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Women’s Tennis opens season with LEC win at USM

Panthers sweep doubles, win five of six in singles

            GORHAM, Maine – The Plymouth State University women's tennis team got the 2012 season off to a strong start Saturday afternoon with an 8-1 Little East Conference victory over the University of Southern Maine.

            The Panthers swept the three doubles matches and claimed five of the six singles encounters, all in straight sets.  PSU was picked third in the LEC preseason poll earlier this week and USM was voted fifth.

            Senior Sara Burke (Barrington, R.I.) and junior Molly Heartfield (Dorset, Vt./Burr & Burton Academy) led the way for the Panthers.  They teamed up and held on for a 9-7 win at No. 1 doubles, and they both won their singles matches at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.  Freshman Nitsa Ioannides (El Cajon, Calif./Valhalla) was also a double winner for the Panthers in her collegiate debut, winning at No. 4 singles and teaming with classmate Andra Dion (Ashland, N.H./Plymouth Regional) for a 9-8 victory at No. 2 doubles.

            Juniors Jane Duggan (Saunderstown, R.I./Exeter-West Greenwich) and Chelsea Thibeault (Manchester, N.H./Central) also contributed to the team victory with singles wins at Nos. 5 and 6, respectively, and sophomore Rosalie DiRado (Gansevoort, N.Y./Saratoga Springs) and freshman Peyton Smith (Stuttgart, Germany/Patch) won their match at No. 3 doubles.

            PSU's first home match, scheduled for this Wednesday against Colby-Sawyer College, has been postponed to Sept. 17 due to conflicts with the first day of classes.  The Panthers will be back on the court next Saturday, Sept. 8, at defending LEC regular season champion and pre-season favorite Bridgewater State University. 

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