Disbanding their successful doubles team act and making the transition to singles play was the next step for Mt. Blue tennis players Quintessa Marcotte and Gracie Ross.

“I think (singles play) is more independent,” Ross said. “I can’t get mad at anyone else except myself.” 

The best friends said there is a challenge to going it alone on the court without a partner — and Ross embraces being the whole ball of wax as a singles player.

“I think it was just a natural progression to play singles” Marcotte, a senior who also plays soccer, said. “I played with Gracie last year, who is our No. 1 right now. We just work really well together and we are out on the court as much as we can practicing singles.”

Inclement weather has forced the Cougars inside the gym for much of the preseason, and Marcotte and Ross have spent those moments indoors improving their singles game. Moving on is challenge, Marcotte said, because she enjoyed playing on the court with another teammate.

“I’ll definitely miss experiencing playing with a partner, but we are all still together and we are really close as a team,” she said. “Even when you are playing singles, you still feel the support of your team.”


Marcotte, though, likes facing those new challenges as a singles player.

“(It is) just a change to really experience a higher level of competition and to learn from your competitors and learn how to be a better player through the matches you play,” Marcotte said.We actually started playing together because we have been best friends our whole lives.”

Ross, a junior, also is a Nordic skier and soccer player, but she said tennis is her favorite sport.

“I think (tennis is) definitely the one with a lot less pressure and the most fun for me, personally,” Ross said. “I played a few singles matches last year, filling in for people who were injured or sick. … I think it was a good transition to this year playing singles.” 


Mt. Blue coach Griffin Conlogue said that Marcotte and Ross were “fantastic” as the Cougars’ No. 1 doubles team last season.


“They actually didn’t start the season together at doubles,” Conlogue said. “Tessa actually started the beginning of last season outside of our stating lineup, but worked really hard. She probably had the highest work ethic on the team last year and worked her way up playing with Gracie at first doubles. They went 3-0 as a doubles team last year.”

Graduations and other factors allowed the pair to move up to singles competition.

“… Gracie was our fourth-ranked player last year, so she moves up into first in our ladder with those graduations ahead of her,” Conlogue said. “Tessa was fifth in the ladder last season, so she is our second-ranked player this season.”

Conlogue said the pair’s high work ethic will be a plus during singles competitions.

“Well, they both played singles together a lot in  previous years outside the season,” he said. “They were the two kids that would stay every day after practice and hit with each other — and they cared a lot about getting better rapidly. Both have done individual training with camps and coaches, and Gracie competed in the singles tournament last year and also competed at the state’s singles qualifier last year, as well.”

The Mt. Blue coach describes Ross as a powerful hitter, who has impressive technique of sending the ball low over the net.


“She is really good at kind of dictating the pace of play,” Conlogue said.

Marcotte is kind of an unorthodox player, according Conlogue.

“She doesn’t have a ton of experience at singles, but at doubles she is really confident at the net — and if she can get to the net at singles, she is doing to a  lot damage there as well,” he said. “But she is really a confident and consistent player from the baseline as well.”

Conlogue describes the pair as intellectual players.

“They were both named captains this year. I have coached them since they were in middle school at soccer,” he said. ”I have always had a great coaching relationship with both of them. They are both high-IQ players.

“It is a young team, so their experience and leadership in demonstrating the proper way of playing tennis is really (important) to our new players in particular. … Their work ethic is really the key to the reason why we are so successful. and they put a lot of passion into the game of tennis.”

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