William and Mary (2-4, 0-0 CAA) fell just short of splitting its win-loss total for the season Saturday, falling to St. John’s 3-4 (1-1) after being denied by host Penn State 2-5 Friday.
The St. John’s match came down to the No. 6 singles match between senior John Banks and Vaidik Munsahw. Banks and Munsahw’s decisive match exemplified the even play and intensity between the two programs.
Banks rallied back from an opening set tiebreaker loss, 6-5, to take the tiebreaker in the second set, 6-5. With the entire match at stake in the third set, Munsahw bested Banks 6-4 to give St. John’s its first win of the young season.
The Tribe won the doubles point against the Red Storm to grab the first point of the match. The team’s No. 1 doubles team of juniors Will Juggins and Aaron Chaffee defeated Munsahw and R.J. Del Nunzio, which improved the team to 4-1 in dual-match play at the No. 1 slot on the season.
Banks and senior Ben Hoogland responded in the No. 3 doubles position with another win to cement the first point for the Tribe.
After the switch to singles play, the Tribe found less success. Senior Ben Guthrie and freshman Damon Niquet were the lone singles winners for the College, in the No. 2 and No. 5 positions, respectively.
Guthrie topped Erick Reyes in straight sets — 6-4, 6-4 — to boost his season singles record to 6-4. Niquet decisively defeated his Red Storm counterpart, Freddy Ruiz Acevedo, to capture his second straight victory with a score of 6-3, 6-1. Although a freshman, Niquet’s 11 wins this season leads the College.
However, for all the Tribe’s success during the match, it lost each of the other four singles matches. A win that was within grasp from the start of doubles play slipped away as the Red Storm outplayed the Tribe individually.
The prior match against host Penn State was less competitive but, nonetheless, featured several encouraging performances from the Tribe.
Chaffee and Juggins got the College out to an early lead in the doubles competition by besting Russell Bader and Leonard Stakhovsky, 6-4, at the No. 1 doubles position. But the Tribe dropped the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles spots, giving the Nittany Lions the early advantage. Stakhovsky increased Penn State’s advantage by defeating Hoogland at the No. 1 singles position.
The Tribe’s sole points came from Juggins in the No. 3 spot and Niquet in the No. 5 spot, both of which were straight-set triumphs. Guthrie narrowly lost a tense match to Bader, who outlasted Guthrie in the third set tiebreaker.
The Tribe’s two losses at St. John’s and Penn State add to the team’s losing streak, which now stands at four matches. Before heading to University Park, Pa., this weekend, the Tribe was also blown out on the road at No. 29 Notre Dame and No. 32 Northwestern the weekend before.
The College returns home to the McCormick-Nagelsen Tennis Center this weekend for a busy four-game slate against Princeton, South Carolina State, Temple and Howard. The action starts 6 p.m. Thursday against Princeton.