NEW LONDON, N.H. – October 16, 2011 – The Castleton State College women's tennis team defeated Colby-Sawyer in an epic five hour match to capture their third consecutive North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) East Division championship.
Castleton ends the regular season with a 13-4 record and earn the right to play the winner of the NEAC West Division in the spring for a trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Chargers are now 9-7 and will host Curry in a non-conference battle next Saturday.
Castleton took a 2-1 advantage after doubles. Chelsea Crehan (Essex, Conn.) and Brittni Racine (Leicester, Vt.) earned an 8-0 win over Ellen Graham (Newburyport, Mass.) and Siobhan Masse (Southbridge, Mass.). The Spartans No. 3 doubles team of Olga McIntyre (Winhall, Vt.) and Felicia West (Rutland, Vt.) snuck by Kathleen Rogers (Falls Village, Conn.) and Ari Marks (Grantham, N.H) 8-6. Colby-Sawyer's doubles win came at the first flight. Liz Lincoln (Plymouth, Mass.) and Claire Toffey (Barnstable, Mass.) had a convincing 8-2 win over Kate Bucci (Wakefield, R.I.) and Michelle Podnecky (Bridgewater, Vt.).
Crehan and Racine earned a pair of singles points at the fifth and third flights to put Castleton on top 4-1. The Chargers battled back with a No. 4 singles win by Rogers and a No. 6 win by Lauren Cornish (Austin, Texas).
With Castleton leading 4-3, the match came down to the play at the top two flights. Podnecky took the first set off of Lincoln in the No. 1 slot, but Lincoln fought back and won the next two sets to tie the match at 4-4.
The deciding match was on the shoulders of the No. 2 players in Colby-Sawyer's Claire Toffey and Castleton's Kate Bucci. The first two sets were split and the third set had to be moved to an indoor facility after four hours couldn't decide it. With the third set tied at 5-5, Bucci was able to break serve and take a 6-5 lead. Bucci held serve and won the match 7-5, lifting Castleton to the championship victory.
MVP – Kate Bucci – Castleton
Brittni Racine – Castleton
Liz Lincoln – Colby-Sawyer
Kaitlin Cunningham - Lyndon
Kate Murphy – Johnson State