Division 3 girls tennis: Lee trips up South Hadley to win WMass title

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  • Kaylin Cousineau, who plays second singles for South Hadley, returns during her match against Lee during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Madden Lacoste, who plays third singles for South Hadley, returns during her match against Lee during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kaylin Cousineau, who plays second singles for South Hadley, returns during her match against Lee during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hailey Werenski, who plays first singles for South Hadley, returns during her match against Lee during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Forest Park. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

For the Gazette
Published: 6/11/2019 9:44:10 PM

SPRINGFIELD — The South Hadley girls tennis team lost 4-1 to Lee in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament finals, Tuesday at Forest Park.

It was the fourth straight postseason where the Tigers faced the Wildcats. South Hadley lost in the finals last year by the same score, 4-1. Lee also won 4-1 in the semifinals in 2017.

“We have been preparing for this team this whole season,” Tigers senior Aislinn Ford said. “We don’t get to see Lee in the regular season. This is our (fourth) year seeing them in the playoffs, so we knew what we were up against.”

Second-seeded Lee (15-0) had its way in the singles matches, as South Hadley’s Hailey Werenski lost 6-2, 6-4 to Ava Martin in the first position. Senior Kaylin Cousineau lost to Lee’s Anna Wang 6-0, 6-1 in second singles, while fellow senior Madden Lacoste lost to Surianna Lee 6-0, 6-1 in third singles.

The top-seeded Tigers’ only point came from Ford and Bella Earle in first doubles as they bested Rachel Wendling and Caroline Maloney in a hard-fought win. Ford and Earle won the first set 7-6 (8). They dropped the second set 7-6 (9) and won 10-8 in the super tiebreaker.

South Hadley’s second doubles team of Alison Descheneaux and Julia Pratt looked like they were going to force a super tiebreaker after dropping their first set 6-1, but fell short in the second set 7-6 (5) to Paige Barry and Cindy Ni.

“It’s not the way we wanted our season to end,” Cousineau said. “I think we got better every single year over the last four years. We play a competitive schedule and our goal is always to make it to the finals.”

Along with getting back to the finals, South Hadley coach Eric Cestero explained that the Tigers wanted to finish at the top of their league. The Tigers (17-3 overall) finished 7-1 and were co-champs with Ludlow in the Valley Wheel.

“Both programs have been so competitive over the last few years,” Cestero said of South Hadley and Lee. “We’ve had consecutive seasons where we’ve beaten them (Lee) in the finals and they have recently beaten us consecutively in the finals.”

South Hadley last beat Lee in the postseason in 2016, a 3-2 win in the semifinals.

“These seniors have been excellent and I’m proud of the way they have played over the last four years,” Cestero said. “We will miss them, but I’m excited for who we have coming back next season.”




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