December 6, 2021

Lyme-Old Lyme Girl’s Tennis are Class S State Champions for First Time in School History!

The Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) Girl’s Tennis team poses with the Class S state championship trophy yesterday after defeating Litchfield 5-2.

LYME/OLD LYME — The top-seeded Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) girl’s tennis team became the CIAC Class S state champions yesterday for the first time in school history when they stormed to  a 5-2 victory over #2 seeds Litchfield yesterday.  The tournament final was played indoors at the Magic Lincer Tennis Club in Manchester.

The Old Lyme girls finished the season undefeated at 20-0 and also won the Shoreline Conference title along the way.

Asked how she felt about this extraordinarily successful season, team coach Lauren Rahr, who is also a math teacher at LOLHS, responded, “It has been such an amazing season with a wonderful group of girls. When I woke up this morning I still couldn’t believe that we actually won a state tournament!”

The LOLHS Girl’s Tennis Team first-year coach Lauren Rahr accepts the Class S state championship trophy after her team’s win Thursday.

She continued, “This year was my first year coaching tennis. Previously, I had played tennis for Waterford High School and Endicott College. It was always my dream to teach math at a high school and coach their girls tennis team. Being hired at Old Lyme provided me with the opportunity to pursue these goals.”

Rahr added, “Going into this season, I didn’t want to let the girls down, and I hoped that they would all get along and win some matches. But what actually happened this season was more special than I ever imagined. The minute I saw them play and really compete on the court I knew we had something special.”

Describing the team overall, Rahr said, “Out of my 10 starting varsity players, one had competed in a varsity high school match before this season. There was a lot of nerves and inexperience when it came to match play, but each practice we ran mental toughness drills or talked tennis strategies to help bring the girls to the level they competed at all season long.”

Noting, “Tennis is such a wonderful sport because anyone can step on the court and swing a racket, Rahr pointed out, “But what makes a tennis player special is when they can analyze their short and their opponent’s shots. I like to call this “smart tennis” and by the end of the season all of my girls had accomplished this. Our change over conversations went from me doing most of the talking to them giving me detailed recollections of things they noticed and strategies they were using.”

In terms of statistics, Rahr recalled that, “During the regular season, the team competed at a high level winning 11 of their 16 matches 7-0. Three of my players went on to win the Shoreline conference individual tournament: Lauren Wallace and Alexis Fenton won the doubles draw and Samantha Tan won the ¾ singles draw.” She highlighted, “These three players were able to remain undefeated in post-season play as well as regular season. Livie Bass (four singles) was undefeated in team matches and clinched us both our semi-final win and our finals win.”

The LOLHS Girl’s Tennis team members deservedly celebrate being #1 in Class S statewide!

Talking specifically about the championship final, Rahr said, “Yesterday, every single girl went out on the court fighting not just for themselves, but for the team. This group of girls has passion, drive, and huge hearts. I feel so lucky and honored to have been able to coach them this year.”

She explained further, “During yesterday’s match, we knew winning doubles would put us in a good spot. My number one doubles pair of Lauren Wallace and Alexis Fenton won their match in record time, executing flawless doubles strategies, placement, and communication. Their win drove the momentum in our direction for the remainder of the match.”

She summed up Wallace and Fenton’s performance in the words, “Their leadership throughout the season has been a big part of our success.”

Rahr concluded, “This is one of those once in a lifetime moments that I will never forget, and I hope the girls will always remember too. No matter what else comes my way with coaching, I don’t know if anything can top this moment with this special group of girls.”

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