Monomoy Girls Tennis Hopes Mix Of Veterans, Newcomers Leads Back To Tournament

by Brad Joyal

SOUTH YARMOUTH – For the past three years, Tatiana Malone and Lilly Gould have played side by side as the top two singles players on the Monomoy girls tennis team.

Now seniors, Malone and Gould are playing out the final weeks of their high school careers while leading the Sharks alongside fellow senior captain Sophia Sarabia.

“That makes it a little easier as a coach because they know the ropes and they know the competition and are familiar with most of the courts,” Monomoy coach Bill Burke said about Malone and Gould’s experience. “They have good leadership and it’s nice to have them.”

After opening their season with a 3-1 victory over Nantucket and a 3-2 win over Cape Cod Academy, the Sharks suffered their first loss of the season Monday when they dropped a 5-0 decision to St. John Paul II (4-0) at Mid-Cape Athletic Club.

Malone fell 7-6 (6), 6-2 to Lily Walker at first singles, Gould lost her second singles match to Rosanna Sullivan 6-2, 6-1, and freshman Hanadi Rezk suffered a 6-1, 6-0 loss to Bella Scioletti at third singles.

Monomoy’s top doubles pairing — junior Karina Khalsa and sophomore Madison Mahfouz — suffered a 6-3, 6-1 loss, while Sarabia and freshman Darcy Addison dropped their second doubles match, 6-4, 6-2.

“Today was tough,” Burke said. “They are really good.”

While Malone and Gould are veterans to the Cape and Islands League, the Sharks are replacing five starting seniors from last spring. The team’s two doubles pairings are entirely new to the starting lineup.

“This is our first year playing together,” Sarabia, a Harwich resident, said of playing with Addison. “It’s very hard getting used to a new partner but Darcy is someone really easy to play with, so it helps. And we both knew each other last year, so we know how each other plays. I think we have a good dynamic on the court.”

Although the team has 10 underclassmen, Gould said the youngsters bring a sense of excitement and enthusiasm to the team.

“We have a lot of good, young underclassmen who are all so eager to play,” said Gould, a Harwich resident. They have the spirit and I think that’s something they carry into the games. It definitely is something that sets us apart and helps our chemistry.”

Even with an influx of young talent, the Sharks expect Gould and Malone to lead the way. The two have established a bond while playing at first and second singles since they were sophomores, and Malone said they continue to help each other improve even as seniors.

“Every time I play Tatiana, I feel like she gets so much better,” Gould said. “I feel like we just both help each other grow. When she hits harder, I hit harder.”

Malone, a Dennis resident, said she can sense just how much she’s improved since taking over No. 1 singles as a sophomore.

“I feel like every year, the biggest thing I notice is my strength increases,” Malone said. “If I look at videos from when I was a sophomore, I would crush myself.”

While the Sharks work to acclimate themselves to each other on the court, the entire team shares a common goal: return to the Division 4 state tournament.

“I think we’ll be in the mix, we just have to be a little bit better,” Burke said. “One of the things that stands out about this group is it’s more of a team atmosphere. There are no cuts, we have 15 players and there’s absolute raw beginners to Tatiana and everybody else. We treat everybody the same and everyone is rooting for each other.”