WOONSOCKET — Woonsocket High coach Tony Ciresi and Shea mentor Kate Corry didn’t expect anything different when their Division III squads faced each other on Monday afternoon.
After two-plus hours at the Aylsworth Ave. Courts, it was the Villa Novans that earned the win, defeating the Raiders, 4-3. The last match to leave the courts proved to be the difference as the No. 3 doubles’ team of Janessa Shyabouth and Diana Inthisone breezed to a 6-2, 6-3 victory over the Raiders’ Emenzialina Moreira and Vanda DeBrito.
In their other match this season, held last Monday at the Duffy Courts, Shea walked off with an identical 4-3 score.
“We definitely knew it would be close,” Corry said. “We went up 3-1 after the singles last week and we knew it was going to come down to the doubles. It’s two evenly-matched teams and we knew it could go either way.”
The Villa Novans, who improved to 3-5 in III-North, have been inspired from above lately. Inthisone’s older brother, Victor, passed away two weeks ago and yesterday’s match was her first time back on the court.
Her cousin, junior Amy Boutsabouabane, earned the biggest point of the afternoon, winning at No. 4 singles with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 over Darlene Cante. Boutsabouabane gained the Villa Novans’ first point of the match after Shea’s top two singles’ players Christy Guerrero and Haley Knight each had two-set triumph. More importantly, after Shea’s Kassandra Florez outlasted Victoria Neckham at No. 3 singles, it stopped the Raiders from winning the match at singles and allowed the Villa Novans’ strong doubles’ teams to determine the outcome.
“That was the difference,” Ciresi stated. “If she doesn’t win that, we never get to the last match.”
Boutsaboubane admitted it was her late cousin that gave her the motivational boost to come out on top. Last week, she also had the deciding point in the Villa Novans’ 4-3 victory over Cranston East. After losing her first six matches of the season, the determined junior has now won two straight.
“I just started playing well since my cousin passed away,” Boutsaboubane said. “He makes me want to live like for him so I have been trying to win all my matches. I just want to win every match.”
Guerrero, a senior, earned the first point of the afternoon when she defeated Novan sophomore Malina Phommachanh, 6-2, 6-2, at the top singles’ spot. Shea took its 2-0 advantage about 10 minutes later when Knight beat Woonsocket senior Erika Phengvasy with scores of 6-4, 6-3.
After Boutsaboubane got her crucial points at fourth singles, Woonsocket knotted the score at 2 when its No. 1 doubles team of Connie Chung and Angela Viphakone took a 6-3, 6-3 decision over Shea’s Loriana Barbosa and Kyara McGahee.
“Christy Guerrero, at No. 1, that’s a solid point,” Corry said. “No. 2, Haley, had played well against their No. 2 last week, so anything could happen from that point on.”
Woonsocket won its third straight match and took its first lead at 3-2 after a win by its second doubles’ team of Kerri Darling and Brenda Shatee.
Darling has sort of been a leader by example for the Villa Novans this year.
‘She a senior and this is her fourth year,” Ciresi said. “Not only has she improved every year but she is clearly the leader of the team. She speaks up. She brings them all together. They all get along and she is a cohesive force.”
The Raiders’ Florez won a tight 6-4, 7-6, 6-4 triumph over Neckham to force the winner-take-all match at third doubles.
Shea and Woonsocket have a busy week ahead with both squads competing four times. The Raiders host unbeaten Ponaganset on Tuesday and Scituate on Thursday at the Duffy Courts and face crosstown rival Tolman Friday afternoon at Slater Park. The Villa Novans play host to winless St. Raphael Academy Tuesday and then have back-to-back, away-home matches with Ponaganset on Thursday and Friday.
Woonsocket 4, Shea 3
Singles – Christy Guerrero, S, def. Malina Phommachanh 6-2, 6-2; Haley Knight, S, def. Erika Phengyasy 6-4, 6-3; Kassandra Florez, S, def. Victoria Neckham 6-4, 6-7, 6-4; Amy Boutsabouabane, W, def. Darlene Cante 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Doubles – Connie Chung-Angela Viphakone, W, def. Loriana Barbosa-Kyara McGahee 6-3, 6-3; Kerri Darling-Brenda Shatee, W, Angelina Fang-Victoria Araujo 6-1, 6-2; Janessa Shyabouth-Diana Inthisone, W, def. Emenzialina Moreira-Vanda DeBrito 6-2, 6-1.