Division 3 girls tennis: Jordyn Paul clinches finals berth for Belchertown

  • Belchertown hosted Monument Mountain in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 girls tennis semifinals Monday at Belchertown High School. The Orioles prevailed 3-2 to reach the final. Kyle Grabowski

  • Belchertown’s Meghan Bernard served tough in her No. 1 singles win Monday at Belchertown High School. It helped the Orioles clinch a spot in the Western Massachusetts finals for the first time in 17 years. Kyle Grabowski

  • Belchertown’s Meghan Bernard beat Monument Mountain’s Cara Freadman 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 singles Monday at Belchertown High School. Kyle Grabowski

Published: 6/6/2016 10:23:55 PM

BELCHERTOWN — The dark red and green tennis courts down the hill from Belchertown High School emptied single by single and double by double.

Eventually only the No. 2 singles match remained.

Belchertown’s Jordyn Paul and Monument Mountain’s Ava Guidette drew the gallery’s entire attention with a trip to the Western Massachusetts Division 3 girls tennis final on the line.

The teams had split the previous four matches in Monday’s semifinal.

“I always know what the scores are for the other teams,” Paul said. “I normally don’t like being last on the court because I get anxious.”

She captured the first set and led 5-2 in the second when all eyes fixated on the middle-right court.

Paul jumped out to a 40-15 lead before falling back to deuce.

She clinched the match with a forehand that Guidette slapped wide left, taking her match 6-3, 6-2 and the team win 3-2.

“There were lot of high topspin balls to the baseline, so I tried to mix it up hitting short and deep. It’s hard for me because I’m not good at hitting short,” Paul said. “It puts a little bit of pressure on, but even if it wasn’t the deciding match I’d still be saying, ‘you can do this, you can do this.’ You still have to get through for yourself.”

She came through for the Orioles (21-1), helping them reach the sectional final for the first time in 17 years.

Belchertown lost in the semifinals last season to Monument Mountain , ending a 20-0 year.

This year, the Orioles lost in the last week of the regular season, and Belchertown coach Jackie Kowal said they were “alive and well.”

“I don’t think we saw it until it was in print, but then all of a sudden we had a target on our back,” she said of being unbeaten. “After the loss they didn’t really have a hard time. We still believed that we could do this.”

Julia Tan left her teammates a parting gift in her final high school match.

The senior won’t be playing in the Western Mass. final because she’ll be on a backpacking trip through Europe.

She beat Lexi Shomsky 6-1, 6-0 in 43 minutes at No. 3 singles, the quickest match of the day.

“My service game was really good this match. I try to do a super aggressive first serve and a super safe second serve. My form was on,” Tan said. “It was super sad. It kind of just hit me walking off this is my last match ever playing for the high school.”

Meghan Bernard helped the Orioles secure a singles sweep with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Cara Freadman.

“I tried to move her around and hit a lot of angles,” Bernard said.

The Orioles needed all three singles position wins because Monument Mountain won both doubles matches.

Carly Shaferoff and Hailey Higgings beat Maddie Hamparian and Angela Gabazs 6-2, 6-4 at No. 1 doubles.

Olivia Jaffe and Gabbi DeFelice prevailed 6-0, 6-4 against Brooke O’Neill and Emily Hamparian in the No. 2 doubles match.

“I figured our doubles would win. They’ve been winning all year,” Monument Mountain coach Jeff Calgari said. “I figured we’d lose No. 1 singles, and I figured it’d come down to No. 2 singles, and it did.”

Belchertown will face either South Hadley or Lee in the sectional final Friday at Western New England University.

South Hadley and Lee play at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Mount Holyoke College.

“It’s super, super nice. Especially because we’ve played this team (Monument Mountain) twice before and we’ve never beat them,” Paul said. “Winning against this team was an amazing goal. Now on to the next thing.”

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

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