Three words come to mind with this year’s Varsity Tennis team: Cohesive, Talented, and Unbeatable. – Coach Karen Naylor-Riobueno P’13
“Each player on the 12-0 Varsity Tennis team brought unique strengths, which combined for a very successful team, a team that was able to win the Eastern Independent League regular season title with a startling record of 8-0 (10-0 overall) and win the EIL Tournament,” says ten-year Newton Country Day School Coach and Spanish teacher Karen Naylor-Riobueno P’13. Naylor-Riobueno is a former intercollegiate coach and player for the Venezuelan National Tennis Team, and a USPTR Tennis Professional.
“Newton Country Day Varsity Tennis opened the regular season with a 5-0 win over Dana Hall, followed by eight consecutive wins, and culminated the season with an intense and close match against Beaver Country Day - an undefeated team until it played Newton Country Day,” she says.
Seeded first in the May 19 EIL Tournament “A” Pool, the Sacred Heart team won the EIL Tournament trophy by sweeping Winsor 5-0 in the Semifinals and defeating Portsmouth Abbey 3-2 in the Finals.
EIL coaches took notice. An unprecedented seven Newton Country Day tennis players won EIL All-League Awards and Coach Naylor-Riobueno was named EIL Tennis Coach of the Year.
Unbeatable Regular Season Leads to EIL Tournament Championship
Varsity Tennis is a young team led by three graduating seniors. All played on Newton Country Day tennis teams for four years and all are doubles players: Co-Captains C. Sanders ’12 and C. Dubuque ’12, and EIL Honorable Mention All-League M. Delaney ’12. The senior trio combined for a winning 15-3 match record.
Co-Captain-elect A. Riobueno-Naylor ’13, the only player representing the junior class, was undefeated in match play. Playing second and third singles and first doubles, she posted an impressive 8-0 season record, winning 14 of her 16 season sets by a decisive margin of 6-1 or better. For a third consecutive year Riobueno-Naylorwas named EIL All-League, this year as the EIL Third-Singles Player.
Four sophomores served up powerful games to their opponents and EIL coaches returned the effort awarding all four EIL All-League status. MVP C. Joyce ’14, the EIL First Singles Player, closed the season 11-1, winning a total of 20 sets, 13 of them by a margin of 6-1 or better. She lost only two sets. Always the first to post a win for the team, she set the pace for the entire season, winning the EIL Semifinal Tournament match against Winsor 8-1 and sweeping Portsmouth Abbey in the Championship match 6-1, 6-1. Joyce was a serious contender for the 2012 EIL MVP.
EIL Second Singles Award-winner and co-captain-elect, A. Saraceno ’14, also finished 11-1 for the season, winning seven sets at 6-1 or better. Saraceno paired with A. Riobueno-Naylor ’13 and C. Dubuque ’12 for three doubles matches and won all three. Playing second singles for seven sets, she lost only to Concord. She defeated Dana in a pair of 6-0 sets in the third singles slot and crushed Southfield in an 8-0 match playing first singles.
EIL Doubles Award-winners are S. Jackson ’14 (10-2) and K. Saraceno ’15 (11-1). The doubles duo paired against seven schools in the regular season and defeated all of them. Jackson also teamed with C. Joyce ’14 for a winning doubles match against Southfield and played in the third singles slot in an early season match against Pingree and again in the EIL Semifinal Tournament against Winsor, winning both matches.
As one of three players to play in all 12 season matches, K. Saraceno ’15 also played four singles matches and won all four playing in the second slot. Five of her seven singles sets were won with a 6-1 victory or better. She is the school’s first freshman to be recognized by opposing coaches as an EIL All-League player for Varsity Tennis.
Doubles player and EIL All-League Honorable Mention N. DeSimone ’14 paired with M. Delaney ’12 for nine matches, winning six of them, and with C. Sanders ’12 for two matches for a split – winning the EIL Tournament Championship doubles match 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. EIL All-League honorees DeSimone, A. Saraceno ’14, and S. Jackson ’14 also earned EIL Honorable Mention All-League as freshman varsity players.
“Varsity Tennis set goals early in the season,” says Coach Naylor-Riobueno. “As teammates they committed to be dedicated, supportive, flexible, and dependable;as players they would be determined, even-tempered, fair, consistent and smart.Their goals gave meaning to each practice and gave purpose to each match. This was a team of players who could play both singles and doubles with equal dexterity. This was a team that understood the game deeply.”
Congratulations to the undefeated EIL Varsity Tennis Champions!