SHREWSBURY -- Sam White went over after her victory, then asked how Monument Mountain teammate Courtney Freadman had won her match on an adjacent court.
"She was down 3-6 in the tiebreaker, is that right?" White said before nodding and continuing. "She would be one to stick it out, though."
So are the Spartans after four Monument players, including White and Freadman, gutted their way past mid-match slumps in a 4-1 victory over Sutton in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association's Division III state semifinals. While Freadman won in straight sets at second singles both White and the first doubles pairing of Jen Evans and Cara Freadman needed three sets to clinch the Spartans' first-ever state semifinal victory inside the Shrewsbury Health and Racquet Club.
"They're tough mentally, no question about it," said Monument coach Jeff Caligari. "They don't give up. It's been like that all along. ... They just have a lot of confidence. They support each other a lot. It's felt by all the players."
Monument (14-2), fresh off its first Western Mass. title in school history, will go for a state title on Friday at St. John's High School in Shrewsbury. The Spartans' opponent will be determined today when Manchester-Essex and Cohasset face off at Newton South.
Monument got there with strong singles play but also another win at first doubles from Evans and Cara Freadman. The pair had to weather stiff momentum swings on Monday to keep their unbeaten season going. They led 4-1 in the first set before the Suzies' Nicole Modig and Bri Wason rallied to tie the set at 4-4. Freadman and Evans closed that set out, 6-4, before losing the second 6-1.
The Spartans cleaned up their game in the third, committing fewer errors and getting strong net play from Freadman.
"We definitely knew our match could be the deciding one," Evans said. "We definitely wanted to win. We weren't going to lose."
That point tied the match after Sutton's Ali Scagnelli and Monica Hall won second doubles 6-2, 6-1.
White wasn't feeling well either, at one point reaching for an inhaler in the second set. That seemed to help and the big-hitting junior reached into her bag for all her weapons -- including some nasty slice -- to wear Creamer out. Like her teammates on the doubles court, White completed a three-set victory by dominating the third, 6-0.
"I was really tired and I could feel my legs giving out," Creamer said. "My knee would give out. I already have to wear a brace for it. It'd just lock up and I'd feel myself wanting to let go a little but I just had to keep fighting."
Freadman, described by White as so consistent and mentally strong, wrapped her own climb back from triple-set point moments earlier. With the match in hand, Shea Caligari added a victory in a 10-point game at third singles, winning 10-6.
The Spartans, chasing Lenox in Berkshire County for so long, were now headed to the state championship match.
"It means a lot," White said. "Just thinking about it I'm getting all heeby-jeebies. But yeah, I'm really excited. Hopefully we can pull it out there, too."
Monument 4, Sutton 1
Singles -- 1. Sam White (M) def. Sam Creamer, 7-5, 2-6, 6-0; 2. Courtney Freadman (M) def. Sarah Hall, 6-2, 7-6 (6); 3. Shea Caligari (M) def. Olivia Newell, 10-6.
Doubles -- 1. Jen Evans/Cara Freadman (M) def. Nicole Modig/Bri Wason, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2; 2. Ali Scagnelli/Monica Hall (S) def. Molly Amstead/Emily Martin, 6-2, 6-1.