BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The top-seeded Bridgewater State University women's tennis team swept the three doubles flights and went on to defeat third-seeded Salem State University, 5-0, in the Little East Conference Tournament championship match at the Rosen Memorial Tennis Courts in Bridgewater on Saturday afternoon.
The Bears advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the third time in program history and for the second time in the last three years. Bridgewater also advanced in 2007 after winning the Little East Tournament when it was an individual flighted format.
The Bears took the lead when junior Jenna Williamson (Ludlow, Mass.) and senior Lauren Hopp (Dartmouth, Mass.) posted an 8-3 triumph at the top doubles flight. Freshman Alison Vautrin (Somerset, Mass.) and sophomore Rachael Eramo (Rowley, Mass.) followed with an 8-5 win at number three. Seniors Ashley Pereira (Assonet, Mass.) and Brittney Hislop (Burley, Wash.) completed the doubles sweep with an 8-3 victory at the second flight.
Williamson, the tournament's Most Valuable Player, won in straight sets at first singles, 6-0, 6-1, to stake the Bears to a 4-0 lead. Hopp then clinched the championship with a 6-0, 6-4 triumph at the fifth flight. The remaining four singles flights were unfinished as the match ended once one team earned five points. The Bears were up a set in two of the four remaining singles matches.
The Bears improved to 13-2 with the victory, one win shy of the program mark of 14 wins set in 2010. Salem ends the 2012 season with a record of 8-5.
The NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Tournament does not take place until next May (May 20-25) with tournament pairings to be announced at a later date.