In order to be the best, you have to beat the best. William and Mary, fresh off a dominating win over Delaware, traveled to Richmond Wednesday to face perennial conference powerhouse No. 36 Virginia Commonwealth. The Rams have won the CAA championship 12 out of the last 16 years and have made appearances in the NCAA tournament 18 of the last 19 years.
The College, seeking to improve its conference position before the upcoming CAA championships, played well but ultimately could not hang with VCU. The Rams got off to a quick start and never relinquished their lead, posting a 5-2 victory over the Tribe.
The loss drops the College’s record to 2-2 in the conference and 10-14 overall. The Rams improved to 18-4 while maintaining their perfect 4-0 conference record.
Things started slowly for the College, with the squad dropping all three of the doubles matches, allowing the Rams to easily claim the doubles point. VCU’s No. 50-ranked doubles tandem of Alexis Heugas and Antoine Baroz powered past senior Jacob Braig and junior Anton Andersson in the No. 1 spot, 8-4.
Sophomore John Banks and graduate student Robert Pietrucha hung close to VCU’s No. 2 doubles team of Max Wennakoski and Filip Svensson, but ultimately fell in an 8-5 final. With the doubles point already in hand, VCU finished off the Tribe with a victory in the No. 3 spot, as sophomores Ben Guthrie and Ben Hoogland fell to their VCU counterparts by an 8-2 count.
After VCU secured a 1-0 lead, the action shifted to singles play. Junior Adrian Vodislav faced a steep challenge in Heugas, the No. 88-ranked singles player, at the No. 1 spot. Heugas breezed through the first set, 6-0, and then dropped just one game in the second, winning 6-1 and sending the Tribe into a 0-2 hole.
The No. 2 match pitted Andersson against Wennakoski. The first set was tightly contested, as Wennakoski eked out a 6-4 victory. Wennakoski continued to apply pressure in the second set, polishing Andersson off with a 6-3 second-set victory.
VCU’s Jaime Vazquez then downed Banks in the No. 6 spot in a 6-1, 6-1 decision. From there, things began to look up for the Tribe.
Guthrie bested Svensson in the No. 3 spot by a convincing 6-3, 6-1 margin. In the No. 5 spot, Pietrucha breezed past VCU’s Alejandro Argente in the first set, 6-3, but encountered some resistance in the second set. Argente battled Piertucha in the second set, but Piertucha ultimately prevailed in a tiebreak, 7-6. With the win, Piertucha recorded his 20th victory of the season and continues to lead the squad with a 12-7 dual-match record.
In the No. 6 slot, Hoogland narrowly missed a chance to steal another point from the Rams. VCU’s Antoine Baroz edged Hoogland in two tiebreaks, winning a narrow 7-6, 7-6 match. With Baroz’s victory, the Rams sealed the 5-2 final margin of victory.
The College will conclude its regular season schedule Saturday when it faces Old Dominion in another CAA battle in Norfolk.