The Hand girl’s tennis team capped off a perfect season Friday, defeating Lauralton Hall, 6-1, in the Class M state championship.
Hand won six out of the seven matches, winning all four singles matches in straight sets and taking two of the three doubles matches.
Sam Riordan dominated in the number one singles slot, defeating her opponent 6-0 and 6-1 while Lindsay Riordan swept the number two singles slot with the same scores.
The win completes an undefeated season for Hand, a team that has not lost a regular season match since May 5, 2016.
Hand won the Class M championship in 2017 and was defeated in the Class L semifinal a season ago.
Now back in Class M, Hand captured its second championship in three years. The Tigers advanced to the final for the third time in the last four seasons.
The battle between Hand and Lauralton Hall was a rematch of the 2016 Class M state championship, which was by Lauralton Hall 5-2.
“We beat them in the SCC semifinals in 2016 and they just took us to the cleaners in the state championship,” Hand coach Kitty Palmer said. “I reminded the girls that this has happened. Anything can happen. I think they were nervous at first, but they pulled themselves together and they really hung tough and played very well.”
The win carried extra weight for the young Hand team, as the career for lone senior Catherine Aranow came full circle.
Aranow was a freshman when Lauralton Hall beat Hand in the 2016 state championship. This time however, she took home the trophy in her final match of her high school career.
“She has been a heck of a leader,” Palmer said. “We will definitely have a void next year without her. Even at number three doubles, every point is important and she was pretty much the glue that kept us together.”
Freshman Breanna Colonese-DiBello partnered up with Aranow in the number three doubles match.
“We beat them the first two times, but at first I was like crap,” Aranow said. “We lost the first set and it was like alright, this is our game, we need to win it. Not only for us, but for the team, so getting that last point was awesome.”
The senior-freshman pair rebounded from the set one loss to win set two 6-3 and took the tiebreaker 10-7 to finalize the match for Hand.
“This is such a great team and we only had one senior, so we really wanted to do it for her,” Sam Riordan said. “She has put a lot in for the team and she has spent lot of hours, when we perhaps might have wanted to be doing something else. No one does it for themselves, they do it for the team and that is why I think we are so successful.”