Saugus tennis wins thriller at Hart 

Saugus Centurions singles one player Julissa Diaz returns a serve with a backhand during her singles match against Golden Valley’s Charlotte Saltz at the Saugus High School tennis courts on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022. Chris Torres/The Signal

Centurions girls’ tennis (8-2, 4-0) won a nailbiter at Hart (6-4, 3-2) on Friday, narrowly defeating the Indians, 9-9 (87-79). 

Saugus earned five wins from singles and four from doubles while Hart scored the opposite to equalize at nine points. 

The game would be decided by set scores, which Saugus led by eight. 

Hart’s Mia Shields would be the only singles player to win all three of her matches. The Indians No. 1 finished her day with 6-2, 7-5 and 6-3 wins. 

Saugus singles No. 1 Julissa Diaz and No. 2 Shaine Salonga would each pick up wins against Hart’s No. 2 and No. 3. 

Salonga played in a pair of long matches, winning one 7-5 and dropping one 5-7 to Shields. 

Saugus typically shines on doubles starting with No. 1 doubles Kelsie Lammens-Ross and Madi Vianzon. The two swept their matches, winning 7-5, 7-5 and 6-2. 

Hart No. 1 duo of Teagan Heinze and Em Porter would be pushed all day long. The two dropped their opening match to Lammens-Ross and Vianzon but won lengthy games with scores of 6-4 and 7-5. 

Heinze and Porter came out smoking and took a 5-2 lead over Lammens-Ross and Vianzon. However, Saugus kept fighting and somehow managed to steal the set 7-5. 

Hart doubles team of Teagan Heinze, rear, and Em Porter compete against Valencia at Hart High School on Tuesday, 092022. Dan Watson/The Signal

“It takes a lot of hard work and focus to come back from that deficit, especially against a good No. 1 team like Teagan and Em,” said Saugus head coach Bailey Sindle. “Kelsie and Madi made some adjustments and had some smart shots, which really helped them out of that hole. It’s been so fun to watch these two play together. You can see the fun they are having on court and I think that’s part of the reason why they are so strong right now.” 

The Indians’ No. 2 doubles pair, Mia Rodriguez and Clairde Richardi, also won two matches, 6-4 and 6-3. 

The game was tight all day and no one could tell who’d pull away and win. Hart and Saugus ended the first round tied 3-3. 

Saugus would hold a 9-8 lead with just one match left on the day. The Indians would need a big win from Heinze and Porter and the No. 1 team came through with their 6-4 win over the Saugus No. 2 pair. 

The tiebreaker count was close but Saugus’ pair of 6-0 wins in singles would do the damage and push the Centurions to victory. 

“The grit the girls showed today is why we won,” said Sindle. “I am so incredibly proud of each one of them and we are hopeful to carry this momentum into next week.” 

Saugus will look to carry its hot start in league play into this week when they face West Ranch on Wednesday and Valencia on Thursday. Hart played a very competitive week and will look to bounce back with two league matches with Golden Valley. 

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