In North Atlantic Conference (NAC) women's tennis action, Colby-Sawyer and Husson both prevailed in semifinal action to earn a spot in the championship final Saturday afternoon.
The No. 1 seeded Chargers earned a 9-0 victory, defeating No. 4 seeded MCLA, while the No. 3 seeded Eagles upset No. 2 Castleton by a final of 6-2. The NAC Championship round is set to begin at 3:05 p.m. Due to weather, the championship match was moved indoors to Mountainside Racquet & Fitness Center (New London, N.H.).
The NAC champion will receive an automatic berth to the 2018 NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Championship.
Colby-Sawyer, the tournament's top seed, earned a 9-0 win over fourth seed MCLA in the semifinals. The Chargers improved to 11-0 on the season and reached the NAC finals for the seventh straight season. The Trailblazers fell to 4-6.
The Chargers swept doubles action with their top duo of senior Ashley Woodside (Hampden, Maine) and freshman Yashu Yang (Kunming City, China) defeating senior Mariza Sfakianaki (Williamstown, Mass.) and junior Sam Gawron (South Hadley, Mass.), 8-2. Colby-Sawyer's Evelyn Miller (Smithfield, R.I.) and Aislinn O'Connor (New Fairfield, Conn.) earned an 8-1 victory over sophomore Briana Higgins (Tewksbury, Mass.) and senior Ashley Juskhas (Westfield, Mass.) at No. 2. The No. 3 senior team Lauren Blanchard (Agawam, Mass.) and Christine Hill (Wallingford, Conn.) did not drop a game in their 8-0 victory over freshman Lauren Kexel (Waterford, N.Y.) and senior Katherine Grill (East Greenbush, N.Y.).
Woodside dropped just one game at the top flight to defeat Sfakianaki 6-0, 6-1. Yang (No. 2), Miller (No. 3), O'Connor (No. 4) and Blanchard (No. 6) won their singles matches by identical 6-0, 6-0 scores. After not playing doubles, junior Maddy Gemerek (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) stepped in to play No. 5 and also won by a 6-0, 6-0 score.
The third seed Eagles of Husson University avenged a regular season loss to second Castleton with a 6-2 triumph in Saturday's NAC semifinal. The Eagles will play Colby-Sawyer in the finals after improving to 7-3 on the season. Castleton ends the fall with a 9-5 record.
Husson swept doubles action to take an important 3-0 lead. The top Eagles tandem of Charlotte Bednarz (Westport, Mass.) and Sarah Smith (Calais, Maine) earned an 8-3 victory over Castleton's top duo of Ciara Bannister (St. Albans, Vt.) and Kirsten Kruk (Clifton Park, N.Y.). Senior Elizabeth Adley (Rumford, Maine) and junior Meridith Blessard (Lincoln, Maine) combined for an 8-4 victory at No. 2 over sophomore Megan Nadler (Rutland, Vt.) and freshman Danarose Weaver (Brandon, Vt.). At the third doubles spot, Husson received an 8-5 triumph from senior Samantha Dubay (Fort Kent, Maine) and sophomore Marisa Brown (Lincoln, R.I.) who defeated sophomore Alexis Curley (Greenwich, N.Y.) and sophomore Emily Miller (Collinsville, Conn.).
Castleton got on the board by winning at the second singles flight to cut the deficit to 3-1. Nadler dropped just one game in each set to defeat Smith 6-1, 6-1. Blessard responded for Husson by taking the top singles flight over Bannister 6-3, 6-3. The Spartans hung around with a comeback victory at No. 3 from Kruk. After dropping the first set 6-0, Kruk won the next two over Bednarz 6-2, 6-2.
The match clinching point came from the sixth slot and Samantha Dubay. She downed Curley 6-2, 6-2 to send Husson to the title match.
Adley then added a point to the Eagles' total with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Weaver at No. 5.
With the match in hand, the No. 4 singles match did not finish as each player took a set before playing a super tie break. Emily Miller led 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Hosted by Colby-Sawyer
Championship Match (at Mountainside)
Match 3 - No. 1 Colby-Sawyer vs. No. 3 Husson - 3:05 p.m.
**In 2017, the women's tennis partnership with the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) is no longer necessary, as the NAC received an automatic qualifier for the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the NAC Championship on October 7 will earn a bid into the NCAA Tournament in the spring.