The Lightning defeated Wilmington University in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference finals in Connecticut Saturday.
For the second straight year, Goldey-Beacom College owned the spotlight at the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference women's tennis championships.
And for the second straight year, sophomore Alma Garcia Valle from Spain added the exclamation point.
Garcia Valle capped an incredible comeback to win her match and help Goldey-Beacom capture its second consecutive Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference title, 5-3 over Wilmington University, on Saturday. The event was held in Middlebury, Connecticut.
With the second title in school history also comes the squad’s seventh trip to the NCAA Tournament. The first and second rounds of the East Regional take place April 28-29 at a site to be determined.
The Lightning (11-0) were making their sixth trip to the conference final and appeared in consecutive seasons for the first time since going three straight years from 2009-11. The squad also won the 10th CACC title for the college and equaled its best start in school history.
Goldey-Beacom held a 4-3 lead in the tie, but things did not look good for Garcia Valle, who at fifth singles against Andrea Ribalta was down 5-2 and two breaks in the second set after taking the first set. But Garcia Valle, as she always does, battled back by winning the next five games for an incredible 6-3, 7-5 victory.
In Goldey-Beacom’s 5-1 victory a season ago over Post in the conference final, Garcia Valle closed the tie with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Brianna Miah.
The Lightning, top seed in the conference tournament for the second straight year, began things with a 2-1 lead after doubles. Freshmen Lotte Lesscher y Post (Arnhem, Netherlands) and Catarina Zheng (Oporto, Portugal) recorded an 8-2 triumph at first doubles, while Garcia Valle and junior Manuela Cornejo (Quito, Ecuador) posted a 8-2 win at third doubles.
After Wilmington (10-6) won at sixth singles, Lesscher y Post gave GBC a 3-2 lead with her 7-5, 6-2 triumph at first singles over Begona Gomar.
Wilmington then squared the match with a fourth-singles win before Zheng notched a 7-5, 6-1 triumph at No. 2 singles over Laura Gil, making it 4-3.
Lesscher y Post was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player with a 3-0 record, not including a first-set win Friday over two-time CACC Player of the Year Karla Miletic from University of the Sciences in the semifinals. Garcia Valle, Zheng and sophomore Anna Hortelano Pey (Castelldefels, Spain) also were picked to the all-tournament team.
The third-seeded Wildcats only are in their second season.