|St. Paul No. 2 singles player Tori Kilbourne calls a shot out during her match on Monday.|
A big reason was the play of singles players Natasha Kempes (No. 1), Tori Kilbourne (No. 2) and Katie Pauloz (No. 3). Kempes and Kilbourne went undefeated during the regular season, and Pauloz lost once.
All three of those same players won for third-seeded St. Paul in Monday's NVL team quarterfinal matchup against No. 6 Holy Cross. What also happened was the Falcons swept doubles for the first time this season, and that helped propel the home team to a 6-1 win at Peck Park in Bristol.
"It was awesome to watch the girls all play well, give it their all," St. Paul head coach Beth Hines said.
The Falcons will play No. 2 Naugatuck on Wednesday. For the Crusaders, the next stop is NVL singles and doubles tournament play. After that is the Class S state tournament.
Kempes won 8-2 over Elena Tormo at No. 1 singles, Kilbourne defeated Therese Cayabyab 8-3 at No. 2 singles, and Pauloz claimed an 8-2 victory over Claire Sullivan at No. 3 singles. The trio continued their solid play from the regular season.
"It's everything," Hines said of the success of the threesome. "They're the backbone of the team."
Holy Cross got one back at No. 4 singles when Julia Dzinski rallied for an 8-6 win over Sophia Penesse.
After that, it was all St. Paul. No. 1 doubles went to Mariah Fiscella and Caroline Badal, 8-5 over Julia Flynn and Jessica Solnik. At No. 2 doubles, Lizzie Etter and Ximena Varela-Marin knocked off Rhea Luo and Allysa Cayabyab 8-4. At No. 3 doubles, Lyndsey Martin and Lydia Feng completed the Falcon sweep with another 8-4 score.
PHOTOS: Click here for images from Monday's match.