WEYMOUTH, Mass.—#2 UMass Boston women's tennis earned their first-ever trip to the Little East Conference Championship Match, with a thrilling 5-4 LEC Semifinal win over Plymouth State University on Wednesday afternoon.
UMass Boston 5, Plymouth State 4
(UMass Boston 14-1)
(Plymouth State 10-6)
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Beacons mounted multiple comebacks in doubles and singles to earn their first-ever LEC Tournament victory.
After leading 4-1 early in singles, it all came down to fifth singles, with the match tied at 4-4. Freshman Shelby Parent (Cambridge, Minn.) lost the first set 6-2 and was trailing 4-1 in the second set, before she rallied to force a third set with a 6-4 set victory. The freshman dropped two of the first three games in the third set against Hanna Street, before closing out the match with a dramatic 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.
Chloe Gates (Plymouth, Mass.) and Vassiliadis opened the match for UMass Boston with an 8-4 win at third doubles.
The Beacons struggled to start the semifinal in the other two doubles matches, before coming up with big comebacks.
At first doubles, Katie Gauthier (West Bolyston, Mass.) and Drame trailed 4-1 early on, before winning the next six games. The duo eventually finished off the Plymouth State pairing 8-6.
At number two doubles, Valeria Tueme (Bonney Lake, Wash.) and Parent went down 3-0 early, before roaring back to take a 6-5 advantage. Plymouth State's Kerstin Venincasa and Jenna Sundquist answered back with three-straight games to take the match 8-6 and cut the Beacons lead to 2-1 after doubles.
UMass Boston easily raced out to a 4-1 lead to begin singles.
Drame steamrolled past Maggie McCarthy 6-0, 6-0 at number one singles to make it 3-1 UMass Boston.
Vassiliadis tacked on a 6-2, 6-4 win at third singles to put the Beacons one point away from a match victory.
Things got tense from there, as UMass Boston trailed by a set in the other four matches.
Plymouth State began their rally at fourth singles, as Venincasa defeated Meaghan Moriarty (Norton, Mass.) 6-4, 6-2.
The Panthers cut the deficit to 4-3 moments later, with Sundquist recording a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Gates.
At that point, UMass Boston began mounting furious charges on the two remaining courts.
Gauthier was the first Beacon to push their match to a third set. The senior captain lost the first set 6-3 and trailed in the second set, before earning a 6-4 win. In the third set, Gauthier had match point on two occasions, before falling in a tiebreaker 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4).
That set up Parent to be the hero on court five.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Vassiliadis set the single-season, program record for total wins with her singles victory. Her two wins give her 28 on the year (28-2) and helped her pass Anitra Kloczewiak ('13) for the program record for one season.
- The win marked UMass Boston's first-ever LEC Tournament win in seven tries (1-6). UMass Boston is now 1-1 all-time against Plymouth State in the LEC Tournament.
- With the victory, UMass Boston improved to 4-16 all-time against Plymouth State. The Beacons have recorded all four of their wins against the Panthers in the last eight meetings.
- Parent's singles victory helped her move to 14-0 on the season and 3-0 in three-set matches.
- The Beacons improved to 4-0 this year in 5-4 matches.
#2 UMass Boston will await the winner of Friday's LEC Semifinal match between #1 Rhode Island College and #5 Bridgewater State University (3 p.m.). The winner of that match will play the Beacons on Sunday with the match time to be determined. UMass Boston would travel to #1 Rhode Island College, or host #5 Bridgewater State (site to be announced).