NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain girls tennis team began its season with a win over Wilcox Tech on Tuesday afternoon, though most of the Hurricanes would have liked to see more efficient performances from themselves.
New Britain downed the Indians 6-1 and took every singles match, but the Hurricanes felt more lingering rust they hoped would be shrugged off before the season opener, as a number of sets were closer than they would have liked.
“There’s definitely some things we need to work on for the rest of the season,” junior Danya Alboslani said after winning her doubles match alongside senior Yajaira Asimbaya. “But for the first match, I thought it was OK.”
Alboslani’s assessment matched the rest of New Britain, including sophomore JuJu Oliver, who won the first singles match 6-1 and 6-0. Despite the final result suggesting a dominant performance, Oliver was looking for something more to begin the new season.
“It felt good, but I know I can still do better,” Oliver said. “I let one game get away. It was late in the set, and I could see me winning, but all of a sudden it didn’t happen. I want to come out strong and have a good season, but I still think this was a good start.”
The remaining three singles players for the Hurricanes all recorded wins in two sets, including another lopsided victory for sophomore Audrey Belliveau, who won 6-0 and 6-1 over Wilcox’s Shimaa Zhar. The victory was a special one for Bellivaeu, who was competing in her first singles match of her high school career.
“I mainly focused on my serves and made sure I got them all in and did the best I could,” Belliveau said. “I focused on what I’ve learned and where I was going to place the ball. Once I got in a groove, I felt OK.”
Senior Claire Palin came into the season with much more experience than Belliveau in singles competition, and showed it with a win over Kim Arjona with set scores of 6-1 and 6-2.
“It was good,” Palin said. “It wasn’t my best, but just warming up to the season, it was good. I could have played better. I was shaking off the rust. The first set was pretty easy for me, but I let my guard down for the second set and she caught up. I realized that and picked it back up again.”
Fellow senior Jenny Ketkeoasmy had to reshift her focus as well after falling behind Zonvai Walker in third singles, but Ketkeoasmy was able to settle down and come away with a win in two sets, with scores of 6-3 and 6-2.
“I feel like I could have done better, even though I did win,” Ketkeoasmy said. “My shots weren’t the best they could be. I think it was a good start to the season though. It helped me realize I need to keep my head in the game. When it got to her being three games head, I started focusing more.”
The lone blemish for New Britain came in the second doubles match, where Tracy Asimbaya and Kiara Matias fell to Rosalinda Hernandez and Melissa Hernandez 6-2 and 6-2, but the other doubles matches were claimed by the Hurricanes, including a dominant 6-3, 6-1 win for Layla Sahoobah and Zoe Hyres-Buley. The first doubles all-conference duo of Alboslani and Yajaira Asimbaya had to work for their first victory of the season, but came away with a win with set scores of 6-3 and 6-4 to help hand the Indians their third loss in four days to start the year.
”I feel like with the break we had, we have to work on some things,” Danya Asimbaya said of the team’s performance. “We have to get things back in sync and communicate better.”