William and Mary (2-11, 0-1) defeated East Carolina (11-4, 0-1) at the Millie West Tennis Facility Sunday, Mar 10. The Tribe looked to build off of a strong 7-0 sweep against George Washington on Thursday, its first victory of the season. The Pirates would play their second match in two weeks, trying to rectify their 4-3 loss against the North Florida on Mar 6. The Tribe continued its winning streak against the Pirates, reaching 15 in a row with Sunday’s win.
The doubles matches kicked off with freshman Oren Vasser and senior Tristan Bautil at No. 2, playing Pirates Simon Labbe and Ronny Georgi. Vasser and Bautil would down their opponents 6-1 to gain the first set of the doubles point.
No. 3 featured sophomores Finbar Talcott and Sebastian Quiros, playing Pirates Vlad Anghel and Will Bisset. The Tribe started down 2-1 in the set, but fought back in the next two to gain a 3-2 lead. The teams then split their next two games, and the Tribe found a 4-3 lead going into the final leg in the set. The sophomores had two match points on their ninth game, but ultimately failed to convert, and the Pirates held on, 5-4. The Tribe finished the set in the next game, 6-4. Taking the second doubles set and the doubles point, the Tribe, with a score of 1-0 led the day.
Junior Brenden Volk and sophomore Chen Ruo would square off with the Pirates’s Wisse Jonker and Javier Renones at the No. 1 spot. The upperclassmen lost their first game, then took the next two. The Pirates took the next two games in a back-and-forth to gain a 3-2 lead. The next two games would be split and the Pirates extended their lead to 4-3. Another split of games led into a 5-4 lead for the Tribe. The Pirates took the set to 5-5, but the double point would be claimed before they could finish their point.
In singles, the Pirates sent back out every player who had competed in doubles. Volk and Jonker faced each other at the No. 2 slot. Volk would take the first set with a comprehensive 6-1 scoreline. Volk would start the second set strong, with a 2-0 lead. Jonker would battle back, down 2-3 entering the middle of the second the set. Volk would take the next two games, and control of the second set, up 5-2. He would finish his work on the eighth game, claiming the Tribe’s second point of the day, 2-0.
Court one featured a rematch between Quiros and Anghel. The first set would be a back and forth affair, reaching a 3-3 score halfway through. Quiros would take control of the remaining portion of the set, finding a 6-3 victory. Quiros would continue his momentum into the second set, taking a 2-1 lead early, and extending it to a 4-1 lead. Poised to claim his match, Quiros did just that, finishing his set 6-1, and claiming the Tribe’s third point moments after the second.
Vasser would play at No. 4 versus Georgi. Georgi would find a strong 4-1 lead early in the set and convert it to a 6-1 victory for the first set of the match. The freshman found more success in the second set, getting a 3-2 lead. The next two games would be split, and Vasser found a 4-3 lead. Georgi responded by taking the final three games and clinching the second set and his match, 6-4. The Pirates would find their first and only point of the day, 3-1.
Talcott would play Renones at No. 3. The sophomore gained a 2-1 lead to start the set, and Renones would spend the early games returning hits rather than delivering. He’d build his lead to 3-2 by the midpoint of the match and begin to break away with a 5-2 lead. Talcott would take the last point of the eight game, claiming his first set 6-2. Renones would fight for a more competitive set in the second, getting it to a 4-4 scoreline. Talcott would take a decisive ninth game, putting himself in position to gain the Tribe’s next point of the day. Renones would claim the tenth game, and the second set would have to be won in 7. They split the next two games, leading to a tiebreaker. Talcott took a 6-3 lead, and claimed the tiebreaker on his third match point, 7-5. With that victory, Talcott would claim his second set and third singles match for the Tribe, winning the day 4-1.
Freshman Jack Kelly would make his first appearance of the day at the No. 5 spot, playing Bisset. The Tribe player would fall 2-1 in the set early. The next two games would be split and Kelly found himself down 2-3. Kelly would continue to battle and the set — reaching a 4-3 score and taking the momentum with the next two games, finding a 5-4 lead. Bisset refused to fall and took a 6-5 lead right back. The set would eventually go to a breaker, which Bisset took 7-3, gaining the first set of the match. Kelly would gain a 3-2 lead to begin the second set. He would extend his lead to 4-3, but the day would finish before his match.
Ruo would play Labbe at No. 6. The Tribe player would take the first set 6-2. Labbe would fight for a 2-1 lead to begin the second set and continue to extend into a 4-1 lead. Ruo would begin a comeback and find himself down 5-4 in the second set. Ruo and Labbe would be in the midst of a 6-6 tiebreaker when the day, and their match, was called.
Head coach Jeff Kader commented on the confidence his players were building after finding two convincing victories back to back.
“I think that’s certainly huge for our confidence,” Kader said. “We’ve played a tough schedule and we’ve played a lot of top teams really close, so we know we’re there, but again, it’s about pulling through in some of those matches. … To get [a win against George Washington] on Friday was a sigh of relief for some of the guys, and to follow it up with this win I think was huge moving forward throughout the rest of the season.”
Kader talked about the strength of the schedule the Tribe has had in its struggles this season.
“You never know what’s going to happen throughout the season with injuries but even with that, going into the season, we knew that it was going to be tough,” Kader said. “We feel like we had a couple matches we weren’t expected to win, but most of the matches were going to be 50-50, and that is what I wanted on the schedule and that is really what we got, it’s just we came on the other end of those 50-50 matches.”
Next Sunday, the Tribe will have another home match against Middle Tennessee.
“For us the big focus is going to be the doubles,” Kader said. “If we can get the doubles point, which is something that we’re going to continue to practice this week and moving forward … if we can get that doubles point at start out 1-0 in matches that just changes the momentum in the match. From there, with each individual, really fine tuning some things.”