SOUTH HADLEY -- With the match riding on the outcome and trailing 4-1 in the second set after losing the first 6-1, Lee's No. 2 doubles team of Sarah Winston and Mad ison DiSantis produced a stunning comeback to keep the Wildcats' season alive.
In a match that started outdoors at Mount Holyoke College and finished indoors, Winston and DiSantis won the final five games of the second set and then took the third 6-4 over Mia Ray and Brenna Fogarty to clinch a 3-2 win and make Jeff Forget one proud coach.
"That was as exciting as high school tennis gets," Forget said. "There were some strategy changes when they were behind, and like any good doubles team, Sarah and Maddie supported each other and communicated with each other well.
"When the tide turned after the second set, I think that put a lot of pressure on South Hadley's team, especially with them being the one seed."
With South Hadley having won the first points of the day at No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles, the Wildcats actually trailed 2-0 shortly after the matches were forced indoors by rain.
But No. 2 singles player Emma Forget earned Lee's first point with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Julie LePrevost and No. 1 Caitlyn Briggs defeated Katie Meon, also 6-2, 6-2, to even the match and turn all the attention to the dramatic No. 2 doubles battle.
"The scores [at 1 and 2 singles] were the same, but Caitlyn's match lasted longer," Forget said. "Katie was very steady and is a great athlete like Caitlyn, and it was difficult to win points outright.
Making the No. 2 doubles comeback all the more remarkable is the fact that Winston is just a sophomore and DiSantis only a freshman. And, in what may have a stroke of good fortune, they recently lost a challenge match to teammates Ashley Kelly and Kayla Withers and were dropped from No. 1 to No. 2 doubles.
"We'll never know," said Forget, when it was suggested being dropped down ended up deciding the match in his team's favor.
One thing he does know, however, is that he has a good team and its season is still alive.
"I could not be prouder," he said. "I have believed in them all season, maybe more than they believed in themselves. After this match, hopefully it shows them they are as good as I believe they are."
Lee's second-round match is expected to be played on Tuesday.