WMass tennis: South Hadley girls get No. 1 seed, eye potential rematch with No. 3 Belchertown

By MIKE MORAN

@mikemoranDHG

Published: 05-31-2017 12:19 PM

The South Hadley and Belchertown girls tennis teams are on a collision course again.

The two schools met in the finals of the 2016 Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament. Belchertown, then the No. 1 seed, beat the third-seeded Tigers, 3-2.

They also met to open the season. That match was won by South Hadley, 3-2.

The tournament roles are flipped this season.

South Hadley (16-4) earned the top seed in the Division 3 field on Tuesday. Belchertown (15-5) is the third seed.

“Who knows if we meet again,” Tigers coach Eric Cestero said.

Monument Mountain (11-0) is the second seed.

Lee (11-4), Lenox (10-5), Palmer (9-7), Greenfield (6-6), Mohawk (7-7) and Mount Greylock (6-6) are seeds 4-9, respectively.

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South Hadley plays the winner between Mohawk and Greylock. The quarterfinal match is scheduled for Friday, but South Hadley has graduation so the game will likely be moved.

“Everyone started really motivated when the season started,” Cestero said. “They were practicing hard. They had a commitment this year. They knew that last year it slipped away from them. They said this year we really want to go for it.”

The Orioles will host Palmer at 3 p.m. on Friday in the quarterfinals.

Belchertown enters on a bit of a slide, losing two straight and three of four.

A 13-game win streak was snapped with a 3-2 loss to Agawam on May 19. Belchertown rebounded from the loss and beat Sabis, but fell on the road to Central and Lee to close the season. Each of the three losses were in five sets.

South Hadley has won seven straight since a 5-0 loss to Longmeadow on May 16.

Belchertown and South Hadley should be well prepared for the tournament. Both played Division 1-heavy schedules.

“It can only get you better,” Cestero said.

The Tigers have depth. During April vacation, five starters left on a class trip to Italy. The five substitutes stepped in and the team went 5-0 while the starters were out.

Boys tournament

Two-time runner-up Belchertown (18-2) earned the top seed in the Division 3 tournament.

The Orioles lost to Mount Greylock in the finals each of the past two seasons.

“They know what they have to do,” Belchertown coach Zach Siano said. “They don’t want another second place trophy.”

Belchertown will host the winner of Thursday’s first-round matchup between No. 6 Frontier Regional (11-2) and host No. 8 Lee (8-8). The quarterfinal is at 4 p.m., Monday in Belchertown.

Frontier is a co-ed team that competes in the girls Tri-County North. Because the Red Hawks elected to field their entire team in the postseason, they were moved into the boys tournament.

South Hadley (10-8) earned the No. 4 seed and will host No. 5 Turners Falls (10-6) in the quarterfinals, Thursday at 4 p.m.

In Division 1, Northampton (9-6) received the fifth seed and will visit No. 4 West Springfield (15-3), at 4 p.m. Friday.

The Terriers won the Pioneer League at 7-1, while the Blue Devils were runner-up at 4-4 in the Valley League.

Northampton has won five of six.

“I think we feel good about our chances Thursday,” Northampton coach Brian Miller said.

Amherst is the No. 8 seed and will host No. 9 Pittsfield (5-4), Thursday at 4 p.m.

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