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Senior Lily Mezzi recently began her second campaign playing No. 3 singles for the North Haven girls’ tennis team. (Photo courtesy of Lily Mezzi )
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Lily Mezzi has been playing tennis since she was in elementary school. Lily’s parents, Gary and Michelle, would routinely hit the courts, and it didn’t take long for Lily to take an interest in the game. Lily wound up joining the girls’ tennis team at North Haven High School, where the senior is in her second season playing the No. 3 singles position.
“Neither ever played for teams, but they’d go to the courts and just play. Both of them playing got me into it,” says Lily of her parents’ influence. “Towards the end of elementary school, I did clinics. Then the year before my freshman year, I also did lessons at North Haven Health and Racquet.”
One of the things that drew Lily to tennis was the ease of getting out there and playing. While she used to play youth soccer, Lily likes how you only need one other participant to get going on the tennis court.
“I just always liked the game and like how you can play without a whole team there,” Lily says. “For soccer, you need a whole team to get better, while with tennis, just you and one other person can go to the courts and play. I liked that aspect.”
Lily earned her spot as North Haven’s No. 3 singles player last year and recorded nine wins for the Indians. She’s off to a 1-1 start this season. Head Coach Bob Migliorini says that Lily is a great fit in the singles lineup for his team.
“Lily is a really steady player. She keeps the ball in play, she runs balls down, and doesn’t make a lot of unforced errors, which is what I look for in the singles players in my lineup,” says Migliorini. “Lily is very even-keeled, so she keeps calm and has a good head on her shoulders. She doesn’t get flustered and doesn’t let the mental side of the game be a detriment to her.”
Lily saw some time in both singles and doubles as a sophomore. Lily believes that she’s best suited to play singles, where the outcome is always on her shoulders.
“I’ve always preferred singles. I just like the aspect that you have more control over the game,” Lily says. “You don’t have to worry about someone else. You just need to focus on yourself to get better.”
North Haven features a deep team with plenty of senior leadership this season. Lily says that she loves the energy on the squad. Although she isn’t a captain, Lily knows that she’s looked upon as a role model for the Indians’ younger players.
“I think a big part of the team is, even though we’re not all on the court playing, we’re there to support each other. After varsity matches, being on the sidelines to support JV really helps them,” says Lily. “It’s cool because, all the girls in the lineup are good, and a lot of the underclassmen that are not in the lineup are good, too. Watching everyone get better is motivating. Everyone is trying their hardest, which motivates you to also try your hardest.”
Coach Migliorini says that Lily has a knack for grinding out long points during her matches. Lily feels that her ability to keep a rally going is one of her greatest strengths between the baselines.
“I realized that, even if I don’t have the hardest shot, I can keep the game going. If I can keep the other girl moving, I can normally win the point,” Lily says. “When I’m further back and doing long shots is when I’m most consistent. I’m good at placing balls far back and not making it an easy shot.”
Lily isn’t going to pursue tennis in college, but she plans to keep playing the game, just like her parents. For her senior year, Lily wants North Haven to continue its winning tradition by qualifying for the Class M State Tournament.
“It would be nice to get to states again,” says Lily. “We’ve made it every year I’ve been here, so I would like to keep that going.”
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