Playing to strengths: Opposites make great pairing for Green Wave

Published 7:25 am Saturday, March 12, 2022

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NATCHEZ — Cathedral sophomore Graci Gamberi and her teammate junior Bella Milligan won their first match together 7-5, 6-3 against St. Aloysius on Thursday. Opposites must make a great pair because the two are best friends and are so different from each other. 

Gamberi is in her first year playing tennis and is shorter than Milligan. Her net play is excellent as her cat-like reflexes and quick hands allow her to return volleys at short range. Milligan is tall and has played tennis since she was a little girl. Her serves are powerful and accurate. Experience and close friendship helped the duo get their first win of the season.

“My mom played tennis so she made me play tennis when I was little. I went to lessons and I started playing for Cathedral in seventh grade,” Milligan said. “I like playing doubles way more than singles. It is easier to have someone with you than playing by yourself. We play basketball together and dance. We are into every sport and we are together all the time. We know we can trust each other” 

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Gamberi started playing tennis because her aunt played and thought it would be a good spring sport for her to try. She decided to give it a try and has enjoyed the game so far. 

Her team is fun and they are supportive. Many stay to cheer on teammates after their matches are done. 

Milligan said it felt pretty good to get the win Thursday because the two fought through mental errors. They pulled through and played to each other’s strengths, Gamberi said. 

“There was a time where Bella was back and I was at the net. She was getting the balls that got past me and hitting them well and I was getting everything at the net,” Gamberi said. “I think I have natural talent for net play. I play softball and it helped me be quick on my toes. Same with basketball too.” 

Serves are an important aspect of tennis and Milligan has mastered the art. She said she has had the same serve since she was little. Gamberi regards her as a great server. 

The pair have a goal for the season, never stop winning. 

“We want to keep winning and make it to South State,” Milligan said. 

“We want to have each other’s backs and play well together,” Gamberi said.