Monument's Shafiroff and Higgins win Western Mass. doubles championship


They had to get through a Cinderella doubles team to do it, but the Monument Mountain tandem of Carly Shafiroff and Hailey Higgins are your Western Massachusetts Individuals champions this morning.

"It's crazy," said Shafiroff, reached on her way home from Northampton. "It will take a while" to sink in.

"We went into it thinking 'Lets have fun.' Once we won our first two matches, it was like we might have a chance to win it."

Shafiroff and Higgins, the fifth seeds in doubles, beat No. 3 seeds Emma Gomes and Mariana Goncalves of Ludlow 7-6 (8-6), 6-4. The six games won by Shafiroff and Higgins in the first set surpassed the number of games Gomes and Goncalves had lost in their first two matches combined.

"To me, it shows they can rise to the occasion," Monument coach Jeff Caligari said of his doubles team. "To raise their game and beat a higher-seeded team was awesome."

In four matches in the tournament, the duo from Monument did not drop a set to bring home the championship.

"I'm still in shock," Higgins said when reached late yesterday ."I thought it would be a really good experience to get out of our comfort zone" and play tandems they don't usually play.

"It's really crazy to win the whole tournament."

In the semifinals, Higgins and Shafiroff scored a 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) win over Longmeadow's Jennifer Brayton and Swanson. The semifinal appearance by the Longmeadow duo was, based on the seeds, a surprise. They had knocked off top-seeded Christine Mayotte and Sara Salerna of Minnechaug 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

The Spartans, however, advanced to the semifinals with a couple of — on the scoreboard — easy wins. They had beaten Agawam's Katelyn Poirer and Ariana Korcz 6-3, 6-0, and then beat Ludlow's Kayla Santos and Marisa Lombardi 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

Gomes and Goncalves had dropped one game in their first two matches and then knocked off the second-seeded pair from Longmeadow Cali Grincavitch and Sarah Hachadourian.

In the final, the Spartans won the first set 7-6 with an 8-6 tiebreaker, and were receiving for the match at 5-4.

"We had to take the second set," Shafiroff said. 'We didn't want to go into a third set. We just wanted to finish it."

Higgins said Gomes and Goncalves had been serving wide, so she and Shafiroff had moved over to their right. Higgins took the serve, stepped into the ball and hit it back.

"I knew it was probably going to be a good return," said Higgins.

It was and the Spartans had their championship.

"I just remember winning the point and turning to Carly," said Higgins. 'We were kind of in shock. She had a really surprised look on her face."

Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.


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