Senior Meridith Blessard of Lincoln, the winningest player in program history, hopes to lead the Husson University women's tennis team to a North Atlantic Conference title and an NCAA tournament berth this weekend. Credit: Monty J. Rand

Anchored by the winningest player in program history, the Husson University women’s tennis team seeks its first North Atlantic Conference championship Saturday.

The undefeated Eagles (8-0 overall, 4-0 in NAC play) earned the top seed for the four-team semifinals at the Berkshire West Athletic Club in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, for the first time in program history after a regular season in which coach Josh Warren’s club outscored its opponents 67-3 in individual matches.

Husson faces No. 4 Northern Vermont University-Lyndon (1-8 overall, 1-4 NAC) in one semifinal while No. 2 Lesley (3-7, 3-1 NAC) plays No. 3 Northern Vermont University-Johnson (4-6, 2-2 NAC) in the other semifinal.

The semifinals begin at 9 a.m., with the championship match starting one hour after the semifinals are completed. The NAC champ earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament next spring.

Husson, seeking its third consecutive berth in the NAC final, is led by senior Meridith Blessard of Lincoln, a four-year player who earned second-team all-conference recognition last fall.

A former high school standout at Mattanawcook Academy, Blessard is a two-time NAC player of the week this fall, and has become Husson’s career leader in both singles and doubles victories.

Blessard is the lone senior among the team’s top players, a group that includes two juniors and five freshmen.

Juniors Jocelyn Bell of Holden and Marissa Brown of Lincoln, Rhode Island, are joined in that contingent by first-years Ashley Matlock of Caribou; Natalie Tilton of Lincoln; Hannah Malinen of Middletown, Pennsylvania; Julia O’Leary of Bristol, Connecticut; and Nicci Munroe of Rindge, New Hampshire.

Matlock, who helped Caribou High School win back-to-back Class B North championships in 2017 and 2018, is the most recent NAC rookie of the week and one of three Husson first-year players to win that honor this fall along with Malinen and O’Leary.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...