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Plymouth State finishes runner-up at LEC Women’s Tennis Championships

DANBURY, Conn. - Plymouth State University had one individual champion and four second-place finishers out of six singles flights Saturday night and ended up in second place at the 2005 Little East Conference women's tennis championships.

The Panthers, who were attempting to repeat as champions after capturing their first title in 2004, ended up with 14 points. Rhode Island College won four singles flights and all three doubles flight, finishing with 24 points and easily winning the team title. The Anchorwomen, who went undefeated in conference matches during the regular season, have won a record six LEC team titles, including two of the last three and three of the last five.

Plymouth State was a solid second place behind RIC, and ahead of Salem State (11 points), UMass Dartmouth (7), Bridgewater State (6), Southern Maine (6), and Western Connecticut (4). UMass Boston withdrew before the tournament began.

Senior Sarah Cole (North Waterboro, Maine) won PSU's only individual title, capturing the #5 singles bracket. She received a first-round bye as the top seed, and recorded consecutive victories over #4-seeded Emily Straubel of Southern Maine and #2-seeded Tara Marchant of RIC. Cole finishes an excellent season at #5 singles with a 13-2 record, and her two-year record is 20-3. She and senior Liz Duell (Hopewell Valley, R.I.) were knocked out in the semifinals at #3 doubles and finished with a 10-3 mark.

Four other Panthers finished runner-up in their singles flights - sophomore Jill Deyermond (Atkinson, N.H.) at #2, junior Erica Huckins (Plymouth, N.H.) at #3, senior Rachel Xavier (Meredith, N.H.) at #4, and freshman Meghan Rodier (Francestown, N.H./ConVal) at #6. PSU's top player, senior Whitney O'Leary (Sagamore Beach, Mass.), won the consolation bracket at #1 singles and finished in fifth place.

Deyermond was the third seed at #2 singles, and advanced to the final with two consecutive wins before being defeated. She finishes her season with a 9-7 singles record, and her career mark improves to 16-12. Deyermond and Xavier were the second seed at #2 doubles but were knocked out in the semis and finish with a 7-7 mark.

Huckins was the second seed at #3 singles and won two matches to get to the final, but a loss to top-seeded Margaret Funk of RIC left her with an 11-4 record. She also improved her career record to 19-10. Huckins and O'Leary were the fifth seed at #1 doubles and recorded a first-round upset victory over the fourth-seeded team from UMass Dartmouth, but the PSU tandem was eliminated in the semifinals and finishes the season with a 7-6 record.

Xavier, the two-time defending champion and top-seed at #4, won a super-tiebreaker to get to the final but was upset by second-seeded Kseniya Gurvich of RIC, 6-2, 6-2. Xavier finishes her season with a 11-5 mark, and her career with a sparkling 34-10 record. Xavier and Deyermond were the second seed at #2 doubles but were knocked out in the semis and finish with a 7-7 mark.

Rodier was the top seed at #6 singles after going 7-0 in LEC matches during the regular season. She was upset in the final in a third-set tiebreaker by Ashley Gorman, who played for Plymouth State last year before transferring to RIC this year. Rodier concluded her rookie campaign with a 12-4 singles record.

The Panthers finished the regular season with an 8-3 overall record and a 6-1 conference mark under second-year head coach Barbara Rawlsky Willett.

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