Revenge may be a bit strong, but determination is definitely on the table for the Redwood High girls tennis team this season.
After beating The Branson School twice during the 2021 regular season, the Giants were surprised by the Bulls in the MCAL playoff final when they dropped three 10-point tiebreakers to fall 4-3.
On Tuesday on their home courts, the Giants turned back Branson 6-1 thanks in part to improved play in tiebreakers.
The marquee match of the day was one of three that came down to a tiebreaker as Redwood’s Jordan Marotto played until nearly dark to prevail 4-6, 6-3, 10-6 over Anna Rende in No. 1 singles.
Redwood’s Gwenn Ricordel and Livia Klampus rallied for a 4-6, 6-0, 10-4 win over Alexandra Zak and Sophie Liv in No. 2 doubles. The Giants’ Jennie Liu added a 6-1, 4-6, 10-5 victory over Audrey Gilmor in No. 3 singles.
“We are definitely working on 10-point tiebreakers,” said Redwood coach Marlies Zeisler. “We talk about it a lot.”
The Giants improved to 10-0 overall and 8-0 in league. Branson dropped its first match of the season (8-1, 6-1).
Ricordel was one of the Giants’ freshmen who lost in a tiebreaker to Branson last season and was excited for another crack at the Bulls. The sophomore used consistent groundstrokes and solid volleys in the tiebreaker to help earn the win.
“I just felt that we can’t lose again — we have to win this one,” said Ricordel. “We had the momentum heading into the tiebreaker and that made a big difference.”
Redwood’s Charlotte Brod was impressive in No. 4 singles, wrapping up her 6-0, 6-1 win in less than an hour. Brod, who has been working her way up the Redwood ladder, has also been used in doubles, which showed in her net play.
The Bulls’ only win came in No. 2 singles with Mirabel Arlander topping Sonya Cowan 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.
Branson coach Chrissy Costamagna knew the Giants would be fired up for a rematch after losing in the 2021 MCAL finals and says the rivalry is bringing out the best in her players.
“I love this rivalry,” said Costamagna. “It’s a great opportunity for our girls.”
Since winning MCAL and NCS titles last season, Branson’s success has spurred a lot of interest in tennis at the small, private school The Bulls have 24 players on the varsity team and 14 on the junior varsity team.
Tuesday’s match definitely had a championship vibe with two unbeatens dueling it out. But Costamagna was quick to point out that there are several other teams in the mix who could challenge the Bulls and Giants.
“I wouldn’t count out Tam,” said Costamagna.