The East Greenwich High School Girls Varsity Tennis team has been killing it this year, finishing their regular season in Division I with a perfect 12-0 record. And, over the weekend, the team’s two top players met in the Singles State Championship, with Peri Sheinin beating reigning state champ Aleksandra Drljaca, 7-6, 6-4.
It’s been a good season so far.
On Thursday, they play Smithfield, the number four seed. If they win, they will compete for the state championship on Saturday (against either La Salle or North Kingstown). All this from a team that jumped up to Division One just last year.
Coach Marc Brocato said Wednesday that while having Sheinin and Drljaca has been a boon for the team, it’s the team’s “one heartbeat mentality” that’s made the difference this season.
“What I’m most proud of is we have a lot of kids who’ve come through the JV program,” Brocato said. “Rob [Petrucci] and I try really hard to create hard-working, winning attitudes and the team concept has been at the forefront this year.”
Drljaca, a senior and one of the team’s three captains, agrees.
“We’ve really put in the effort. We just have such a great team dynamic,” she said. She’s confident EG can do well in the playoffs, “as long as we play our game and don’t underestimate our opponents.”
As for losing to freshman Sheinin in the singles championship, Drljaca said she was just grateful to have been able to make it to the finals.
“I’ve had shin splints this whole season,” she said. “It’s been hard, not being able to practice as much as I usually do.”
Sheinin, at 4’10” and a mere 90 pounds, seems an unlikely tennis champion. But she uses her size to her advantage, moving fast.
“I have to stay focused on what’s most important,” she said of her victory Sunday. “I have to be calm and very quick.”
Sheinin, who has been playing tennis since she was 5 years old, said meeting her older teammate in the finals required even more focus than usual.
“I really respect Aleksandra. I had to really focus and just think, ‘There’s a ball coming over the net,’” not that she was playing against Drljaca.That approach seems to have worked.
The EG Girls Varsity Tennis Team plays Smithfield on Thursday afternoon at Slater Park in Pawtucket.