Clio Barr won a good chunk of her matches, besting most of the Mountain Valley Conference’s top competition, and played deeper in the state singles tournament than she ever had before.

But it was what the Hall-Dale junior did in a match that wasn’t played — or finished, actually — that demonstrated her might with a racket in hand.

“Early in the season, we played Boothbay in the Hall-Dale tournament,” Hall-Dale coach Guy Cousins said. “She squared off against Olivia Zaragozi and lost the first set, 6-7 (8-6). Clio then won the second set 6-3 and she was up 4-2 in the third when it started raining. I went out to tell her that we would have to abandon the match. It didn’t go over well.

“For someone who is non-confrontational, I could tell she wasn’t happy. She just stared at me the whole time. I promised myself I’d never step out on the court again to tell her she’d had to leave.”

Barr played out the rest of the season, finishing 9-3 at No. 1 singles. She reached the Round of 32 in the singles tournament and led the Bulldogs to a runner-up finish in the MVC.

For her accomplishments this spring, Barr is the Kennebec Journal Girls Tennis Athlete of the Year. Winthrop’s Emmah Spahr and Barr’s Hall-Dale teammate Nicole Pelletier were also considered.

“I built up a lot of confidence throughout the year,” Barr said. “The coaches helped me gain confidence. I really focused on the mental part of my game. I love the game and love to play. That match against Boothbay really stands out. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to finish it off. I was pretty upset. I didn’t want to be rude, but I was definitely upset about it.”

Barr earned a bye into the Round of 32 thanks to a strong regular season.

Her run ended there, however, as she dropped a 6-3, 6-1 decision to Caty Galligan of Cheverus.

“I was pleased because I made it farther than I ever had,” said Barr, who went 9-4 last season and 14-2 at No. 2 singles in her freshman year. “My nerves got to me in the first set. It’s something I’m working on. I just didn’t play my best tennis that day. I certainly would’ve loved to make it to the Round of 16, but I still have one more shot next year. I’m hoping for the best next year.”

Added Cousins: “She is mature in her thinking. She doesn’t get too high or too low. Clio is just a great student of the game. She breaks the game down easily. There are not a lot of unforced errors with her. She has great footwork and uses the court well. The most important shot for her is the next one. She just has that ability to let go and be ready for next one.”

Hall-Dale entered the season as the three-time defending MVC champ. The run came to an end this season when the Bulldogs fell to St. Dominic 3-2 in the conference championship.

“We knew the competition was getting better,” Cousins said. “We worked on our fitness even more. We wanted to get to all the places on the court and try to reduce the amount of unforced errors. We gave it a good run. We should be strong next year.”

Especially with Barr back at No. 1 singles.

“I can’t wait,” she said. “I’m sure we’ll be ready.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5618

[email protected]

Twitter: @billstewartmtm


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