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Bulldogs overcome illness for key win

WESTERLY — An illness to its No. 3 singles player threw a monkey wrench into the Westerly High girls’ tennis team’s regular lineup, but the Bulldogs prevailed over Ponaganset 4-3, in a Division II-Suburban match.

The win improved the Bulldogs’ record to 9-1 and keep their hopes alive for a bye into the D-II semifinals Oct. 17.

Westerly is tied with Narragansett for second place in Suburban B but holds a tie-breaker because of a regular season win over the Mariners. The Bulldogs end the regular season with a pair of league matches against 2-8 teams: Chariho and East Providence.

Michaela Burr won at No. 1 singles, 6-0 and 6-1, Monday and Lani Kopperman prevailed at No. 2 singles, 6-2, 6-1.

Grace Gagnon, the regular No. 3 singles’ starter, missed the match because of illness, forcing Westerly coach Marvin Gordon to reshuffle his lineup, moving No. 4 singles’ player Lana Gunn to No. 3 and a regular doubles player to No. 4 singles.

When No. 1 doubles team Emily Palma and Renee Cordio lost in three games, for just their second loss of the season against 10 wins, things got interesting against Ponaganset (4-6).

But Laura Cruso and Kate Kuzmic won at No. 2 doubles, 7-5 and 6-0, and Julia DeGrooth and Jessica Cote prevailed at No. 3 doubles, 6-3 and 6-1, to clinch the match for the Bulldogs.

While Westerly faces two 2-8 teams to compete the regular season, Narragansett has yet to play undefeated Toll Gate. Portsmouth (8-3) leads Suburban A, so the Bulldogs stand a solid chance to finish with the second best regular season record in Division II.

“The lineup change made it tighter than usual,” Gordon said. “The rules say you have to move the next best player higher, so that shook things up.”

The Bulldogs travel to Chariho 3:30 p.m. today.


Bulldogs sweep

NARRAGANSETT — Sarah Garvey led Westerly with a third-place overall finish to key the Bulldogs’ Southern Division sweep Monday.

Westerly beat Narragansett 23-35 and Prout 25-31 to improve to 5-3, 5-3 Southern Division.

Prout (4-4, 4-4 Southern Division) registered a 24-35 win over Narragansett (3-5, 3-5 Southern Division).

Narragansett’s Marissa McPhillips finished first on the 2.75-mile course in 18:34.

Garvey was Westerly’s fastest finisher in 19:09. Also scoring for the Bulldogs were Maddy McLaughlin (4th overall, 19:59), Carlie Sisco (5th, 20:32), Serenity Chen (9th, 21:25) and Cat Labriola (12th, 22:12).

Senior Jackie Burr, who hasn’t raced since Sept. 16, sat out this meet nursing an ankle injury.

The sweep in the final dual meet of the season gave Westerly fourth place in the nine-team Southern Division.

Westerly is off until Oct. 19 when it competes in the Brown Invitational.

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