Northwestern’s Andrew McCarthy pumped his fist. William and Mary sophomore Jamie Whiteford hung his head, and just like that the day was over.
The Wildcats came back from a two-match deficit to defeat the College 5-2 Saturday in a match that was a lot of things. It was a breakout day for freshman Ben Guthrie. It was the second loss of the season for the Tribe (7-5) against a Big Ten opponent.
But Saturday was defined by what it wasn’t — William and Mary-style tennis.
“It was just not Tribe tennis,” Head Coach Peter Daub said. “When you perform this way, you just have to do a better job.”
After dropping the doubles point, despite Whiteford and senior Sebastian Vidal’s winning their 10th doubles match of the season, 2-1, Guthrie helped the Tribe get off on the right foot in singles play.
The freshman won 6-4, 6-2 against Northwestern’s Spencer Wolf, using a powerful forehand to claim the match.
“Let’s look at the guys who battled,” Daub said. “Guthrie went out there and battled. I’m not saying the other guys didn’t. [Vidal] went out and battled. We won five first sets. You think if you win five first sets, you would be able to do a little better.”
Vidal won in the No. 4 spot 6-4, 6-1 and, despite freshman Adrian Vodislav’s 6-4, 7-5 loss in the No. 6 position, the College still looked like in was a good position to take the match as Whiteford, sophomore Anton Andersson and sophomore Ben Hoogland each won the first game of their respective matches.
But Hoogland dropped the next two games in the No. 5 position 6-3, 6-4 to fall to Raleigh Smith, while Anderson dropped the following two sets to the Huskies’s Joshua Graves.
Graves continuously sent lobs to the backline against Andersson, forcing the sophomore to play more of a finesse game and move around the court en route to a 6-3, 6-2 defeat.
“You’ve got to finish,” Daub said. “If you can’t finish, you’re not going to win a match.”
Having already lost the match, Whiteford looked to at least end the day on a high note for the College. But after winning the first game, Whiteford fell in his final two games 7-6 and 6-3 to complete singles play.
Despite winning 72 sets in singles play, the College only managed to win seven games on the afternoon.
“It was a disappointment,” Daub said. “We need to play better. The guys are disappointed and we have to learn from this performance. It is simply not good enough.”