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Monument’s White finds rhythm to help Spartan’s beat Lee

GREAT BARRINGTON – Monument Mountain Head Coach Jeff Caligari has had the fortune of having three strong singles players on his Lady Spartans team the last three years.

Leading the first singles card again this spring is Samantha White, who is one of the best servers and returners in Berkshire County – when she is on her game.

When White struggles, the team is susceptible to defeat, including two previous losses to Lee and Lenox last week.

“She has been very erratic, lots of unforced errors – lost three matches in a row after losing only two her first two years,” Caligari said.

On Monday afternoon, White may have turned the corner for good, as she battled Lee’s number one player, Caitlyn Briggs, by coming back down 4-1 and 5-2 in the first set to win the match, 7-5, 6-1, helping the Spartans defeat the Wildcats, 3-2.

“I told her one game at a time – and don’t look ahead – and if anything, try to win a few games and build momentum for the second set,” Caligari said.

White lost the first set game with three unforced errors, as Briggs began to go to the net and force White to move her feet.

The strategy paid off for Briggs, as she went up 3-0 in the first set.

“It was definitely in my head,” White said of being down 3-0. “ I wasn’t moving my feet well enough, which, as I progressed in the set, I realized and got my rhythm, [which] led to a comeback.”

Down 4-1, White won with her serve, but Briggs won the fifth game after being down 0-30, with White continuing to battle unforced errors.

White cut it to 5-3 after acing a winner on her final serve. She would never look back after that.

After breaking Briggs’ serve, White hit a winner down the line on 40-15, while Briggs lost the next game on a double fault to put White up 6-5.

White won the final (seventh) game of the set after going up 40-0 with two aces and Briggs hitting a rare unforced error.

White used the momentum swing to race through the final set, after settling, winning the second set 6-1, giving plenty of relief for the tennis star.

“I was in a pretty bad slump these three games, but I realized what I have to do now in order to keep my team going,” White said.

In 2012, White’s team captured a Berkshire County crown, reaching the Western Mass semi-finals, before being knocked out by South Hadley.

This season, the Spartans have a (hopefully) rejuvenated White and a resurgent doubles team, led by incoming freshmen Cara Freadman and Molly Amsted. Caligari’s squad is poised to make another deep tourney run.

“[Courtney] Freadman is undefeated and playing great [at number two singles]– nothing fazes her – she is solid,” Caligari said. “[Cara] Freadman and Jen Evans are also undefeated – they don’t lose.”

Courtney Freadman won her singles match over Lee’s Emma Forget 6-0, 6-0, and Cara Freadman and Evans defeated Julia LeProvost and Isley Gagnon, 6-1, 7-5.

With the win, the Spartans improved to 6-2 overall and have a two-game winning streak with a previous win over Mt. Greylock, yet their future success will depend on the consistency of White.

“My feeling is she is on the right track – when she first starts a match, she is almost becomes afraid to lose, so she becomes tentative,” Caligari said, “ and she tries to place the ball instead of hitting through it.”

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Posted by on May 9, 2013. Filed under High School Sports,Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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