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WMass Division 3 girls tennis: Lee stops South Hadley in championship match

  • Madden Lacoste, who plays third singles for South Hadley, returns during her match against Lee, Monday at Forest Park in Springfield. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Bella Earle, of South Hadley, who plays first doubles with Aislinn Ford, returns during their match against Lee in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 final, Monday at Forest Park in Springfield. Earle and Ford won, but Lee took the match 4-1. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hailey Werenski, who plays first singles for South Hadley, returns during her match against Lee in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 final, Monday, June 11, 2018 at Forest Park in Springfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Aislinn Ford, of South Hadley, who plays first doubles with Bella Earle, returns during their match against Lee in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 final, Monday at Forest Park in Springfield. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS



@kylegrbwsk
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

SPRINGFIELD — Aislinn Ford and Bella Earle put together all of the ingredients.

South Hadley’s No. 1 doubles team mixed in the lobs, cross-court shots and down-the-line shots that coach Eric Cestero had worked with them all season. It resulted in a win during the Tigers’ Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship match against Lee, Monday at Forest Park.

“They put it in perspective,” he said. “They were so focused.”

They beat Paige Barry and Rahel Wendling 6-2, 6-3. Aggressiveness paid off in the first set for a comfortable win before they fell behind 3-0 in Set 2.

“We had to think strategically,” Earle said.

They won six games in a row to win the match. It was South Hadley’s only win, as the top-seeded Tigers lost 4-1.

The No. 1 doubles match was the last one to finish. Cestero called them to the fence to talk about how the match was going overall. Ford walked away because she didn’t want to know.

“We just played,” Ford said.

Lee, the No. 2 seed, beat South Hadley in the semifinals last year and lost in the finals. The Wildcats (17-0) will face Central Mass. champion Hopedale at 3:30 p.m. Monday at Forest Park.

South Hadley (18-4) lost the first set of all three singles matches and No. 2 doubles.

“I have such faith in my singles girls,” Lee coach Norma Comalli said. “They got those first sets, I felt very comfortable.”

Anna Wang beat South Hadley’s Hailey Werenski 6-2, 6-1 at No. 1 singles.

“I started off very consistent and then fell out of it. That’s what cost me the end of the first set,” Werenski said. “The second set it took me a while to get in my groove, and by the time I got in my groove it was a little too late.”

Kaylin Cousineau fell 6-1, 6-0 to Ava Martin at No. 2 singles.

“She had good topspin, so that was hard to deal with,” Cousineau said. “She was good at aiming at corners and had really good drop shots.”

At No. 3 singles, Madden Lacoste lost 6-3, 6-2 to Suriana Lee.

South Hadley’s No. 2 doubles team of Julia Pratt and Taylor Gelinas built a 5-3 lead in the first set before they lost 10 straight games to fall 7-5, 6-0.

South Hadley won’t graduate any members of its lineup. The Tigers don’t have any seniors.

“It will give us a lot of motivation and drive, especially since we made it this far,” Werenski said. “We can only build on it from here.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.