As the skies darkened and rain began to pour Friday, a foreboding aura came over William and Mary (10-13, 1-2 CAA) as it prepared to take on Virginia Commonwealth. While the inclement weather caused the match to be moved indoors, things did not brighten up, as the College fell 5-2 to the visiting Rams.
VCU, which has now won eight of its last nine matches against the College — including a 4-1 victory in the final round of last season’s CAA Championship — improved to 19-5 overall and 1-0 in the CAA, a record that now ensures the team will enjoy the top seed in the CAA Championships, which begin in two weeks.
The Tribe entered the match determined to break the Rams’ longtime dominance, but got off to a shaky start in the doubles portion of the match. All three of the College’s doubles teams fell to their VCU counterparts. Sophomores Anton Andersson and Jamie Whiteford fell to VCU’s Filip Svensson and Max Wennakoski at the No. 3 post by an 8-5 margin.
The Rams’ Tim Johannsen and Antoine Baroz also claimed an 8-5 victory over junior Ilja Orre and freshman John Banks at the No. 2 spot, while VCU’s Camill Salomon and Jaime Vazquez Catoira left no doubt with a 8-6 victory over sophomore Ben Guthrie and senior Sebastien Vidal at the top spot, clinching the doubles point for the Rams.
After a disappointing doubles outing, the Tribe still had ample opportunities to carve out a victory during the singles portion of the evening, but from its onset VCU looked like the stronger team.
Catoira set the tone for VCU by dominating Guthrie in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 at the No. 3 position. From there, Johannsen dropped Andersson 6-2, 6-4 with relative ease at the No. 1 position to give the Rams a 3-0 advantage with four more matches to be decided.
With the College’s fate hanging in the balance, the four remaining matches appeared to provide more promise for the Tribe, as all four were closely contested. Ultimately, Svensson knocked off sophomore Daniel Mihalov, 6-2, 6-3 to clinch the match for VCU. Wennakoski also defeated his College counterpart, defeating Whiteford in a closely contested 4-6, 7-5, 10-6 match at the No. 2 position, providing the Rams with their fifth point of the day.
The day was not a complete loss for the College, however, as it claimed two singles victories for the day. Freshman Ben Hoogland dispatched VCU’s Alejandro Argente easily, picking up a 6-2, 6-4 victory at the No. 6 position. Vidal, meanwhile, claimed a hard-fought victory over Baroz, 7-6, 6-4 in the No. 4 position.
Despite the loss, the College will look to regain its momentum heading into the CAA Championship when it hosts Old Dominion Friday in Williamsburg.