When William and Mary’s regular season finale started, it seemed like more of the same. The team entered its Saturday matchup with Old Dominion having lost three in a row and eight of its last nine, and after dropping two of three doubles matches to the Monarchs to lose the first point of the match, things were not looking up.
“We lost the doubles point, and here we are still sliding down the hill,” head coach Peter Daub said.
But in a remarkable showing of resilience, the team fought back to win five of six singles matches, claiming a 4-2 victory over ODU and getting a much-needed confidence boost going into the conference championships.
“The team had a tremendous amount of intensity,” Daub said. “We’ve had a tough ending to our season with some injuries … but guys stepped up, some guys who had been hurt fought their way back, and it was a very satisfying victory.”
The match started with the Tribe falling in two of three doubles matches. ODU’s No. 1 tandem of Tobias
Fanselow and Krizysztof Muzalewski dropped freshman Ben Guthrie and senior Sebastien Vidal, 8-6. The Monarchs also scored in the No. 2 doubles position, defeating the College’s duo of freshman John Banks and junior Ilja Orre.
The one bright spot for the Tribe in doubles was the No. 3 pairing of sophomores Anton Andersson and Jamie Whiteford, who cruised to an 8-1 victory.
But the singles portion of the match was where the College roared back.
Freshman Ben Hoogland scored a 6-0, 6-3 victory and Whiteford dropped Muzalewski 6-2, 6-3.
But the victory remained uncertain as Andersson took on Faneslow in the No. 1 spot, a matchup that proved to be the most compelling of the night.
Faneslow broke Andersson’s serve twice in the first to score a 6-4 set victory. But Andersson regrouped and stormed back, breaking Faneslow’s serve twice in a row — the second time in a remarkable game of countless deuce points — in the second set and winning the first four games on his way to taking the set 7-5, setting the stage for a third set with the overall result on the line.
The final set of the night would not disappoint those who had stuck around to see the end.
Andersson tweaked an already injured leg, causing him to take a medical break.
“A long match like this takes a lot out of my legs,” he said. “It wasn’t too bad, I was a little bit scared when it happened but I just wanted to get it checked out.”
The respite seemed to do more for him than just assess his legs, as the hobbled Andersson came back to immediately score a momentum-shifting break.
As he began to see the match slip away, and as Tribe players finished up their matches and came over to cheer on Andersson, Faneslow became visibly frustrated, barking at himself and even demanding that the referee silence some of the rowdier in attendance.
“He was mentally exhausted,” Andersson said of his opponent. “He couldn’t stay focused in the end so I didn’t complain.”
Nothing worked for Faneslow, as Andersson took the set 6-4, securing the win for himself and the team.
The Tribe now heads into the post-season as the No. 4 seed in the CAA Championships. The College will receive a first-round bye, only to take on Old Dominion again in the quarterfinal round on Friday.
“The good thing is we beat them,” Daub said. “The bad thing is we [have to] turn around and play them again next Friday.”