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Julia Migliorini recently capped off a high school tennis career that saw her post a record of 99-5 for North Haven. Migliorini earned several honors for her performance the last four years, including making All-State and being named the Southern Connecticut Conference Player of the Year in every season. (Photo courtesy of Bob Migliorini )
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Julia Migliorini proved a dominating force on the court for the North Haven girls’ tennis team throughout the past four seasons. This year, Julia completed her storybook career with the Indians by putting together her best campaign yet as their No. 1 singles player. A senior captain, Julia not only posted a record of 25-1 on her way to collecting a wealth of accolades, she also broke new ground by advancing to the semifinals of the State Open Championship for the first time.
Julia earned the No. 1 singles position as a freshman and held down that spot for the rest of her high school career. After losing her first match, Julia went undefeated in regular-season play during the next four years, winning every contest in straight sets. Julia netted at least 22 victories in each season and finished with a remarkable career record of 99-5 at North Haven.
Julia certainly filled up her trophy case and then some along the way. In addition to being a four-time All-Southern Connecticut Conference (SCC) and All-State honoree, Julia was also named the SCC Player of the Year all four years, made the New Haven Register’s All-Area Team four times, and was selected as the Register’s All-Area Most Valuable Player in her sophomore, junior, and senior seasons. On top of that, she was a four-time recipient of North Haven’s MVP Award. Julia will continue her career at the Division I level at Providence College in Rhode Island.
“Julia will go down as one of the greatest female tennis players in North Haven history. She had a fabulous career, and I’m incredibly proud of her,” said Bob Migliorini, who is North Haven’s head coach and Julia’s father. “After that first match, Amity’s coach Harold Freedman came up to me and said, ‘She’s the real deal.’ This is someone who’s seen 40-plus years of high school girls’ tennis, and he’s telling me that Julia is the real deal. She continued to improve her play and get a little bit better every year. To lose her first match as a freshman and never lose another one except for the State Open is incredible.”
To say that tennis is a big thing in the Migliorini family would be an understatement. Julia is the third Migliorini sibling to play No. 1 singles for the Indians, following in the footsteps of her older sisters Alyssa and Emily, who were also All-State players. Julia started competing in United States Tennis Association tournaments when she was seven and eventually made it into the top 10 in New England for the girls’ 10-and-under division. Years later, she earned a ranking in the top 20 for the 18-U division.
Julia learned a lot about the game by watching Alyssa and Emily play, in addition to talking tennis with her family on a regular basis. The success of her sisters motivated Julia to perform to her potential when it was her time for her to step on the high school court.
“I looked up to them, and I wanted to be just as good as them, if not better. Their style of play also influenced me. They are both very consistent, and I brought that into my game,” Julia says. “It definitely helped a lot. They would give me advice, and we’d have conversations at the dinner table. It was nice having them to talk to.”
Julia was nervous going into her freshman year, but she also felt like she was the underdog who had nothing to lose playing the top singles spot as a rookie. In her first match, Julia took a defeat to Amity’s Daphne Kreiger, who would become her rival in high school. Julia defeated Kreiger in their regular-season rematch and then lost to her in the State Open. Still, Julia notched a record of 22-2 on her way to making All-SCC, All-State, and All-Area, as well as being selected as the SCC Player of the Year and North Haven’s MVP—five distinctions that she would repeat in each of the subsequent seasons.
“It was very rewarding. I felt like everything that I had been working for was finally being shown,” says Julia. “But at the same time, I put more pressure on myself for the next three years, because I felt like there was a target on my back. I felt like I had to be better the next year, and that made me want to work harder.”
The only accolade that Julia didn’t take home as a freshman was the Register’s All-Area MVP distinction. Instead, that went to Kreiger, who essentially locked up the award when she defeated Julia at the State Open.
In her sophomore season, Julia squared off against the senior Kreiger two times and won both matches in straight sets, including in the third round of the Open. When the Register handed out its MVP Award, there was no doubt that Julia was going to be the recipient this time around. She went 26-1 that year.
“The All-Area MVP was a huge motivation for me. I know that last match I played at the Open my freshman year determined it, and I kicked myself after that match and wished that I had done better and played differently,” Julia says. “All of those components made me want to win All-Area MVP and beat her. I think with the experience I had gained and becoming more confident and mentally tougher on the court, I had an edge over her sophomore year.”
Julia posted an identical record of 26-1 in a junior season that saw her advance to the State Open quarterfinals. Entering her senior year, Julia wanted to leave it all on the court and conclude her high school career on a positive note. Her biggest goal was to make it to the semifinal round at the Open.
After tearing through her regular-season opponents, Julia entered the State Open as the No. 4 seed, meaning that she needed to reach the semis in order to uphold her ranking. In the third round, Julia faced Emma Caldwell of Wilton and fell into a 4-1 deficit during the first set. Julia battled back to knot the score and force a tiebreaker that she won to take the opening frame. In the second set, Julia gave up a 3-0 lead, but then won the last three games of the match to claim a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 victory.
“I just kept thinking, ‘This could be last my high school match, and I don’t want it to end like this,’” says Julia. “That motivated me to give it my all.”
However, Julia didn’t have much time to celebrate her big win, because she had to play her quarterfinal match just a few hours later. After getting in a little relaxation and plenty of hydration, Julia earned a 6-1, 6-0 win over Caitlin Sze of South Windsor to achieve her goal of making the State Open semifinals.
“That was one of the best moments. I had never made it to the semis, and my sisters never made it to the semis, so being the first one to make it that far was the light at the end of the tunnel,” Julia says. “Everything came together, and all the extra effort made sense in that moment, because I had reached the end of my high school career, tried my hardest, and did everything that I wanted to. It was rewarding.”
Although her high school career is finished, Julia is looking forward to competing for the women’s tennis team at Division I Providence College. Julia, who will study biology, is aiming to seal a spot in the lineup as a freshman, while playing both singles and doubles for the Friars. As she prepares for the next chapter, Julia has nothing but fond thoughts about the time she spent playing tennis for her hometown high school.
“This is where I grew up, and I’m so happy to represent North Haven, be a part of the camaraderie, and be there for my teammates. Some of the girls on the team are my best friends, and it was so nice to play for such a positive team,” says Julia. “I feel very grateful for these past four years. I think I exceeded expectations and did everything I could. Now, I’m getting ready for the next big thing.”
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