Panthers eliminated from post-season bid on Senior Day
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The University of Massachusetts Boston women's tennis team defeated Plymouth State University for the first time in program history Saturday afternoon at the P.E. Center Courts, 6-3, in the final Little East Conference regular season match of the season for both schools.
The outcome clinched an LEC Tournament berth for UMass Boston, its first since 2011, and knocked the Panthers from contention for the tournament. PSU, UMass Boston and the University of Southern Maine all finished tied for fifth in the LEC with 3-5 records, and after the tiebreaker policy was applied, USM earned the fifth seed in the tournament, UMB receives the sixth seed, and the Panthers are the odd-team out.
Sixth-seeded UMB takes a 6-9 overall record into its first-round match Tuesday at third-seeded and in-state rival UMass Dartmouth. PSU winds up its season at 6-6 overall.
Strong doubles play led to the Beacons' first three-game Little East winning streak in over a decade, as UMass Boston earned a sweep of the doubles action Saturday. Nuha Muntasser (Braintree, Mass.) and Solveig Castelli (Precojo, France) started the Beacons off on the right foot with an 8-5 win at number two doubles. Seniors Anitra Kloczewiak (Newton, Mass.) and Samantha Counts (Bridgewater, Mass.) put UMass Boston ahead 2-0 with an 8-2 win at top-flight doubles, and the Beacons completed the sweep at number three doubles, as Kelsey Shea (West Bridgewater, Mass.) and Logan Smith (Southwick, Mass.) picked up their first LEC win of the season, winning 8-6.
UMB clinched the victory behind their top two players in the singles lineup. Kloczewiak finished off her sweep of number two singles in Little East play (8-0) with a 6-2, 6-1 win. Muntasser put the match out of reach when she completed her 6-2, 6-1 victory at No. 1 singles.
The Panthers collected singles wins by freshman Nikki Lund (Hingham, Mass.) at No. 3, senior Chelsea Thibeault (Manchester, N.H.) at No. 4, and freshman Rachel Gustafson (Belchertown, Mass.) at No. 5. Lund and Gustafson shared the team lead this season with eight singles win each, each finishing at 8-4, while Thibeault was right behind with a 7-4 mark.
Sophomore Nitsa Ioannides (El Cajon, Calif.) wrapped up a solid season, finishing with a 6-6 mark at No. 1 singles. Ioannides and Lund were strong as PSU's top doubles tandem, finishing with a 7-3 mark at No. 1 doubles.
Thibeault and classmate Jane Duggan (Saunderstown, R.I.) were honored prior to the match on Senior Day. The Panthers also recognized breast cancer awareness month, donning pink t-shirts and racquet grips and collecting donations that will be donated in support of breast cancer awareness.
(With contributions from UMass Boston Sports Information)
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