William and Mary may have split its Saturday double-header, but the squad ended the day with a bitter taste in its mouth after falling to No. 36 Notre Dame before shutting out unranked Villanova.
The No. 75 Tribe opened its day against the Big East with a 6-1 loss. The College’s one victory came from sophomore Jamie Whiteford, who lost the first set to the Irish’s Greg Andrews 6-1, before battling back to a 6-3 win in the second set. The sophomore forced a winner-take-all third set, which he took 10-7 in a tiebreaker.
But it wasn’t enough to overcome the superior play of the rest of the Notre Dame squad, as no other Tribe player forced a third set in singles and Notre Dame swept the three doubles matches.
“The team was disappointed we didn’t play better against Notre Dame,” Head Coach Peter Daub said. “They know when we play better ranked teams they have to play better tennis, but they’ll learn from it and they’re up for the challenge.”
The Tribe came back in the afternoon to drub unranked Villanova, shutting out the Wildcats 7-0. The premier singles showdown, between sophomore Anton Andersson and Villanova’s Rafael Santiago, didn’t turn out to be much of a showdown at all. Andersson dismantled Santiago in two sets without losing a single game.
More dramatic, though, was the matchup between senior Sebastien Vidal and Villanova’s David Shaheen. The two stayed close in the first set, both holding serve for the majority of the set. But by the sixth set it, was obvious that Vidal’s forehand was off, leading to unforced errors and keeping him from attacking the less-skilled Shaheen from that side.
“Give me one forehand, please,” Vidal shouted at the ceiling after missing a forehand winner in the seventh set.
Otherwise, Vidal outplayed the Wildcat senior, with both players holding serve from there until the 12th set. Down 6-5, Shaheen shot himself in the foot with an early double-fault. Then the forehand that Vidal had been waiting for finally came. Tracking backward, the senior launched a beautiful lob over the head of the approaching Shaheen, who could do nothing but watch in awe as the first set was sealed 7-5.
The second set was more of the same, with neither player able to break the other’s serve until Shaheen failed to hold in the 12th set, once again giving a 7-5 win to Vidal and ending the match at 2-0.
After the match, Vidal knew he should’ve put away the Wildcat much earlier.
“Not good,” he said, describing his play against Villanova. “My forehand is not really good right now. I just have to keep working. “
Daub, though, said he was much happier with the afternoon portion of the double-header.
“I was happy that we got to use some of our other players against Villanova,” he said, adding that the matchup served as a confidence-booster for some of the lower slots in the lineup. “We battled well.”