Holy Cross girls tennis ready for state tournament after NVL championship

The Holy Cross girls tennis team lost just once during the regular season, and picked up some major victories along the way.

The biggest regular season victories came during a Thursday doubleheader on May 12. Holy Cross knocked off Kennedy, 5-2, at home, then traveled to Crestbrook Park to face NVL power Watertown. The Crusaders bested the hosts in a tight matchup, 4-3.

In the NVL team tournament, Holy Cross turned up its play. The Crusaders shut out St. Paul in the quarterfinal round, 7-0, then beat Woodland in the semifinal round. Holy Cross played Watertown again in the NVL final, but emerged the second time with a 5-2 victory. The Crusaders won 1, 2 and 3 singles behind junior captain Michaela Bell, senior captain Ella Mancini and Kaya Bonderenko. Caitlyn Coletti and Julia Bell took the win at No. 2 doubles while C.C. Bunlue and Lyvia Bartoli claimed victory at No. 3 doubles. The Crusaders won their first NVL championship in 20 years.

Holy Cross is the No. 2 seed in the Class S state tournament and faces a familiar foe Tuesday in the first round. No. 18 St. Paul upended No. 15 Bolton, 4-3, in Bolton in a qualifying round matchup on May 27. The Falcons were tied, 3-3, with the Bulldogs, and it came down to No. 4 singles. Victoria Chandler won, 7-6, 6-2, to send St. Paul to a postseason rematch against Holy Cross.

GALLERY: Here are my photos from that NVL quarterfinal.

PHOTO CAPTION: Holy Cross senior captain Ella Mancini, seen here during a May 18 NVL quarterfinal against St. Paul, and the Crusaders won the league championship for the first time in 2002. Their first matchup in the Class S state tournament is a postseason rematch against the Falcons. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)