GORHAM, Maine - Plymouth State University captured its first Little East Conference women's tennis championship Saturday, sneaking past defending champion Rhode Island College by one-half point in the team standings.
PSU earned its first team title in the 11 years of the event, which was hosted by the University of Southern Maine. The Panthers brought home three individual champions and one doubles champion. In the individual flights prior to this season, PSU had won only three singles titles in 10 years and had never won a doubles crown.
Plymouth State clinched the championship when sophomore Erica Huckins (Plymouth, N.H.) captured the title at No. 2 singles, giving the Panthers 17 points. RIC, which won team championships three of the last five years (1999, 2001, 2003), finished with 16.5 points. The rest of the field included Bridgewater State (11), Salem State (10), Southern Maine (7), UMass Dartmouth (4.5) and Western Connecticut (4).
Huckins, who finished the season with an 8-5 singles record, was one of three singles champions for PSU. Junior Rachel Xavier (Meredith, N.H.) won her second straight conference championship at No. 4 singles, wrapping up the season with a sparkling 12-1 record. Sophomore Ashley Gorman (Cumberland, R.I.), who had played in and won only one match this season prior to the tournament, defeated three straight opponents to take the title at No. 6 singles.
Freshman Jill Deyermond (Atkinson, N.H.) teamed up with Xavier to win the championship at No. 2 doubles. The tandem finished the season with an 8-0 record since joining up together. Deyermond also advanced to the finals at No. 3 singles before getting knocked out, and finished with a 7-5 mark on the campaign.
Gorman was joined by junior Liz Duell (Hope Valley, R.I.) at No. 3 doubles, and the team made it to the finals before being eliminated and finishing the season with a 5-3 record. Junior Whitney O'Leary (Sagamore Beach, Mass.) rebounded from a first-round loss in the No. 1 singles bracket with a consolation-round victory.
The Panthers were 6-4 in dual matches this season under first-year coach Barbara Rawlsky-Willett.
1. Plymouth State 17.0
2. Rhode Island College 16.5
3. Bridgewater State 11.0
4. Salem State 10.0
5. Southern Maine 7.0
6. UMass Dartmouth 4.5
7. Western Connecticut 4.0
Kie Tanaka/Naomi Torii (SSC) def. Katie Welch/Catie McCarthy (SM), 6-4, 6-4
Jill Deyermond/Rachel Xavier (PS) def. Becky Jenkins/Dianna Sullivan (BSC), 6-4, 6-2
Tara Marchant/Michaela Grant (RIC) def. Ashley Groman/Liz Duell (PS), 6-1, 6-4
Katie Welch (SM) def. Kendra Sloat (WC), 7-6 (2), 6-4
Kim Palumbo (BSC) def. Kie Tanaka (SSC), 6-2, 7-6 (3)
Aprile Lozzi (SSC) vs. Rebecca Jenkins (BSC), 1-6, 7-6 (1) (10-2)
Erica Huckins (PS) def. Meghan Mooney (RIC), 6-2, 6-2
Audrey Davis (RIC) def. Dianna Sullivan (BSC), 1-6, 7-6 (1) (10-7)
Jill Deyermond (PS) def. Naomi Torii (SSC), 6-2, 6-4
Kseniya Gurvich (RIC) def. Kristen Spooner (UMD), 6-1, 6-4
Rachel Xavier (PS) def. Jacquelyn Levangie (BSC), 7-5, 6-3
Tara Marchant (RIC) def. Casea Parady (SM), 6-4, 6-2
Alyssa Beaton (SSC) def. Amy Rego (BSC), 6-4, 3-6 (10-6)
Ashley Gorman (PS) def. Emily Straubel (SM), 6-4, 6-4
Caitlin Morin (RIC) def. Robyn Del Duca (BSC), 6-2, 6-4
Singles Consolation Round
Whitney O'Leary (PS) def. Sara Charwick (UMD), 8-1
Liz Barrette (RIC) wins by default
Sarah Holmes (WC) def. Simone Lynds (SM), 8-1
Hannah Chavez wins by default
Catie McCarthy (SM) def. Katie Poirier (WC), 8-2
Katie Haepers (UMD) wins by default
Chelsea Parady (SM) def. Alissa Welch (SSC), 8-5
Tamra Butler (WC) wins by default
Cailin McGaughan (WC) def. Liz Duell (PS), 8-4
Jyoti Folch (UMD) wins by default
Cara Walsh (WC) def. Alicia Newton (UMD), 8-1
Sara Pawnovic (SSC) wins by default
Kim Palumbo (BSC) def. Katie Welch (SM), 6-2, 6-4
Erica Huckins (PS) def. Aprile Lozzi (SSC), 7-5, 6-2
Audrey Davis (RIC) def. Jill Deyermond (PS), 6-1, 6-2
Rachel Xavier (PS) def. Kseniya Gurvich (RIC), 6-2, 6-0
Tara Marchant (RIC) def. Alyssa Beaton (SSC), 7-5, 3-6 (10-6)
Ashley Gorman (PS) def. Caitlin Morin (RIC), 6-3, 6-3
-- 30 --