04/25/13 4:00pm
04/25/2013 4:00 PM
COURTESY PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy senior Cassidy Lessard, flanked by her parents Kelly and Dave, signed a letter of intent to play tennis for Wagner College.

COURTESY PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy senior Cassidy Lessard, flanked by her parents Kelly and Dave, signed a letter of intent to play tennis for Wagner College.

Bishop McGann-Mercy senior Cassidy Lessard of Jamesport has accepted an athletic and academic scholarship to play tennis at Wagner College, a NCAA Division 1 school on Staten Island. With her parents, Kelly and Dave watching, Lessard signed her letter of intent on Wednesday during a commitment ceremony held at the McGann-Mercy chapel.

Encouraged to play tennis by her parents, Lessard first picked up a racket when she was 5 years old. During her four years as a first singles player for the Monarchs, Lessard built an overall record of 60-12.

“Cassidy has had a tremendous impact on our program,” McGann-Mercy coach Mike Clauberg said in a prepared statement. “We could always count on her to come up with the big win under pressure. Her athleticism, work ethic and leadership as a captain is a big reason why we have been top 10 on Long Island for the past two years.”

Lessard has also received all-county honors and was awarded a Suffolk Zone Leadership Award.

In addition to her athletic prowess, Lessard is a dedicated student, earning an overall grade-point average of 94.16 percent. “Cassidy is a great student/athlete who continuously strives for excellence in both tennis and academics,” McGann-Mercy’s athletic director, John Lonardo, said in a press release. “She truly is a great kid who is going to do well in life.”

In reflecting on why she decided to sign with Wagner, Lessard took both athletic and academic concerns into account. “I chose Wagner for two reasons,” she said. “First, the tennis team and coaching staff are a perfect fit for me, and second, for their excellent nursing program.”

10/17/12 8:00pm
10/17/2012 8:00 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | McGann-Mercy singles player Cassidy Lessard earned all-county honors after finishing fourth at the Division IV tournament.

For as well as the McGann-Mercy girls tennis team has performed in recent years, sending singles players to the county tournament has been a relatively rare accomplishment over the history of the program.

Senior Cassidy Lessard joined the exclusive group Monday when she advanced into the semifinals of the singles tournament, where she lost a spirited match against the top seed and eventual champion, Aimee Manfredo of Shoreham-Wading River. The loss dropped Lessard into the consolation final Tuesday at William Floyd High School, where she faced Noa Dubin of Southampton to determine third and fourth place. The top four singles player advance to the county tournament, which begins this weekend.

On a windy afternoon where neither player was at her best, Dubin won 6-2, 6-1 as Lessard finished the tournament in fourth place for an all-county finish.

“Even though today she goes down on a loss, it’s still a privilege to be in the final 16 in the county,” said Mercy coach Mike Clauberg. “If she wins one match, she’ll be in the final eight.”

Clauberg said as far as he can tell, Lessard is only the third singles player from Mercy to achieve all-county status.

“She’s part of an elite group from Mercy High School,” he said.

Lessard advances to the county tournament for the first time in her career. She entered the division tournament as the No. 5 seed. She defeated Cassie Rivera of Eastport-South Manor, 6-3, 6-1, in the first round and Emily Vigliotta of Floyd, 6-3, 6-1, in the second round.

In the quarterfinals Monday she beat Sophie Volz of Ross, 7-5, 6-3. Volz had knocked off the No. 4 seed in the tournament in the second round.

Lessard’s quarterfinal win assured her a spot in the top four.

Against Dubin Tuesday Lessard had more unforced errors than usual, Clauberg said.

“Noa really took Cassidy out of her game,” he said.

Lessard had a strong showing against Manfredo a day earlier, losing 6-3, 6-3 against the two-time champion.

“She stuck to the game plan and did exactly what she was supposed to do against Aimee,” Clauberg said. “I really thought she played a great match against Aimee.”

The Monarchs’ season continues Friday when they begin the team playoffs. Mercy was seeded No. 8 in the Section XI tournament and will host either No. 9 Ward Melville or No. 24 Brentwood.

The top eight seeds in the tournament received a first-round bye. If Mercy can win its first playoff match, the Monarchs would likely be headed to face the top seed, Half Hollow Hills East.

joew@timesreview.com