CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The Mitchell College Mariners took a 6-3 win over the Lynx in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Semifinals to advance to the NECC Finals where they will meet up with top-seeded Regis College on Saturday. The Mariners took two out of three in doubles and four out of six in singles to advance where they will try to win their fifth consecutive NECC Championship.
Zachary Simmons (Coventry, Conn.) and Graham Cavanaugh (Reading, Conn.) rallied after trailing 4-5 to score the final four points to take an 8-5 win over Lynx senior Nick Mattox (Pasadena, Md.) and junior Mike Kaufman (Boca Raton, Fla.) in No. 1 singles.
At second doubles, Randy Coons (Yonkers, N.Y.) and Rocco Devona (Waterford, Conn.) took an early 3-0 lead, but Lesley senior Alex Zhitnik (West Hartford, Conn.) and junior Thomas Tedesco (Bristol, Conn.) fought back to notch it up at 6-6, but the Mariners held on to score the final two points of the match and the 8-6 victory.
Mitchell sophomore Chris McKeon (North Scituate, R.I.) and senior Timothy Atkinson (Fall River, Mass.) had a chance to serve out the match at No. 3 doubles, but Lynx sophomore Jordan Santos (Middlebury, Conn.) and senior Jimmy Paulsen (Monroe, Conn.) broke the serve to force the tiebreak. In the tiebreak, stellar play at the next from Santos was the difference as the Lynx rallied to a 9-8 victory.
Lesley tied the match up at 2-2 when Kaufman topped Atkinson at No. 4 singles. Kaufman dropped only one game rolling to a 6-0, 6-1 victory.
The tie was brief as Mitchell picked up wins at No. 3 and No. 2 singles. Cavanaugh defeated Tedesco in the third slot, 6-1, 6-0, while Simmons blanked Zhitnik in the No. 2 slot, 6-0, 6-0.
The Mariners appeared to be on their way to clinch the match at No. 1 singles as Devona shutout Mattox in the first set, 6-0, and was leading the second set 5-0. Mattox clawed his way back into the match, winning eight consecutive games to catch the second set 7-5 and take an early 1-0 lead in the third and final set. DeVona would take the next two games to claim a 2-1 lead before Mattox went on another run, winning the next five points to take the set and the match, 0-6, 7-5, 6-2.
Moments before the completion of No. 1 singles, Coons won a tight 6-3, 6-1 match at No. 5 singles to give Mitchell the fifth and decisive point to advance them to the finals.
Lesley finishes their season at 8-7 overall.
The NECC Championship match will be played at Regis College on Saturday, April 27th at 1:00p.