**TRIBE 6, VCU 1**
p. In a 6-1 defeat of visiting no. 36 Virginia Commonwealth University (14-4, 5-1 CAA), the 24th-ranked Tribe (12-8, 1-0 CAA) captured its first conference win Saturday afternoon at the McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center. The College’s fourth consecutive victory provides momentum as the squad has just two regular season matches remaining before the CAA Championship.
p. “It was a good win for us,” Head Coach Kevin Epley said. “[VCU is] a big conference rival, which we would expect to see in the CAA tournament.”
p. The Tribe’s 11th-ranked doubles team of senior Megan Moulton-Levy and junior Katarina Zoricic set the tone early, climbing to a 3-0 advantage before taking the match 8-1. Zoricic’s strong back-court presence, paired with Moulton-Levy’s overhead slams, propelled the team past VCU’s Tatsiana Uvarova and Viktoria Konstantinova.
p. “We had been struggling for the past year,” Moulton-Levy said. “Today, what we have been striving for all year came together. We were attacking serves and returns; it all clicked.”
p. After sophomores Lauren Sabacinki and Carmen Pop dropped the no. 3 doubles slot 8-3, junior Klaudyna Kasztelaniec and sophomore Ragini Acharya took the final doubles match 8-6 to earn the Tribe the vital doubles point heading into the singles matches. Kasztelaniec and Acharya worked their way to a 6-3 advantage before the Rams’ tandem of Laura Burns and Vera Petrashevitch leveled the set at 6-6. According to Epley, the Tribe duo pulled out the set thanks to strong serving and aggressively attacking the net.
p. The College emerged fresh out of the brief recess that followed the doubles matches to win four of the six sets in the opening round of the singles matches, leading to singles victories in five of the six matches.
p. Moulton-Levy, ranked 10th in the nation in singles, cruised to victory after a 6-1 first set, following that up with a 6-4 second set to better her singles record to 24-6 on the season. The Tribe’s top singles player utilized an assortment of shots and her quick feet to overcome no. 42 Uvarova.
p. “I was playing with a lot of confidence and variety,” Moulton-Levy said. “Speed is always a huge strength … footwork played a huge role in this match.”
p. In the College’s no. 2 singles position, no. 118 Zoricic fell behind early 1-2, before taking the next three games en route to a 7-5 opening set win. Zoricic’s 6-2 second set win sealed the team’s victory and improved Zoricic’s singles record to 19-15 for the year.
p. “Kat started playing the kind of tennis she is capable of,” Epley said. “She was playing more assertive and confident tennis. The biggest thing was her serve.”
p. The quickest singles round of the day came at the hands of Pop who defeated Petrashevitch 6-3, 6-2 in the sixth spot for the Tribe. A resilient Pop battled through a right wrist injury she suffered after her doubles partner, Sabacinski, accidentally struck it in practice the previous day.
p. Out of the fourth singles spot, no. 121 Acharya earned a 6-4, 7-6 (1) singles victory. Acharya fought back after falling behind 1-4 to take the opening set before maintaining a lead in the second to defeat Kateryna Malakhova of VCU. No. 113 Kasztelaniec won 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 in the no. 3 spot, while the only singles loss for the Tribe went to Sabacinski 3-6, 2-4 (ret.).
p. The College returns to the courts Wednesday when the team travels to Old Dominion University.