Bacon Academy girls' tennis team hopes to repeat last year's success

By Kevin Hotary - Staff writer
Colchester - posted Mon., Apr. 11, 2011
Number one doubles player, Hannah Pettit. Photos by Kevin Hotary.
Number one doubles player, Hannah Pettit. Photos by Kevin Hotary.

“Last year was probably a dream season,” said Bacon Academy girls' tennis coach Donna Bonnin.  Her team went 15 – 1, good enough to earn them a first round bye and home-court advantage in the state team tournament – an advantage they had to relinquish due to rain, instead beginning play in Madison. In addition to this team success, several players were named all-conference, with Catherine Clark and the doubles team of Hannah Pettit and Julia Puscas competing in the individual’s state tournament. 

Although Bonnin lost six seniors to graduation, Clark, her #1 singles player, and the # 1 doubles team of Pettit and Puscas have returned for their senior years.  So Bonnin remains confident that the team will remain competitive in the ECC, and will “get some wins against schools that we’ve traditionally lost against,” she said.  Teams from Waterford, Windham and Woodstock, all schools that the Bacon Academy girls defeated last year, “are schools that we don’t usually beat,” she said.

Bonnin said that she was impressed with the team’s first match of the season, last week against Lyman Memorial High School, which Bacon Academy won, 6 – 1. 

“But that was the first match.  It will be interesting to see how it goes the rest of the season.  It’s going to be hard to match last year,” she said.

Sometimes dominant last year, Catherine Clark “has improved dramatically this year,” said Bonnin, who is filling in the remaining singles slots with players in their first year of varsity competition or players who have not previously played singles.

Pettit and Puscas will finish their high school tennis careers as they started - a nearly unstoppable doubles team.

“I’ve thought about splitting them up due to other needs,” said Bonnin.  “But I couldn’t do it.  They just work too well together.”“All of the girls are excited.  They’re enthusiastic.  I think they want it to be as good a season as last year,” said Bonnin.

Coaches corner:

Bacon Academy Girls Tennis coach:  Donna Bonnin.  Thirteen years as head coach.

With her top players returning for their senior years, Bonnin is hopeful that this year’s team can emulate the successes of last year’s team, whose 15 – 1 record she thinks has provided some motivation for her current players.  “But I think more importantly than the tennis for them, and for me too, is that they mesh well as a team.  We were very close last year.  I’d like to see this team meld like that team,”

Seniors:  Alyssa Apelquist, Catherine Clark, Lauren Farrell, Nicole Raulukaitis, Laura Young, Julia Puscas, Hannah Pettit, Marissa Stanton


Players to watch:

Catherine Clark, #1 singles

“She is a caliber above most other girl players,” said coach Bonnin.  She said that Clark is one of the most passionate tennis players she has ever known, playing year-round in USTA tournaments, and practicing both indoors and outdoors, “even when it’s 30 degrees outside” said Bonnin.  Already a top player, Bonnin said that Clark has “improved dramatically” this year.


Hannah Pettit and Julia Puscas, #1 doubles team

“What makes them a good doubles team is that they are also good friends.  They pump each other up,” said Bonnin.  And while they have a good time playing, they are also “extremely competitive.  They’re good students.  They listen and they know how to play the game.  They’re good at thinking on their feet when they’re out there,” said Bonnin, adding, “and they’re really fun to watch.”

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