When you are an undefeated No. 1 seed in the MIAA girls’ tennis tournament, you are going to get everyone’s best shot.
On Monday, Wellesley got the best from Westford Academy (16-5) at Lexington High School, where the Raiders came out on top, 3-2, in the Division 1 state semifinals.
Wellesley improved to 23-0 and advanced to the Division 1 state finals to play Nashoba on Wednesday.
“I knew it was going to be a really tough match,” Wellesley coach Alan Brazier said. “Year in and year out Westford is one of the consistently good programs in the state.”
With each program claiming 2 points, Julia Wilson and Gabby Clifford earned the deciding point by winning in first doubles, 6-1, 7-5.
Wilson went from not starting to earning a spot in first doubles after winning a challenge match before the start of the tournament.
“I fought my way up,” Wilson said. “It feels good to help my team make it to the finals.”
“I had no idea until I got off the court,” Wilson said about claiming the match-point victory for her team. “It made it 10 times better.”
The Raiders notched key points in first singles (Ashley Avery) and third singles (Anna Gishin).
“We aren’t taking anything for granted,” Brazier said.
Division 1 boys’ semifinals
Lexington 3, Brookline 2 — For the second time in two years, Lexington has reached the Division 1 EMass championship.
The Minutemen (23-1) defeated Brookline to advance to the final. Lexington got the deciding point from its second doubles pair, senior Ethan Housen and junior Charley Zhao.
The duo defeated Brookline senior Zander Comerchero and junior Jesse Lamba, 6-4, 6-4.
“We knew going in that we had to steal a doubles point,” said coach Chris Pugliese. “Both our doubles teams definitely came to play today, and we got one at [second doubles].”
Brookline (17-3) got a win in first singles, with senior Eliot Rozovsky defeating junior Benjamin Maffa, 6-4, 7-5.
With Lexington freshmen Griffin Posey (6-3, 6-4) and Patrick Bodrog (6-0, 6-4) winning their matches in straight sets, both doubles teams were the last on the court.
The first doubles pair went to three sets, so when Housen and Zhao won their match, they ended up winning the meet for their team.
“I was a little shocked at first,” said Housen.
“Our recipe the whole year was to win both doubles, and this was their first loss all season,” said Brookline coach Nick Pero. “That was most likely the difference-maker.”
In first doubles, Brookline’s Drew McCarthy and Josh Caplan rallied from a 4-6 loss in the first set to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
“I can’t believe we made it here,” said Housen. “This year was kind of a rebuilding year, we lost a bunch of seniors, and I didn’t know what was going to happen to the team. But we’ve worked hard this entire season, I’m so excited.”
Lexington moves on to play Westboro in the championship, the very team it beat, 4-1, in 2014 to secure the state title.
“I’m confident that we can do it again,” said Housen.
Division 3 girls’ semifinals
Martha’s Vineyard 4, Lynnfield 1 — For Martha’s Vineyard, the trip to Newton North was well worth it.
The reigning Division 3 champions defeated Lynnfield, 4-1, to advance to the final.
It was junior Camilla Prata, who clinched the match for the Vineyarders (20-0), winning, 6-4, 6-1, over Lynnfield senior Amanda Stelman in third singles.
“[Stelman] was a good player,” said Vineyarders coach Nina Bramhall. “Our girl just made her hit one extra shot, and that is a strategy that paid off for her all season long.”
“I’m thrilled for her, this is her first season on varsity,” added Bramhall.
Sophomore Lizzie Williamson and freshman Victoria Scott won their first doubles match, 6-2, 6-2. Freshman Kelly Klaren won, 6-1, 6-0, in second singles. Sophomore Kat Roberts went the distance, fighting off a 3-6 first-set loss in first singles to win, 6-3, 7-6.
Lynnfield (19-1) won in second doubles, with senior Hayley Timmons and junior Katie Nugent winning, 6-4, 6-3.
“It’s super exciting,” said captain Amadine Muniz. “We’re so proud of everybody for taking the courts and winning 4-1.”
Martha’s Vineyard will play Hopedale in the final.
Division 3 boys’ semifinals
Dover-Sherborn 3, Weston 2 — Last year around this time, Dover-Sherborn suffered a heartbreaking loss in the MIAA semifinals to the eventual Division 3 state champion Bedford, ending its quest for an undefeated season.
This season, that dream is alive and well, after the Raiders earned a 3-2 victory over Weston (14-9) in the Division 3 semifinals at Lexington High .
The Raiders, who only lost one set all tournament prior to Monday, improved to 21-0 and will face Whitinsville Christian in the state final Thursday.
“It’s just been something unbelievable, a magical ride,” Dover-Sherborn coach Jon Kirby said.
“We got our ears pinned back last year by Bedford. There’s that old thing in coaching where you have to go there once before you can go there and win it. Last year was an investment in what happened today.”
The Raiders battled back from a 2-1 deficit after falling in first singles and first doubles.
A comeback victory in third singles by Jake Budd (3-6, 6-3, 6-3) kept the Raiders alive and set the stage for a thrilling finish in second doubles.
Weston claimed the first set in second doubles, 7-6 (9-7). Charlie Allen and Seth Novitch battled back, 6-2, 6-3, for the Raiders to claim the point and the match.
“The funny thing is we lost the first set in both of those [matches],” Kirby said. “The kids spun it around. I felt confident and they felt confident. I know these kids and I thought they’d come back.”