Coginchaug’s Piper Remillard’s consistent play sets her apart

DURHAM — Piper Remillard isn’t afraid to mix it up. The Coginchaug sophomore who earned CHSCA All-State her first season doesn’t need the gloves to come off to make her mark in girls’ tennis circles.

“I consider myself to be a very aggressive player. I like to get points going and finish them as fast as possible. I want to control the point and be on offense most of the time,” said Remillard, the unbeaten Shoreline Conference singles champion. “When you get to the state or Shoreline level it’s about being patient. You don’t have expectations going in. You stay positive.”

Coginchaug coach Amy Schaefer praised the 5-foot-7 Remillard for her laid-back approach to the game.

“Piper has this calmness on the court. Anything you throw at her, she knows how to make the adjustment,” she said.

An avid fan of the Quinnipiac men’s hockey team, Remillard uses her winter pastime to slay any inner demons.

“Hockey is polar opposite to tennis, which is a quiet and mellow game. It’s controlled,” she said. “With hockey, everyone just goes for it. I love the action. My dad, Ed, works at Quinnipiac. He got us season tickets in 2016. It’s a way for my mom, dad and brother Gannon to bond.”

Remillard, team MVP and a New Haven Register All-Area player, didn’t rest on her laurels coming off a 16-0 season that saw her advance to the state quarterfinals.

“Over the summer I wanted to become more consistent. In some matches, hitting hard gets you far. When you get to the state level, consistent play is a huge part,” said Remillard, who started playing at age 6 with her mom, Melanie. “I think over the past two years I’ve done a good job developing my serve. I’ve worked hard on my groundstrokes and controlling the middle of the court.”

A veteran of tournament play, where everyone is representing their own name, Remillard likes the team aspect of high school tennis.

“For the majority of growing up, I played a lot of tournaments. That’s the individual side of tennis,” she said. “Being on a team was a new experience and super fun. It’s great having players around to pump you up, and you get to pump them up. It’s exciting.

“My teammates are so talented. Playing singles with Grace Hinsch, Maggie Ross and Estella Perez is amazing,” Remillard added. “When I finish my match, I can race over and root on my teammates. Growing up, I didn’t have that element. It’s an uplifting environment.”

Coginchaug doesn’t have a youth tennis program to produce players. Most of the girls Schaefer takes on are holding a tennis racket for the first time in March of their freshman year. It is the team-first aspect Remillard alluded to that brings her back.

“My team is a community, a family. They’re a support system for each other,” said Schaefer, in her 17th year. “It’s interesting that in any individual sport, as much as tennis is, is that system. The girls help each other out. All my singles players are strong. Maggie Ross (sophomore) and Estella Perez (freshman) are club kids who take lessons. Grace Hinsch is a senior and has experience of playing competitive tennis for four years. As a team, we’re new. Our juniors missed freshman year. They were remote or didn’t feel comfortable playing last season.

“Piper is technically sound. She has a consistent strong serve that has a kick to it. She also can catch opponents leaning or playing too far back. She has a toolbox that I’ve never seen in one of my players. Whether it’s to sit back and look for an opening or push the pace, Piper thinks on her feet.” Twitter: @blox354