Oct. 19, 2008
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-Senior Allison DeAngelis (Milford, MA/Milford HS) and sophomore Blair Dalrymple (North Attleboro, MA/North Attleboro HS) came from behind to defeat junior Catalina Rosa (Fall River, MA/Bishop Connolly HS) and senior Paula Araujo (Fall River, MA/Durfee HS) at number three doubles and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's women's tennis team then won three of the first five singles matches completed to defeat visiting Bridgewater State, 5-3, in the championship match of the Little East Conference Tournament at the UMass Dartmouth Athletic Complex Sunday. The victory allowed the Corsairs to earn the LEC's automatic qualifying berth into next spring's NCAA Division III Championships. The match was terminated as soon as one team accumulated enough points to win.
The teams split the first two doubles matches, and DeAngelis and Dalrymple overcame a 5-4 deficit and won the last four games of the eight-game pro set. "Third doubles was a key factor, with Alison and Blair coming back to win," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Ralph Perry. "That set a good tone for us going into singles."
Sophomore Amy Lopes (Dartmouth, MA/Dartmouth HS) defeated sophomore Rachel Elman (Rehoboth, MA/Dighton-Rehoboth HS) at number one singles, 6-0, 6-0, to give the Corsairs a 3-1 lead, but the Bears promptly tied the match. Rosa defeated DeAngelis at number four singles, 6-1, 6-2, and junior Paulina Ucher (Webster, MA/Bartlett HS) downed sophomore Alexa Fiorita (Reading, MA/Reading HS), 6-3, 6-1, to tie the score at 3-3.
Freshman Kelsey Grossmann (Holliston, MA/Holliston HS) untied the score when she defeated sophomore Jessica Francis (West Barnstable, MA/Barnstable HS) at number three singles, 6-2, 6-2, but the matches at number two and number six singles both went to a third set. Dalrymple defeated the Bears' sophomore Danielle Linscott (Uxbridge, MA/Uxbridge HS) at number six singles, 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 to clinch the verdict.
"(Head) Coach (Barry) Gorman and Bridgewater State certainly gave us all we could handle," said Perry. "They were a solid team, and it took all we had to win. Blair gathered her thoughts after losing the second set and came out and played a good, tough third set. Her first serve wasn't always working, but she started to get more consistent on her serves and had good placement, and that's what carried her through."
The Corsairs earned their first LEC championship since 1998, and their first under Perry. "We've been in uncharted waters for the last week, I've never been in this situation," said Perry. "It's definitely a reflection of our players, their attitude, and their skills. I have to give them all the credit, they were the ones on the other side of the fence, and they were doing all of the work. We also had great support, everyone was behind us all year long, and that was nice to see."
UMass Dartmouth improved to 15-1 with the victory, while BSC dropped to 12-4 with the defeat. The Corsairs will learn their fate when the NCAA field is announced next May 4th, and they will begin play in a first round match in the NCAAs next May 8th.