STONINGTON — Stonington High freshman Maddie Hamm had some pretty big shoes to fill this season.
Namely those of Gabby Dellacono, the 2018 undefeated state singles champion who will play for Brown University in the fall.
But Hamm stepped into the No. 1 singles slot for the girls tennis team and excelled. She was unbeaten in the regular season and the ECC tournament (22-0), and won the league singles tournament.
She was also recognized for her achievements by being selected to the ECC Division I first team.
"The word had come to me that she was a very good player," longtime Stonington coach George Crouse said. "I saw her hit at Mystic Indoor and knew she could play.
Dellacono showed she was among Stonington's best players ever last season.
Dellacono, a junior then, put together a 27-0 record and won the State Open singles crown. She never lost a match to an ECC opponent in her career. This season, she was expected to be the favorite to win the title again.
But she suffered an injury and never played a match for the Bears, and that left Hamm as the top singles player.
Hamm responded with a 22-2 season.
"She works hard," Crouse said. "If everyone worked as hard as her, we would have a bunch of All-State-potential players. Her work ethic has carried her to where she is, the best in the ECC as a freshman."
Hamm spends most of her time on the baseline.
"She's a backboard, very quick, very mobile," Crouse said. She chases everything down."
Stonington's top doubles team of senior Cassie Onorato and sophomore Amelia Caron earned first-team ECC-Division I honors. They were the ECC champions and finished 21-2 on the season.
"Cassie would keep the ball in play and sharpshoot it to the back, and Amelia would clean it up at the net. Amelia had multiple volley winners at the net during the season," Crouse said.
Senior Ainsley Johnstone was Division I honorable mention in singles, and freshmen Katie Johnstone and Chloe Morehouse earned the honor in doubles.
Ainsley Johnstone was 7-5 at No. 2 singles and missed a number of matches with an injury.
Katie Johnstone and Chloe Morehouse finished 15-3 in doubles.
Senior Holly Foster was the ECC sportsmanship winner, and Ainsley Johnstone won the scholar-athlete award.
Stonington finished 16-2 and lost to Weston in its second match of the Class S tournament. Weston ended up winning the Class S title, taking all four matches by 7-0 margins.
"I'm very, very proud of the kids this year," Crouse said. "We were a very, very young team. We basically had to replace eight players."