Competing for the fifth time in seven days, the College of William and Mary (9-11, 1-2 CAA) was able to close out its regular season with a convincing 5-2 senior day victory over the University of Richmond (14-5, 3-0 A10) Saturday at the McCormack-Nagelson Tennis Center. The College fought off fatigue to go 3-2 over the five-game stretch.
With mounting injuries, the Tribe could only send out two doubles teams. However, the no. 48 duo of senior Katarina Zoricic and junior Ragini Acharya as well as the tandem of senior Klaudyna Kasztelaniec and junior Carmen Pop both managed victories to give the Tribe its first doubles point in seven matches.
On the first court, Acharya and Zoricic fell behind a break at 2-4 before collecting six of the next seven games for an 8-5 win, the pair’s 13th of the spring season.
“We got off to a slow start and realized that this isn’t the tennis we should be playing,” Acharya said. “We focused on being aggressive, closing, attacking their weak points, looking for openings, just establishing the fact that we were a better team than them.”
The doubles triumph was the 125th of Zoricic’s career, tying her for first place all-time at the College with Megan Moulton-Levy ’08.
In her final home match, Kasztelaniec did not disappoint, bettering her spring record to 11-8, with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over the Spiders’ Kelly Tidwell in the third singles spot.
“I was a lot more consistent than [Tidwell], a little more nervous at times because it was my last home match,” Kasztelaniec said. “I think it was the consistent pressure that worked [for me]. She knew I was going to put one more ball in the court and that she had to hit a winner.”
Pop secured the fourth point, clinching the victory for the Tribe with a three set, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2, triumph over Helen Cunningham.
With the win, the Tribe now shifts its attention to this weekend’s CAA Tournament in Norfolk, Va. where the College will enter as the third seed.
“This week is recovery week,” Head Coach Meredith Geiger-Walton said. “It is all about getting the players fresh. I think it is probably, given the year we have had, better that we come in as the underdog. It alleviates a little bit of the pressure and allows us to avenge some of those [CAA] loses.”
Georgia State University begins the tournament as the top seed, while Virginia Commonwealth University will take the second position.
“In previous years you could always tell there were two teams, [the College] and VCU, who were running for the championship. It is definitely not the case this year,” Kasztelaniec said. “We are more of an underdog.
But that makes it even more exciting and we are definitely ready to go and try to defend the title from last year.”
The College has won 20 of the 24 CAA titles since the leagues’ inception in 1984.