NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Plymouth State University got contributions from everyone in the line-up Sunday afternoon and pulled out the Little East Conference championship, its second team title in three years.
The Panthers won the LEC Tournament title with 17 points, just ahead of runner-up and defending champion Rhode Island College (16 points) and third-place finisher Salem State College (15.5). The tournament, hosted by UMass Dartmouth, included eight teams this year, with Bridgewater State College (12.5) fourth, and Western Connecticut (9), UMass Dartmouth (5), UMass Boston (1.5) and Southern Maine (0) rounding out the bottom half of the team standings.
Plymouth State will represent the LEC at the NCAA Division III Championships, which will be in May 2007.
PSU won its first conference title by one-half point over RIC two years ago. The Anchorwomen had won four LEC titles in the last seven years, including last season, and they were 7-0 in LEC dual matches this season.
The Panthers were in second place behind RIC after the first day, but came together in Sunday's singles matches. Senior Erica Huckins (Holderness, N.H.), at No. 3, and junior Joan Kietzman (Plymouth, N.H.), at No. 5, both captured the championship in their flights. Junior Briley Boisvert (Goffstown, N.H.) finished runner-up at No. 6, senior Kiley Boyd (Brattleboro, Vt.) made it to the semifinals at No. 4, and junior Jill Deyermond (Atkinson, N.H.) and sophomore Meghan Rodier (Francestown, N.H./ConVal) rebounded from first-round losses at Nos. 1 and 2 singles to win the consolation round in their flight and pick up an extra point for the team.
"We knew we had a chance to win, but we kind of got started slowly on Sunday," said PSU head coach Barbara Rawlsky-Willett, "but then we came back and won some three-set matches, and some of the key players on other teams started to lose. Erica and Joan winning their flights for us was big, but Jill (far left) and Meghan (left) coming back with two wins each in the consolation round was a big key, too. Our girls were unbelievable."
Rodier's two consolation round wins give her a 10-4 record at No. 2 singles this season, and a 22-8 career singles mark. Deyermond's two wins give her a 6-8 season record at No. 1 singles, and a 22-20 career ledger.
Huckins (right) won her second LEC singles title, having captured the No. 2 singles flight in 2004. She finishes the season with an 11-3 singles record, and completes her career with a 30-13 mark. She and Deyermond were eliminated from the No. 1 doubles flight in the semifinals, and finish the year with a 7-6 mark.
Kietzman (far right), who transferred to PSU this season from Guilford College, added her No. 5 singles title to the No. 2 doubles crown that she and Rodier captured on Saturday. Kietzman finishes the year with an 11-3 mark in both singles and doubles.
Boyd (far left) finished with a 9-4 mark at No. 4 singles this season, her first year in the starting line-up, while Boisvert (left) was 8-3 at No. 6 singles. They paired up for a 7-4 mark at No. 3 doubles.
Plymouth State finished the regular season with an 8-3 record in dual matches, including a 6-1 mark in the LEC. The lone blemish on the conference schedule was an 8-1 setback to RIC two weeks ago.
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