Western expansion has led to the exploration of new lands, the discovery of gold and the farming of new crops. William and Mary (10-12), however, concluded its own western excursion by returning from the BYU Invitational in Provo, Utah completely empty-handed.
The College fell to No. 48 UNC-Wilmington 2-4 Friday before dropping an identical 2-4 decision to UC Santa Barbara Saturday. The Tribe’s Saturday afternoon match against Brigham Young was cancelled.
Saturday, the Tribe looked to be off to a promising start. Senior Sebastien Vidal and freshman Ben Guthrie continued their strong doubles play by dispatching the Gauchos’s top-seeded tandem of Alex Konigsfeldt and Taylor Chavez Goggin, 8-5. With the victory, Vidal and Guthrie improved to 7-5 on the season. Sophomores Jamie Whiteford and Anton Andersson clinched the doubles point for the College by downing
UC Santa Barbara’s Philip Therp and Evan Jurgensen, 8-6.
The Tribe’s good fortune ended with the conclusion of Saturday’s doubles matches. The Gauchos turned things around by winning four of the six singles matches. Whiteford provided the College’s only singles victory of the day by defeating Chavez Goggin, 5-7, 7-6, 6-1 in the No. 3 spot. Whiteford notched his 10th singles victory of the season with the win.
While the College fell decisively to the Gauchos, the squad suffered a narrow defeat to CAA foe UNC-Wilmington the day before.
The Tribe once again began with strong doubles play. Vidal and Guthrie notched an 8-5 win over Chris Cooprider and Kinshuk Sharma at the No. 1 spot, and Andersson and Whiteford dropped their Seahawk counterparts 8-5.
From there, UNC-W rebounded and fought back in singles play. First, Guthrie fell at the No. 2 position to UNC-W’s Kinshuk Sharma convincingly, 6-1,6-1. Andersson was defeated at the No. 1 spot by the Seahawks’ Michael Pereira, 6-1, 6-3. Sophomore Adrian Vodislav then lost to UNC-W’s Rafael Aita by a 6-3, 6-1 margin.
As a result, the Tribe’s 1-0 advantage suddenly transformed into a 3-1 deficit. Despite the Tribe’s struggles, all hope was not yet lost.
Vidal kept the Tribe in contention by bouncing UNC-W’s Kosta Blank, 7-6, 6-2 in his team-best 16th singles victory of the season.
With Vidal’s victory in the books, the Tribe was down 3-2 with two matches left to play. Whiteford and junior Ilja Orre were both battling hard. Orre had a commanding lead over the Seahawks’ Illia Ziamtsou, so it appeared that the match between Whiteford and Cooprider at the No. 3 position would decide the outcome of the match.
Cooprider prevailed in the first set, 7-5, but Whiteford prevailed in the second, 6-1, to force a decisive third set. The third set was knotted at 6-6 when Cooprider eked out a 7-6 (7) third set victory and sealed the Seahawk victory.
The College will close out the regular season with two conference matches, beginning at home against Virginia Commonwealth on April 8.