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Panthers fall to eventual champs in semis


by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

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Senior Jenn Lively eyes a shot during her match at fifth singles in Moultonborough's 6-3 loss to Littleton in the Division III semifinals last week at Camp Robindel. Patrick McHugh - The Citizen. (click for larger version)
June 09, 2014
MOULTONBOROUGH After a historic start to the season that saw the Moultonborough Academy girls' tennis team storm out to a 15-0 record and just two matches away from a state title, fourth-seeded Littleton High School came to Camp Robindel and spoiled the party on June 2.

The visiting Crusaders had to work for it, but the squad won a 6-3 decision over the top-seeded Panthers in the Division III semifinals that featured a plethora of close contests up and down the lineup. Littleton would advance to the championship tilt, where it edged second-seeded Conant, 5-4, to capture a state title.

MA fell into a 4-2 hole after singles action, with the lone victories coming at first and third singles. Senior Angela Yeo captured the most lopsided match of the entire day, as she knocked off Littleton's Phoebe Lahout in the number one slot, 8-2.

Classmate Ally Lively was the other singles winner, as she held off Rachel Fillion at number three, 8-6.

If any one of the other singles losses managed to go the other way, things very well may have wound up differently for MA. Megan Wallace dropped an 8-5 decision at second singles, while Sophea Sindorf and Jenn Lively were both edged by 8-6 scores in the fourth and fifth spots, respectively. Veronica Diltz also dropped a tight match at number six, 8-5.

The 4-2 deficit made for a daunting task in doubles action, as the Panthers found themselves trailing for the first time all season long. MA would need a clean sweep in doubles play to take the win and advance to the championship match. But Littleton was up to the task, and the Crusaders claimed two of the three matches to earn the 6-3 win.

All three matches stayed consistent with singles play however, with close scores making for exciting tennis. Wallace and Sindorf were the lone MA pair to take home a win, as the number two tandem won a thrilling 9-8 (9-7 tiebreaker) contest. Yeo and Ally Lively nearly took a win at number one before falling by a 9-7 score, while Jenn Lively and Diltz dropped an 8-5 match at number three.

The loss did not take away from an outstanding season that saw the Panthers breeze to the regular season undefeated mark and the number one seed in the tournament. A 9-0 win over Gilford in the quarterfinals sent them into the Final Four. The squad will certainly have new look to it next spring, as five of the six starting players (all but Diltz) will be lost to graduation.

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