William and Mary entered Sunday’s match against No. 7 Virginia after splitting its two matches in the past week. The College knocked off Wisconsin at home last Sunday, but then had its momentum halted in a 5-2 defeat to N.C. State Wednesday.
The Tribe’s attempt to knock off Virginia came up short as the College lost all but one of its matches, resulting in a 6-1 defeat. The match moved the Cavaliers to 12-2 overall and dropped the College to 4-11.
“U.Va. is definitely not an unbeatable team, despite their ranking and record,” head coach Meredith Geiger-Walton said. “Even without a full lineup, which I have yet to have had this entire season, we were still in a position to win. There’s no doubt we’ve probably suffered more losses given the fact that we’ve been fighting through some of these matches without a full lineup.
Virginia lost the first match of the day, as the College’s nationally ranked No. 39 doubles tandem of sophomore Maria Belaya and sophomore Jeltje Loomans defeated the No. 16 doubles team of senior Emily Fraser and sophomore Li Xi. After the opening set ended in a tie, the College’s duo won the tiebreaker to take the match 8-7 (4).
The Cavaliers then recovered to win the next two matches, capturing the doubles point. U.Va.’s Erin Vierra and Hana Tomljanovic downed junior Anik Cepeda and sophomore Hope Johnson, 8-2 at the No. 2 spot, while senior Katie Kargl and senior Toni Ford, 8-3 at the No. 3 spot, gave the Cavaliers a 2-1 doubles victory.
Despite the Cavaliers doubles victory, the Belaya-Loomans win counted for the duo’s 16th win of the season, and third win over a top-25 nationally ranked group.
Moving into singles play, Belaya lost to No. 15 Emily Fraser, 7-5, 6-3, in the No. 1 seed match up. The No. 2 seeds provided some excitement, as Virginia’s No. 42 senior Lindsey Herdenbergh struggled to get past Loomans. Herdenbergh won the first set 6-2, but Loomans stormed back to claim the second set with an identical 6-2 score, setting up a crucial final set. Herdenbergh prevailed in the third set, dropping Loomans by a 6-4 count.
The rest of the Tribe fared no better, as each match saw Virginia cruise to a win. No. 90 Xi handed Johnson a 6-0, 6-1 loss in the No. 3 position. Virginia’s Vierra handled Kargl with relative ease, earning a 6-1, 6-1, straight set victory in the No. 5 position. Finally, U.Va.’s Caryssa Peretz defeated sophomore Sydney Smith to round out the Cavaliers’s victory.
The College’s lone point came from Cepeda’s win over Tomljanovic. Cepeda dropped the first set 6-4, and was leading the second set 2-1 when Tomljanovic was forced to retire, providing the College with a victory.
The Tribe returns home for a match against Virginia Tech before playing host to Ivy League foes Columbia and Harvard over the weekend.
It was evident to us that a team ranked top-10 in the country is not unbeatable and we are so close to being a team in the top-10 in the country,” Geiger-Walton said. “We just need a few things to fall our way and there is no doubt we will be a different team with a full line up.”