Women’s tennis: Tribe splits two tough matchups with top-20 opponents

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Senior Olivia Thaler, along with sophomore Rosie Cheng, won the decisive doubles match in the Tribe's 4-3 victory over Virginia. COURTESY PHOTO / TRIBE ATHLETICS

William and Mary played two teams ranked in the top 20 nationally last week. It split the two matches, losing at Virginia before winning a close home match against Wake Forest.

Thursday, the College (11-8) lost to the 18th-ranked Cavaliers (12-5). Virginia won 6-1, though several singles matches went to three sets.

The Cavaliers got out to a fast start by claiming the doubles point. The third doubles match did not finish and the Cavaliers won the matches at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots. Junior Clara Tanielian and freshman Vitoria Okuyama lost at the No. 1 to duo Rosie Johanson and Meghan Kelley, 6-1. At the No. 2 spot, junior Lauren Goodman and sophomore Natalia Perry fell 6-2 to Chloe Gullickson and Cassie Mercer.

In singles, the College lost matches in straight sets at the No. 3 and No. 5 spots, as Perry and senior Olivia Thaler were bested by their respective Cavalier opponents. The other four singles matches went to three sets, but the Tribe only claimed one victory. Tanielian won 6-4, 5-7, 10-7 at the No. 2 spot, but sophomore Rosie Cheng, Goodman and senior Ekaterina Stepanova all fell in three sets.

Monday, the Tribe returned to the Millie West Tennis Facility, looking to bounce back in a matchup with the 19th-ranked Demon Deacons (16-8).

The College got out to a better start, claiming the doubles point to take an early 1-0 advantage. Goodman and Perry lost 6-1 at the No. 2 spot, but the Tribe won the last two doubles matches. Tanielian and Okuyama beat Chandler Carter and Emma Davis 6-2 at the No. 1 spot. Thaler and Cheng claimed the decisive match, 7-6 over Courtney Meredith and Joanna Zalewski.

In singles, the Tribe claimed the first three single matches to take a 4-0 lead and clinch a victory. Stepanova won at the No. 5 spot 6-3, 6-3 over Zalewski. The match at the bottom spot ended next, with Thaler holding on for a 6-0, 7-6 victory against Meredith. Perry earned the match-clinching win with a 7-5, 6-3 triumph over Carter at the No. 3 spot. The Demon Deacons responded by winning the final three matches, but the Tribe still claimed a 4-3 win.

The College will stay at home this weekend for two matches Saturday. The Tribe will square off against in-state rival James Madison at 11 a.m. before finishing off the day with a match against Towson at 4 p.m. The College will be looking to pick up valuable wins and momentum before the Colonial Athletic Association Championships begin April 19.