Bow girls’ tennis, the two-time defending D-III champs, adjusting quickly to D-II

  • Bow sophomore Olivia Parzick hits a forehand at the Bow High School courts on April 11 against Goffstown. Bow, the two-time defending Division III girls’ tennis champion, moved up to D-II this spring and has started 6-0 in the new division. Parzick is No. 1 for the Falcons followed by seniors Emma Conley, Lauren Goyette, Miah Munro and Isabelle Dolcino in spots Nos. 2-5, respectively. RICH MIYARA/ NH Sports Photography

  • Bow sophomore Olivia Parzick hits a backhand at the Bow High School courts on April 11 against Goffstown. Bow, the two-time defending Division III girls’ tennis champion, moved up to D-II this spring and has started 6-0 in the new division. Parzick is No. 1 for the Falcons followed by seniors Emma Conley, Lauren Goyette, Miah Munro and Isabelle Dolcino in spots Nos. 2-5, respectively. RICH MIYARA/ NH Sports Photography

  • Bow senior Lauren Goyette hits a forehand at the Bow High School courts on April 11 against Goffstown. Bow, the two-time defending Division III girls’ tennis champion, moved up to D-II this spring and has started 6-0 in the new division. Sophomore Olivia Parzick is No. 1 for the Falcons followed by seniors Emma Conley, Goyette, Miah Munro and Isabelle Dolcino in spots Nos. 2-5, respectively. Rich Miyara/ NH Sports Photography

  • The Bow girls’ tennis team, including coach Jonsey Rainville (back row in sunglasses), poses on The Derryfield School courts last May after winning its second straight D-III championship. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography file photo

Monitor staff
Published: 4/22/2019 8:23:20 PM

The Bow girls’ tennis team didn’t know what to expect from this season. The Falcons won the last two Division III titles and they hadn’t lost a match since 2016, but they moved up to D-II this spring, and they weren’t sure what the new division might hold for them.

So far, D-II is a lot like D-III for Bow, which has started the season 6-0. Not only are the Falcons undefeated, they’ve won four of those matches by 9-0 scores and the other two by 8-1 margins.

“We’re a little surprised at how well we’ve done in Division II,” said Jonsey Rainville, now in her seventh year in her second stint as Bow’s head coach.

The Falcons know things will get tougher – their first six opponents have a combined record of 9-19 and the second half of their schedule includes top teams like Portsmouth (6-0), Oyster River (4-1) and Souhegan (4-1). Still, winning 52 of the first 54 matches in a new division is impressive, especially when you consider Bow lost the top two players from last year’s team.

Gwen Molind was the lone senior and No. 1 player on the 2018 Bow squad that went 17-0 and beat second-seeded Conant, 8-1, in the D-III final. Sophomore Lara Chern was No. 2 for the Falcons last year, and her moving up to No. 1 would have made perfect sense. But Chern is graduating a year early and decided not to play this spring.

That means sophomore Olivia Parzick, who was No. 3 last year, has moved into the top spot. That’s a significant leap, especially for a player with just one year of varsity high school experience, but Parzick is a year-round player and has looked comfortable at the top of Bow’s ladder.

“Olivia has made that adjustment (to being No. 1) and she has gained a lot more confidence in herself. You can just see the maturity has arrived this year, for sure,” Rainville said. “She’s definitely much more consistent this season, too. Her serve is more consistent. Her ground strokes are more consistent. She’s waiting for her moment before she attacks now. She’s not rushing things, where last year it seemed like she was rushing everything. Like she couldn’t wait to win the point, even if it wasn’t the time to win it.”

Seniors Emma Conley, Lauren Goyette and Miah Munro are all back in the top six for Bow. Conley was No. 4 last year and has bumped up to No. 2 this season. Goyette has gone from No. 5 to No. 3 and Munro has jumped from No. 6 to No. 4. All three of them were newcomers to the sport when they were freshman, but now they all take the court with years of experience and championship credentials.

“All three of them are good athletes who have acclimated themselves to tennis,” Rainville said.

Senior Isabelle Dolcino and junior Alyssa Harpring have broken into the top six for the first time this spring, Dolcino at No. 5 and Harpring at No. 6.

“(Dolcino and Harpring) started off the first couple of matches a little nervous and maybe wondering what they’re doing up here, but they’ve gained a little bit of confidence in the last few matches,” Rainville said. “They’re doing well and I think they’re pretty happy with themselves.”

They shouldn’t get complacent, however. Rainville said that junior Madeline Lessard, currently No. 7 on the ladder, could easily win a challenge match and pop into the top six at any time. The coach also said she wouldn’t be surprised if Dolcino or Harpring moved up the ladder.

“Our number two through number seven are all about equal,” Rainville said.

That depth will be challenged more this year than it has been in the past, “the big difference I see in the D-II teams so far is that their ladders go much deeper than the D-III teams,” Rainville said.

That means that the Falcons will likely need to win some doubles matches this year, which is different than the last two years when they clinched almost every match by winning at least five of the six singles matches. And doubles has been the only hiccup for Bow this season – the only two blemishes on the team’s record are losses for Parzick and Conley at No. 1 doubles.

Rainville has no intention of rearranging her doubles pairs. The coach said Conley brings a sense of calm to the court that Parzick embraces, and Rainville likes the other doubles teams of Goyette and Munro (who were also soccer teammates at Bow) and Dolcino and Harpring. But Rainville does know the doubles play will have to improve for Bow to challenge D-II’s big guns.

“We really need to strengthen our doubles if we’re going to make a run for anything toward the end of the year,” Rainville said.

The Falcons know all about what it takes to make a season-closing run. They’ve been to eight straight D-III semifinals, six of the last eight finals and won the title in 2011, ’13, ’17 and ’18. They also know making it that far in D-II will be more of a challenge.

“The second half of the season may be a different story because we meet some pretty tough teams,” Rainville said, “but hopefully we’ll be ready for it.”

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3341 or tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20)



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