Amherst girls tennis seeks fifth straight trip to title match
Nicole McCann of Amherst returns during her no. 1 singles match against Phoebe Gelbard of Northampton Tuesday in Northampton. JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »
The Amherst Regional girls tennis team begins its quest for a third sectional title in five years Friday.
The Hurricanes (16-2) were awarded the third seed in the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Tournament and will host a first-round match with No. 6 West Springfield (10-6) at Amherst Regional Middle School Friday.
Longmeadow (14-2) is the top seed with Minnechaug (11-5) No. 2. Amherst and Longmeadow have met in the finals the previous four seasons. The Hurricanes are 2-2.
“The girls are ready and can’t wait,” Hurricanes coach C.J. Holt said.
Sisters Nicole and Allison McCann combined for 40 wins this season. Junior Nicole McCann went 20-0 and successfully defended her western Massachusetts individuals title. Freshman Allison McCann also had a 20 win season, with her only loss coming at the hands of her sister in the individual championship.
Senior captains Amutha Muthukumar and Samantha Doctor went 9-2 and give Amherst a strong first doubles team.
Meanwhile, Northampton (15-5) earned the No. 4 seed. Blue Devils coach Jeff Holman said the team is optimistic after having its best season in a while.
Northampton is led by its top singles players, junior Adele Fantasia and freshman Phoebe Gelbard, and its No. 1 doubles team of Olivia Bernstein and Katherine Lesko.
The Blue Devils will play No. 5 East Longmeadow (8-8) in a first-round match at 4 p.m. at Smith College Friday.
South Hadley earned the No. 2 seed in the Divison 3 field.
The Tigers are “good fighters and good contenders, so you never know,” coach Eric Cestero said.
After coming off a rebuilding year, Cestero said the Tigers have focused on the mental side of the game. He said the team is motivated for the postseason.
With a first-round bye, South Hadley will play the winner between No. 7 Mount Greylock (9-4) and No. 10 Belchertown (9-9).
No. 11 Holyoke Catholic (13-2) will play at No. 6 Greenfield (11-3) at 3:30 p.m. Friday. The Gaels are a coed team and elected to play in the girls tournament. The team’s boys are ineligible to play in the team tournament.