WEST NEWBURY – Just four regular season matches separate Pentucket junior tennis star Coli Downey and an undefeated record; a testament to the unwavering devotion she gives to the sport and a relentless effort to grasp her goals.
“I played soccer in elementary school,” Downey said. “When I realized that I had a talent for tennis and wanted to go far with it, I had to quit.”
Since then, she has worked seven days a week to perfect her craft, learn the game and wreak havoc in the Cape Ann League. So far she is a perfect 9-0 on the regular season, and she has won all but one match in straight sets.
“Against Hamilton-Wenham is the only match so far that I’ve split sets,” she said. “I won the first set and lost the second. Coach Beaton came up to me and told me that the weight of the team was on my shoulders. He said it was my time to help the team and show everybody what I have.”
“(Coach Beaton) really motivates me and tells me to do what I know I can do, and be comfortable and confident in my shots,” she continued. “He wants me to hold my spot as well and lead the team in the spot that I’m in.”
Downey won the third set 6-1, and as a result Pentucket won the match 3-2.
Pentucket currently sits at 7-6 on the season, and given that the Sachems only need to finish at .500 or better to make the postseason, a tournament bid is still very much in the cards. This past weekend, Downey also made a run for an individual state championship, though she wound up falling just short after she lost to the No. 2 player in the state in yesterday’s North semifinals match.
“All of the teams send their first singles player,” Pentucket head coach Bill Beaton said. “Coli won her first round match against a player from Chelmsford 6-1, 6-2, and then she got a bye in the second round because of her seeding. In the third round, she played a singles player from Manchester-Essex and won 6-2, 6-1.”