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The Yankee Express

Uxbridge girls tennis team all in, in bid for a state title


Two years ago, the Uxbridge girls tennis team lost to Advanced Math and Science Academy in the semifinals of the Central Mass Division 3 State Tournament. Last season the Spartan racketeers, as a 21 seed, took out Mount Greylock Academy (4-1), St John Paul II (3-2) and Monomoy Regional (4-1) to earn themselves a spot in the Division 4 State Tournament. Unfortunately, Uxbridge fell to the number one seed and eventual State Champion Hamilton-Wenham.
As they enter their final season under the guidance of Coach Joe McCourt, the now seniors are looking to make a run for a State Championship before they depart. The squad of all juniors last spring went 16-5 and set the school record for most wins in a season and want to improve upon their legacies before they leave.
Having all seven positions on the tennis courts filled by seniors this year, Coach McCourt sat the team down prior to the season to ask them which way the team wanted to go.
“At the beginning of the season I gave all the girls an option – does everyone want to play during the season, or do we go for the State Tournament with the seniors,” McCourt said.  “They wanted to go for the Championship. So, for the majority of time, we’ll go with the seniors, but will occasionally throw in some of the underclassmen.”
With the entire team all in McCourt said the girls hit the ground running this season, instead of getting off to a slow start like a year prior. Occasionally the coach will have a couple of underclassmen playing second doubles for the team so that they are preparing for next season.
Twins Julie and Sophie Compston will play in the top two singles positions for the Spartans hoping to do the impossible this season. Julie will hold down the number one singles spot once again and at the time of this writing had posted an impressive 7-1 record. According to McCourt, she had built upon her foundation of a year ago and is continuing to play an all-around great game each time she steps onto the court.
Her twin sister Sophie has been phenomenal and has yet to lose a match thus far this season. 
“She has been rock solid,” McCourt said. “She drives her opponents crazy and although she doesn’t have the pace of her sister, she is very knowledgeable and more consistent.”
McCourt went on to say that both girls have mental toughness and always seem to find ways to win. In fact, he recalled the first day they showed up for tryouts. 
“I always put the new girls on court six to see what they’ve got,” he said. “Within five minutes I had seen enough and moved them over to work out with the older girls on court one.”
Samantha Hinchcliffe began her tennis career with Uxbridge having no background in the sport whatsoever. However, through the years she has built a reliable and steady game. She continued to work hard at third singles and now is working with the twins on a daily basis to improve her game. Hinchcliffe is currently 6-2 on the season at third singles.
Slotted as Uxbridge’s first doubles team are best friends Avery Guillette and Bella Nolan. The tandem, which had no tennis experience prior to high school, has been together forever and formed the ideal doubles team.
“They really don’t need to communicate with one another during a match,” the coach said. “They cover the court well and their game has truly developed, they’re coachable and want to get better. Last year they won the Southern Worcester County League (SWCL) Doubles Tournament.”
Rounding out the seniors to take to the court are Abby Sanches and Ella Haker, who play second doubles for the Spartans. According to the coach, the duo has developed a good kinship with one another on the court over the years. While Uxbridge is looking for that elusive title, second doubles is the position where McCourt can rotate some of the younger girls into the game to get then experience on the court. Doing this allows the coach to get the younger girls prepared for the future without the seven seniors.
Prior to the season McCourt had the entire team set personal goals, but he didn’t allow them to share them with him. As for the team goals the Uxbridge coach is hoping that the team can once again capture the SWCL, it would be their third straight; win the Central Mass Tournament; Get back into the Final 4 and eventually be victorious in the State Finals Championships.
“You need to take steps to get to the ultimate goal,” McCourt said. “This year the girls have been playing a little better than last year and our quality of play has been much better.”
Currently Uxbridge is 8-0 and looking to improve upon last year’s historic 16-win season as they make their way to a potential State Title.