October 5, 2013

Fast Start Powers Women's Tennis Past Huskies

GORHAM, ME -- The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth women's tennis team swept the three doubles matches and won the first two decisions in singles matches for an insurmountable 5-0 lead en route to a 7-2 victory over the University of Southern Maine in a Little East Conference match Saturday at the Gorham High School tennis courts.

The Corsairs won their fourth straight match and improved to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the LEC. The Huskies fell to 7-4 overall and 2-4 LEC.

Senior Nicole Pelletier (Swansea, Mass.) and junior Hannah Schulze (Chelmsford, Mass.) were decisive winners at first doubles, topping sophomores Jenna Willey (Windham, Maine) and Courtney Aldrich (Lewiston, ME), 8-2. Seniors Angela Pollard (Portsmouth, R.I.) and Allison Furtado (Fairhaven, Mass.) followed suit with a 8-4 win over senior Mary Moran (Windham, ME) and freshman Liz Martin (Naugatuck, Conn.) in second doubles. Senior Liz Cignoli (Springfield, Mass.) and freshman Rosalie Kimba (Milford, Mass.) completed the doubles sweep at third doubles, winning 8-4 over freshman Katie Quinn (Hollis, Maine) and sophomore Molly Gallagher (South Portland, Maine).

"That's two straight matches we've have swept the doubles, and we've used five different teams," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Doug Chapman. "That gave us a great start, and the singles players took it from there."

Furtado defeated Aldrich 6-1, 6-2 at fourth singles and Schulze topped Willey 6-3, 6-3 at second second to clinch the victory. But the afternoon was far from done. While UMass Dartmouth was quick to clinch the road win, all of the intrigue was still to come in the team match that lasted four hours and three minutes.

Moran got the Huskies on the board with a strong come-from-behind effort over Pelletier at first singles. Pelletier won the first five games and took the first set, 6-2. The second set was a back-and-forth battle before Moran broke serve at 5-6 to claim the second set, 7-5, before going on to win the deciding set 6-1 in what was a high quality match.

Cignoli staged a comeback win for the Corsairs at fifth singles. With the team match decided, 8-game Pro-Sets were called for in fifth and singles. Southern Maine's Katie Quinn led 7-2 before Cignoli rolled off seven consecutive games for a 9-7 victory.

UMass Dartmouth freshman Katelyn Capone (Abington, Mass.) continued her fine rookie campaign with an 8-4 win over Martin in sixth singles. Capone won her fourth match (three singles) of the week and improved to 6-1 in singles.

The third singles match between the Corsairs' Polland and the Huskies' Gallagher proved to be an epic two-set battle that lasted for three hours and 18 minutes, and features rallies as long as 52 points. The tone was set in the first set with Gallagher leading 5-2, Pollard rallying with four straight games and an opportunity to serve for the set. But Gallagher broke back for 6-6 and won the tie-breaker, 7-0. The marathon second set also went to a tie-breaker, with Gallagher pulling it out 15-13 after both players had numerous set points.

"What an amazing match between Angie Pollard and Southern Maine's Molly Gallagher," said Coach Chapman. "Neither player would give an inch, neither player blinked and what a tremendous show of toughness and will from both of them, right down to the final point."

The Corsairs next will host LEC-leading and defending champion Bridgewater State University on Tuesday at 3 p.m.