Women's tennis team captured the Little East Conference Tournament!

SSU's Women's Tennis Team_2011 winners of the Little East Tournament

10/25/2011 10:30:00 PM

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Second seeded Salem State University captured the Little East Conference Tournament title as the visiting Vikings edged top-seeded and defending champion Bridgewater State University, 5-4, on Tuesday afternoon.

It was the first-ever Little East Championship for Salem State, who notched a school-record 12th win in upsetting the Bears.

Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Lauren Turenne (Reading, Mass.), posted a come-from-behind triumph in the final match of the day at second singles to secure the championship for the Vikings. Turenne battled severe cramping in her playing hand and came back from losing the first set, 6-3, to BSU senior Bridget Murphy (Mattapoisett, Mass.). After winning the second set in a tie-breaker, 7-6 (7-4), Turenne won the match and gave Salem State the tournament championship with a 6-2 decision in set number three.

Salem jumped out to a 2-1 lead after doubles play with Turenne and junior Michelle McEwen (Billerica, Mass.) winning 8-3 at the top flight and senior Patricia Quartararo (Lexington, Mass.) and junior Anna Yaskell (Stockholm, Sweden) combining for an 8-6 decision at number three.

BSU sophomore Jenna Williamson (Ludlow, Mass.) evened the match with a 6-0, 6-4 straight set decision over McEwen in the battle of the top flight singles players.  Salem junior Jessica Spinale (Saugus, Mass.) reclaimed the lead for the Vikings with a 6-1, 6-3 win at sixth singles.

The remaining four singles matches all went three sets with BSU junior Julie Kraby (Wrentham, Mass.) and freshman Rachael Eramo (Rowley, Mass.) capturing the third and fifth flights respectively, while senior Carly Muniz (Gloucester, Mass.) won at number four for Salem.

Head coach Joe Dunn who has headed the program for 13 years spoke glowingly of his team. After losing twice in the conference finals the past two years, Coach Dunn was certain his team would reach their goal this year.  "I am proud of everyone and the commitment they made to the team and the hard work every single member gave in practice and at matches. We all had a belief from the first day of practice that we could do it, we could be Little East champions.”

The Vikings also drew inspiration from another source. Injured Boston University hockey player Travis Roy, who spoke to Salem State athletes last week on campus, motivated each player into believing they could accomplish any goal that they set. When his speech was complete the entire tennis team made a commitment to win the tournament for Travis.

Coach Dunn was certain Travis Roy's positive outlook on living life to the fullest despite your circumstances, and having passion for whatever you do played a part in his team reaching their goal. Coach Dunn plans on calling Travis to thank him for personally for the impact his speech had on his team.

Salem (12-2) will now advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament which takes place next May.  Bridgewater, which captured the Little East regular season title, wraps up the season with an overall record of 12-2.