Fruita’s Gaglione sees highs and lows of playing singles
Grace Gaglione is finding out how much different it is playing singles instead of doubles on the tennis court.
The Fruita Monument High School junior experienced joy and frustration Friday in the first day of the Western Slope Invitational at the new Elliott Tennis Center facility on the campus of Mesa State College.
Gaglione, who moved up from No. 1 doubles last year, won her first-round match at No. 2 singles before losing 6-3, 5-7, (10-5) to Chatfield’s Rachel Frisz in the quarterfinals.
“It’s a lot different, but I think I like it,” Gaglione said of playing singles. “I won my first match, so that was a confidence booster. This player (Frisz), she chops and I’m just not used to that. It was an adjustment.
“I’m learning it’s all on you (in singles). It’s nice to have yourself to rely on, I think.”
For many players, the first day of the 16-team tournament was a learning experience.
The Grand Junction girls seemed to pick it up pretty quickly, advancing all but one singles player to the semifinals, which begin at 8 this morning. Some of the consolation matches that were postponed Friday because of rain will start at 7:30 a.m.
The Tigers are tied with Steamboat Springs for first place through the quarterfinals (not including consolation matches) with 159 points. Chatfield is third with 150, Denver East is fourth with 102 and Fruita Monument is fifth with 99.
“We had a good day,” Grand Junction coach Carol Ellliott said. “We played well. We played some good teams and stuck with it.
“When you play some matches, it’s amazing how quick you pick up on things.”
Grand Junction’s Alex Proietti has played No. 2 singles before and that experience helped her to win two matches and advance to today’s semifinals.
“I have a lot of goals this year having played two singles last year,” Proietti said. “It’s exciting to come out with a totally different attitude than last season.
“It was a little bit intimidating moving up from doubles to singles (last year). It’s nice to see I can play with these girls.”
Grand Junction’s No. 3 singles player, Anna McGinnis, proved she can play and win after moving up from No. 4 doubles. The senior won both of her matches in straight sets to reach the semifinals.
The Tigers’ four doubles teams all advanced to the semifinals with little trouble.
The No. 2 duo of Jillian Arja and Nicki Arja, though, had to rally from one set down to defeat Fruita Monument’s Sierra Segrest and Courtlyn Carpenter 5-7, 6-3, (12-10).
“Fruita came out strong and played well,” Elliott said. “We stuck together, got some balls back in play and started attacking the net. It was a good match.”
Fruita’s No. 4 doubles team of Bronte Hayward and McKenna Griffiths reached the semifinals with a pair of straight-set victories.
The freshmen defeated Denver East’s Blake Goldstein and Sarah Naughtan 6-4, 7-5 in the quarterfinals.
“It was a stressful match,” Bronte Hayward said. “We had to stay aggressive and trust our shots.”
“We were up 5-2 and got overconfident,” Griffiths admitted.