LEE -- A year after a banner season ended in semifinal heartbreak, the Monument Mountain girls tennis team finally won the match it wanted.
The Spartans claimed a Western Massachusetts Division III title by denying nemesis Lenox a four-peat with a 4-1 victory in the sectional final.
"This is a huge deal for us," said Monument's Shea Caligari. "Especially being a senior and have it be my last year. ... I think this would've been their [fourth] consecutive title. We had that in mind. We knew what it meant to both teams."
Caligari gave the Spartans one of two big singles points with a win over Liz Jarck in the three slot. Fellow senior Courtney Freadman clinched the championship with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Rachel Cogswell at No. 2 singles. Jen Evans, Cara Freadman, Emily Martin and Molly Amstead provided the Spartans with a doubles sweep at Lee High School.
It was Monument's first title in at least the 10 years Spartans coach Jeff Caligari has led Berkshire County teams.
"Lenox has set the standard," Caligari said. "We knew this year we had a real good team and we had a good shot at doing it but we had to get by them probably. It's just a testament to how strong Berkshire County tennis is."
Monument moves on to face either Sutton or Northbridge in the state semifinals on Monday at St. John's of Shrewsbury.
That spot has been seemingly reserved for Lenox the last three years, but the Millionaires could only manage a win at first singles from Kelly Babich on Thursday. The defending sectional champs made it interesting, though. With the Spartans leading 2-1, Alex Trousilek and Kathy Prescott forced a third set at second doubles in a must-win match. Lenox needed Cogswell to win at second, too, to win.
Cogswell did briefly take a 3-2 lead in the second set, but her ever-steady opponent recovered to clinch the title with a 6-3 second-set win.
"They play very similar," said Millionaires coach Melissa Alexicko. "They're very consistent. But it seems like Courtney just happens to hit one more ball than Rachel."
Courtney Freadman used deep lobs that were either out of the reach of Cogswell or somehow tagged a sliver of the line to gain big points.
"I think a lob is a really hard shot," Courtney Freadman said. "It may seem easy to hit an overhead but I think it is one of the toughest shots."
Courtney Freadman climbed the hill by Lee High School to cheers after her win, making it halfway up before being greeted by the hugs of her teammates. After dethroning Lenox as county champions a year ago, the Spartans had repeated the feat on an even bigger stage.
"It's definitely a great reward and an awesome way to tie up our season," Courtney Freadman said.
Monument 4, Lenox 1
Singles -- 1. Kelly Babich (L) def. Sam White, 6-2, 6-4; 2. Courtney Freadman (M) def. Rachel Cogswell, 6-3, 6-3; 3. Shea Caligari (M) def. Liz Jarck, 6-1, 6-2.
Doubles -- 1. Jen Evans/Cara Freadman (M) def. Alex Adams/Cami Smachetti, 6-1, 6-2; 2. Emily Martin/Molly Amstead (M) def. Alex Trousilek/Kathy Prescott, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.