented. I just think she needs that extra push to be a little more aggressive,” Purdy said.

Shipley and Andrews are seniors who bring experience to the singles rotation.

Other preliminary singles players are Anna Gallipo, Bethany Solari, Patorti, Emma Barclay, Franzoni and Shaeffer.

Dual candidates include Jayla Eugair, Brianna Greene, Sadie Lewis, Caroline McCormick, Annabelle Mahar, Elizabeth Stoodley, Abbey Watelet, Abbey Hannah Hebert and Carlie Thomas.

The Raiders get an early start on the girls side and host Bellows Falls at Whites Playground on April 11 at. 16. The Raiders’ city rivalry match with MSJ takes place on April 14th.

The Rutland boys team can boast, without any particular order, seniors Zach Nelson, Zak Arshad, Graham Seidner, Robin Rushing, Ben Cerreta and Eli Rosi as candidates for the singles rotation.

Dual candidates include Tanner Ciufu, Jack Beach, Tom Goldberg, Sebastian Pell and Brian Kapusta.

The Rutland boys first open the campaign on April 20, when Hartford visits the Whites Playground pitches.

MSJ

Evan Smith, a math teacher, and Melissa Valgoi sat and talked one day, and an idea hit them like a Roger Federer serve.

“We said, ‘no one goes up to practice tennis, so let’s do it,'” Valgoi said.

They were to be co-coaches for the girls team, the only tennis team MSJ has had this year and year.

Look, 11 boys answered the bell, so now there’s a boys’ tennis team being trained by Smith.

The teams train together on the Meadow Street courts, and the numbers are surprisingly healthy, 30 between the two teams.

Mount St. The Joseph girls jump right into the fire. Their first match is on April 12 against Burr and Burton Academy at Equinox Resort’s courts.

BBA always puts a good team on the field. Their girls team has won seven state crowns, the most recent came in 2014. They reached the state semifinals in 2021, where they lost a tough 4-3 match to Montpelier.

The leaders of the girls team will be seniors Sophia Hussak and Sarah Guerrier.

Others on the squad include senior Isabelle Gross, junior Lauren Costales, sophomores Elizabeth Williams, Grace Courcelle and Sarah Jane Gregory and freshmen Laney Hussak, Maura Whitman and Tashina Forrest.

The lone senior on the boys team is Ethan Courcelle.

Juniors are Brian Pierce, Richard Casimir and Ryan Laforest. Malcolm Whitman in the only sophomore and freshmen are Kyle Frankenberg, Mason Greene, Luke Locsin, Myles Donohue, Kingston Cotter, Kyle Costales and Ricky Gillam.

Since it was only a week before the first practice that the Mounties found out they wanted a boys team, an abbreviated program of six games has been put together.

The boys open the season on April 27 at Hartford and will have their home opener on May 13 against Woodstock.

tom.haley

@ rutlandherald.com

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