Head Coach Peter Daub does not care much for moral victories. His squad has played four teams ranked among the top-70 in college tennis to open the spring season, and each time his goal is the same.
“It doesn’t matter who we play, we want to win the match,” Daub said. “We don’t just want to improve, we want [to] win the match.”
It is hard to maintain that attitude sometimes, especially in the face of a defeat like the one William and Mary (6-3) suffered at the hands of No. 4 Ohio State in its first match of the ITA Kickoff Weekend Saturday. The Tribe fell to the Buckeyes 7-0, despite having senior Sebastian Vidal and sophomore Jamie Whiteford defeat the No. 6 ranked doubles team in the nation 8-6.
Only Vidal was able to win more than two sets for the College in singles play, and each of the Tribe’s singles players lost in two games.
“I think we battled hard,” Daub said. “We played against a top team that was very skilled. We competed hard, we fought hard and played well, but they were just a better team than us.”
South Carolina was supposed to be a better team than the Tribe as well. The Gamecocks came into Sunday’s match versus the College ranked 69th in the country and coming off a loss to UC Irvine in its first match of the Tournament.
But the Tribe swept the doubles matches to earn the doubles point and sophomore Anton Andersson defeated South Carolina’s Ivan Machado in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, in order to take the number-one singles spot.
“South Carolina is an SEC team and we had to bounce back,” Daub said. “I thought we did that well. We were high going into the match and I think we fed on that and played well.”
Andersson earned his 11th singles victory of the season and moved his record to 5-3 in the number-one singles position with the win.
“Andersson played his best match since he came here,” Daub said. “I think he just believed in himself and he got more belief in himself as the match wore on. As the match went on he got confidence in himself and he played the match at a very high level.”
Whiteford and Vidal also won their singles matches, respectively. Vidal defeated Johannes Pulsfort 6-4 in the first game and was tied 2-2 in the second set before the match was called off.
Whiteford was trailing 0-2 in the second set of his match before it was called off, but the sophomore won the first set 7-6 to claim the victory over South Carolina’s Chip Cox.
Freshmen Ben Gutherie and Ben Hoogland also won their singles matches against the Gamecocks and sophomore Adrian Vodislav defeated South Carolina’s Chris Sheehan 6-4, 6-0 in the No. 6 singles position to help the Tribe sweep.
The victory is the Tribe’s first over a ranked opponent this season. But for Daub, it was just an affirmation of his team’s philosophy.
“We honestly wanted to win the match,” Daub said. “We wanted to go in there and set the standards we want against the teams we compete against.”