Revenge may always be sweet, but shutting out the team that eliminated the College from playoffs last year: that’s special. The Tribe did just that, defeating the College of Charleston by a 4-0 mark to take home its 23rd Colonial Athletic Association Championship.
Hosting the event at the Millie West Tennis Facility in Williamsburg, the top-seeded Tribe rolled through the first two rounds of the tournament before facing off against the Cougars last Sunday. Each of the previous two matches (against the No. 8 seeded University of Delaware in the quarterfinals and No. 5 seeded James Madison in a semifinals matchup) yielded 4-0 results in favor of the College in performances bordering on perfection. Sunday’s conference championship final would prove to be no different.
The scintillating doubles pair of junior Leeza Nemchinov and senior Jeltje Loomans clinched the first point of the match for the Tribe with an 8-5 victory from the No. 1 spot. Right after the strong start, the Tribe added another commanding victory from junior Julia Casselbury and sophomore Melanie Roy in the No. 3 spot doubles pairing. The duo coasted to an 8-3 victory, while freshmen Maria Groener and Olivia Thaler had their match at the No. 2 spot cut short after the point had already been awarded.
On the individual side, it was much of the same stellar play for the Tribe. By dominating the early singles matchups, the Tribe only needed the minimum of three matches to secure the victory. Melanie Roy continued to rack up points for the College, as she won the opening individual match handily. The French native competed at the No. 4 spot and won in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2. This win marks Roy’s third in her last four matches and follows her clinching victory in the semifinal against James Madison.
Nemchinov kept the momentum going with another commanding victory at the number one spot, duplicating Roy’s total with a 6-1, 6-2 victory.The win comes as no surprise for Nemchinov, whose record now sits at 27-3 on the year and 19-1 out of the No. 1 spot.
What would turn out to be the final match of the day featured the Tribe’s lone senior, Jeltje Loomans. With her perfect CAA singles tournament record of 8-0 on the line, Loomans faced off against the Cougars’ Brooke McAmis. Loomans jumped out of the gate with an easy 6-2 victory, putting the Tribe just one set away from its 23rd CAA title. McAmis steadied herself in the second set however, and she was up a break at 4-3. Loomans made sure the home crowd would not be disappointed, as the senior demonstrated her poise in winning three of the next four games to put her up 6-5. A final smash put the icing on the cake, and the Tribe celebrated the team victory.
Thaler and freshman Cecily Wuenscher were both leading their matches when Loomans clinched the match, demonstrating the dominance of the Tribe’s play.
The victory earns the College its 20th trip to the NCAA Tennis Championships, and the seeding will be announced live at the NCAA selection show to be held next Tuesday, April 28 at 5 p.m. and will be streamed live on NCAA.com. The NCAA Championship itself kicks off May 14 in Waco, Texas.
—Written by Flat Hat Staff Writer Evan Defraine
For the second year in a row, William and Mary clinched the No. 3 seed in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, after last year’s semi-finals loss to then No. 2 seeded College of Charleston.
Going into the tournament, the Tribe held a record of 13-12 on the year and a ten-year title drought as the College had not won a CAA title since 2005.
No. 1 seed North Carolina Wilmington rolled into the tournament having won the title the past two years in a row. Ranked No. 63 nationally, it entered into the playoffs with a 10-7 record on the year. Elon held the No. 2 seed, while the College of Charleston held the fourth. James Madison and Drexel sat at No. 6 and No. 7, respectively. The winner of the CAA tournament automatically gains a spot in the NCAA tournament.
The Tribe bested No. 6 Hofstra 4-0 in the CAA Quarterfinals Friday. The College swept the singles; the No. 1, No. 3, and No. 4 positions did not finish due to the Tribe’s domination in the previous matches of the day. Sophomore Addison Appleby won 6-1, 6-2 in the No. 2 position, freshman Alec Miller won 6-3, 6-0 in the No. 5 position, and junior Scott Huang won 6-1, 6-0 in the sixth position. The Tribe dropped only thirteen singles games total against Hofstra as they shut down the Pride.
The College handedly won the doubles point against Hofstra. Appleby and freshman Lars de Boer combined to win 8-5 at No. 2; freshman Christian Cargill and sophomore Damon Niquet won 8-0 in the third position. Seniors Will Juggins and Aaron Chaffee did not finish their No. 1 match.
Elon won 4-0 against Drexel in the Quarterfinals; the Tribe faced Elon in the semifinals, winning 4-1 to upset the No. 2 seed.
Niquet and Cargill combined to win the day’s first match, besting their opponents in the No. 3 doubles position 8-2. Appleby and de Boer won the tiebreaker to go 8-7 (7) in the second position. These two wins were enough to take home the doubles point against Elon, giving the College an early advantage.
Wins by Niquet, de Boer and Miller at the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 singles positions, respectively, resulted in Did Not Finish designations for the No. 1 and No. 2 singles spots. Although Miller dropped the first set of his match, he regained the momentum to win the next two sets for a final score of 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. His win clinched the victory for the Tribe.
Defending champion North Carolina Wilmington faced No. 4 College of Charleston in the other semifinals match; Charleston pulled a 4-3 upset victory to face off against the Tribe in the finals.
The College avenged last year’s playoff loss in a 4-1 victory over Charleston to claim the CAA championship and also earn a spot in the NCAA tournament for the first time in ten years.
The Tribe swept the doubles. Chaffee and Juggins paired to win 8-5 in the No. 1 position, while Cargill and Niquet won the No. 3 position at 8-5. The doubles point thus secured, Appleby and de Boer’s No. 2 match ended early.
Niquet’s No. 4 match finished first on the doubles side; he clocked a score of 6-4, 6-0. Juggins won 6-4, 6-4 at No. 2. Miller won his No. 6 match 6-4, 6-3. Although de Boer lost in the No. 5 position, the doubles point plus the three other singles wins were enough to propel the College to the win.
Miller was the Tribe’s only player to win all three of his singles matches over the course of the tournament; the duo of Cargill and Niquet was the College’s only doubles team to achieve the same feat.
Up next for the Tribe are the NCAA Tennis Championships. The top sixteen teams in the country will descend upon Baylor University in Waco, Texas in May to compete for the title.
—Written by Flat Hat Staff Writer Devin Logan