The girls’ tennis team advances to the sectional finals after defeating Cohasset 3-2 in an exhilarating home match Wednesday.

The win marks a first for the high school girls tennis program which has never sent a team to the finals of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) sectional tournament.

The Vineyarders will face Dover-Sherborn in the final round of play in the division. If they win, they will advance to the semi-finals of the MIAA state tournament. The match will be played at Old Rochester at 1 p.m. Friday.

On Wednsday seniors Josie Iadicicco and Charlotte Potter edged out the victory for the Vineyard in the first doubles position. Wins by freshmen Kat Roberts and Lizzie Williamson at second and third singles put the Vineyard in the lead. Roberts won 6-0, 6-3, and Williamson didn’t allow her opponent any games.

“We had great rallies and it wasn’t easy at all,” she said later.

At number one singles Sam Potter lost 1-6, 0-6 to Emma Davis, a nationally-ranked, home schooled player whose shots were executed with pinpoint accuracy. Both doubles matches went to three sets, and all three singles courts had finished before the doubles teams entered their tiebreak sets. A stringent Cohasset coach insisted that both doubles teams leave their courts for mandatory 10-minute timeouts before they entered their final sets. Meanwhile, military transport planes circled the courts; early preparation, perhaps, for the President’s anticipated vacation on the Island later this summer.

Purple was well represented in the stands with a supportive crowd.

The pressure was on both doubles teams; at least one court needed to win in order for the Vineyard to advance to the finals.

“You really didn’t know what was going to happen until it was over,” said head Coach Nina Bramhall.

Josie and Charlotte went down 2-3, and then rattled off four straight games to take the final set, and the whole match for the Vineyard. Cohasset displayed unsportsmanlike conduct and initially refused to shake the Vineyard girls’ hands, as is customary across all levels of play, at the end of the match. The crowd booed, after which half of the opposing team approached and offered a handshake.

There were other tensions throughout the doubles match. Fans took issue with Cohasset talking during points. The Cohasset coach requested a linesperson, and Doug Browne, director of tennis at The Boathouse, volunteered. “I just came to watch the young ladies play because they had done so well. I came as a supporter. Ironically one of my members asked me if I would help and I said I would be glad to,” he said.

Niceties that had been exchanged in the beginning of the match turned heated, but despite interferences, the Vineyarders were unflappable. “There were some etiquette misdemeanors but Josie and I fought hard and we kept using the negative attitude against us in a positive way,” Charlotte Potter said later. “I told myself to focus on each point, and each shot.”

At doubles the Vineyard girls were gutsy and competitive. Freshman Lia Potter (no relation to twins Sam and Charlotte) and junior Amadine Muniz left it all on court two. Theirs was the longest running match, and they were eventually defeated 7-5, 3-6, 1-6.

“I am always proud of them but I have never been as proud of them as I was in that match,” Coach Bramhall of her whole team.

Sam Potter looks forward to another fiercely contested match in the final round of the division tournament. She has high hopes for herself and for the team she leads. “I thought it was a good match to play going forward for the rest of the tournament and I think it really set me up to play good tennis,” she said.

The closeness of the match was not lost on the Vineyard’s director of athletics, Mark McCarthy, who was relieved by his team’s victory. “It’s tournament time and somebody has to win and advance, and fortunately this time it was us,” he said.