Nighthawks Competing with Experience on the Courts
After making a run to the semifinals of the Class L State Tournament last year, the North Haven girls’ tennis team entered this season featuring many of the same players from its 2021 club. Head Coach Bob Migliorini said that he’s expecting the Nighthawks to make another run in the postseason and is hoping that the team’s overall experience can help guide them there.
“It was exciting to get back on the courts. We had a really strong team last year and we had many of the girls coming back,” Migliorini said. “It was good to finally start getting going.”
North Haven posted victories in both of its matches last week to improve its record to 5-2 on the year. The Nighthawks earned a 7-0 win at Sheehan on April 18 before edging out Jonathan Law by a 4-3 score in a home match on April 20.
Senior captain Ally Vollero, freshman Sophia Padro, and junior Taylor Morris each claimed a 6-0, 6-0 victory at the No. 1 through 3 singles positions, respectively, when North Haven defeated Sheehan. Junior Risa Tobin prevailed by a 6-0, 6-2 score in the No. 4 singles match for the Nighthawks.
North Haven’s No. 1 doubles team of senior Noelle Carmody and sophomore Sonia Temfack notched a 6-2, 7-6 win versus Sheehan. The team of sophomores Chandler Morris and Alyssa Cherian won the No. 2 doubles match by a 6-0, 6-0 score; and the Nighthawks’ No. 3 team of sophomore Samantha Ide and freshman Emily Cerasoli netted a 6-0, 6-1 victory.
Padro, Taylor Morris, and Tobin all posted 6-0, 6-0 wins on the singles court in North Haven’s victory over Jonathan Law. Chandler Morris and Cherian earned a 6-1, 6-4 win to help the Nighthawks take the contest by a 4-3 score.
“We played really well against Sheehan. Everyone won. Against Law, it was a little tighter,” said Coach Migliorini. “We won 2, 3, and 4 singles pretty easily. Second doubles pulled it away for the win. It was a good week for us with two more wins.”
Vollero is serving as the Nighthawks’ captain while playing No. 1 singles for North Haven. Coach Migliorini said that Vollero, a four-year member of the program, has gained the respect of her teammates and coaches. Migliorini adds that Vollero’s strong play on the court is matched by her quality leadership off of it.
“She’s been a part of this program for four years, and this is her fourth year in the lineup,” Migliorini said of Vollero. “She brings good leadership skills. The kids look up to her. She has great organizational skills and is a great communicator.”
Padro is currently serving as North Haven’s No. 2 singles player. While she’s only a freshman, Padro has gained ample experience playing on the United States Tennis Association circuit and came to the Nighthawks ready to prove herself.
Taylor Morris is in the No. 3 singles spot for North Haven, and Coach Migliorini said that she’s been playing some impressive tennis. Migliorini said the same thing about Tobin, who is the Nighthawks’ No. 4 singles player. From No. 1 to 4, Migliorini feels that North Haven’s singles lineup is a huge strength and that its performance will be crucial throughout the season.
“Our singles lineup is the strength of the team,” Migliorini said. “Three of our four singles players are back from last year. The one we didn’t have is a really strong player, currently playing No. 2.”
North Haven’s doubles’ lineup is where the Nighthawks lost the most players from last year’s squad, graduating their No. 1 and No. 2 teams. Coach Migliorini has been spending a lot of time working with his doubles duos. Migliorini said that opposing clubs have seen the Nighthawks’ loss, and now the coaching staff, which includes his daughter Alyssa, is working hard to help get the doubles teams up to speed and show that they can’t be overlooked.
North Haven’s No. 1 doubles team features Carmody and fellow senior Zeena Mohamed. The pair served as the team’s No. 3 doubles team last year and has seen a promotion this season.
Chandler Morris is the leader of the Nighthawks’ No. 2 doubles team. Morris’s partner has alternated between Ide and Sherain, with Migliorini saying that both athletes have played well.
The freshman duo of Cerasoli and Anna Hansard makes up North Haven’s No. 3 doubles team. While this is only their first year in the program, the tandem was worked its way into the starting lineup and earned some major wins.
However, even with some new people in the mix, North Haven does feature a roster made up mostly of veteran players this year. As the Nighthawks look to make their way back into the postseason, Coach Migliorini believes that their experience will be a pivotal factor in that mission.
“It’s really important having so many girls returning. They have all the experience from last year when we made the semifinals of the Class L State Tournament,” said Migliorini. “I knew we had a lot of good players coming back. Now, it’s about strengthening the doubles lineup.”
Coach Migliorini said that playoff expectations are nothing new for the North Haven girls’ tennis program. However, Migliorini realizes that before you can shine in states, you have to put in the work and prove why you belong.
“Our goal is always to reach the state tournament. We want to get to nine wins as soon as possible and go from there,” Migliorini said. “For us, we’re always trying to do great things in the postseason. But we have to get there first.”
The athletes in the North Haven girls’ tennis program are senior captain Ally Vollero; seniors Noelle Carmody, Juliana DeAngelo, Zoey LoPresti, Zeena Mohamed, and Taylor Morris; juniors Samantha Adams, Mia Crisci, Abigail Oduro, and Risa Tobin; sophomores Rachel Adams, Ava Belbusti, Alyssa Cherian, Alyssa Doraz, Nesibe Ergin, Chloe Halkovetz, Samantha Ide, Chandler Morris, Anita Sajan, Brina Shah, Casey Sibillo, Sonia Temfack, and Shen Wan; and freshmen Dina Alzahrani, Emily Cerasoli, Anna Hansard, and Sophia Padro.