Back in a familiar position

Emilia Torresani, of Hanover, returns a ball to Katie Mulcahy, of Manchester Central during their NHIAA Division I quarterfinal match at Storrs Pond in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, May 26, 2023. Torresani won 9-7. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Emilia Torresani, of Hanover, returns a ball to Katie Mulcahy, of Manchester Central during their NHIAA Division I quarterfinal match at Storrs Pond in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, May 26, 2023. Torresani won 9-7. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley news photographs — James M. Patterson

Rachel Rockmore, of Hanover, left, and Emily Leclerc, of Manchester Central, right, greet each other as their first singles match is announced before their NHIAA Division I quarterfinal in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, May 26, 2023. Leclerc won 8-0. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Rachel Rockmore, of Hanover, left, and Emily Leclerc, of Manchester Central, right, greet each other as their first singles match is announced before their NHIAA Division I quarterfinal in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, May 26, 2023. Leclerc won 8-0. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Sophia Costa, of Hanover, stifles a smile after scoring on Emma Blaisdell, of Manchester Central during their NHIAA Division I quarterfinal match at Storrs Pond in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, May 26, 2023. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Sophia Costa, of Hanover, stifles a smile after scoring on Emma Blaisdell, of Manchester Central during their NHIAA Division I quarterfinal match at Storrs Pond in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, May 26, 2023. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news — James M. Patterson

Hanover's Mackenzie Liu, left, and Noura St. Hilaire, right, take the court for their doubles match during their NHIAA Division I quarterfinal at Storrs Pond in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, May 26, 2023. They won 8-2. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Hanover's Mackenzie Liu, left, and Noura St. Hilaire, right, take the court for their doubles match during their NHIAA Division I quarterfinal at Storrs Pond in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, May 26, 2023. They won 8-2. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

By BENJAMIN ROSENBERG

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 05-28-2023 8:39 AM

HANOVER — This time, the Hanover High girls tennis team took the more traditional path to the NHIAA Division I semifinals.

A year after the Bears, as the No. 6 seed, upset Bedford on the road to reach the last four, Hanover’s 12-2 regular-season record gave it a first-round bye and the right to stay home in the quarterfinals as the No. 3 seed. And the Bears punched their ticket to the semis for the third straight year with a 6-3 victory Friday over Manchester Central at Storrs Pond.

“The message has pretty much been the same the entire season,” Hanover coach Liz Murray said. “We just want everybody to play the best that they can, and my hope is that people keep growing from what they’re doing. Take the time, experiment when you can experiment and just have fun.”

After an 8-1 home loss to Bedford, the eventual top seed, on April 14, the Bears (13-2) reeled off nine consecutive wins before being edged by Dover, 5-4, on May 15. But Hanover closed the regular season with a 5-4 win over Derryfield, perennially one of the state’s top squads, on Senior Day.

“We’ve had a lot of close matches with Derryfield, and this, again, was a very close match, right up until the end (with) No. 3 doubles,” Murray said. “That was a really sweet victory for us as a team because we really wanted that win a lot to finish out our season.”

The Bears lost just two seniors from last year’s team and start three seniors and three sophomores in this year’s singles lineup. Sophomore Rachel Rockmore, who played at No. 2 last spring, moved up to the No. 1 slot, with senior co-captain Mackenzie Liu taking over the No. 2 position and sophomore Sophia Costa ascending two spots from No. 5 to No. 3.

The other captain, senior Noura St. Hilaire, has remained at No. 4, and two new faces — senior Emilia Torresani and sophomore Campbell White — fill out the lineup. Rachel Rockmore and Costa make the No. 1 doubles team, with Liu and St. Hilaire at No. 2 and junior Shayna Rockmore teaming with sophomore Hailey Pastel at No. 3.

“I don’t know if I could pick out one person. The team collectively has definitely come a long way and everyone individually has improved a lot,” Liu said. “All the doubles pairings work really well together.”

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Missing Dartmouth student’s body found in Connecticut River
Dartmouth faculty censures college president over response to protest
Search for missing Dartmouth graduate student ends tragically
Rivendell superintendent departure adds to district’s challenges
Affordable apartments slated for vacant city-owned land in Lebanon
NH Cold Case Unit searches Newport property

Rachel Rockmore had her work cut out for her Friday against Manchester Central’s top player, Emily Leclerc, who handed her a shutout loss at No. 1 singles. But Hanover swept the other five singles matches to clinch the win.

Liu’s 8-2 result at No. 2 was the most decisive, while St. Hilaire and White each posted 8-3 victories. Costa grinded out an 8-4 win at No. 3, but the match of the day belonged to Torresani, who rallied from a 7-3 deficit to win 9-7 at No. 5. The two co-captains also cruised to an 8-2 win at No. 2 doubles to make the Bears’ victory look more comfortable.

Tuesday’s semifinals will pit Hanover against a familiar foe — No. 2 seed Dover, which swept all nine matches to eliminate the Bears at this stage last year. But Hanover played the Green Wave to the wire just two weeks ago, which will give the Bears plenty of confidence as they make the trek to the Seacoast.

“It’s about the grit and sticking with it,” Murray said. “The girls on both sides are being asked of their opponents to play really strong and dynamic tennis, which is going to be a lot of fun to watch.”

<sbull value="sbull"><text xmlns="urn:schemas-teradp-com:gn4tera"></text></sbull>

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at brosenberg@vnews.com or 603-727-3302.