Sometimes things aren’t quite as bad as they seem.
Although William and Mary lost 7-0 to No. 34 Northwestern Saturday at McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center, the match was more competitive than the final score suggested.
The College (2-2) played without its top two players — senior Jamie Whiteford and junior Ben Guthrie — both of whom were injured, and pushed the Wildcats in singles play.
Northwestern’s Fedor Baev and Baliegh Smith recorded the only easy Wildcat victories in singles play. Baev put freshman Scott Huang away with a 6-4, 6-4 victory at the No. 6 position. At the No. 2 position, Northwestern’s Raliegh Smith defeated senior Anton Andersson, 6-2, 6-3 to give Northwestern a quick 2-0 advantage in singles play.
But besides Baev’s triumph, the other singles matches would be hotly contested three set affairs.
At the No. 5 position, Northwestern’s Chris Jackman won his first set against senior Adrian Vodislav, 7-5, but Vodislav battled back to win the second set 7-6, forcing a third.
Junior John Banks and Northwestern’s Alex Pasareanu were also locked in a tight battle at the No. 4 spot. Banks claimed the first set 7-5, but Pasareneau sailed to a 6-3 second-set win, with the decisive third set upcoming.
The pattern repeated itself at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. Northwestern’s Spencer Wolf and sophomore Aaron Chaffee also battled to a third set at the No. 1 spot as Wolf took the first set 6-4 and Chaffee claimed the second 6-2. Similarly, Northwestern’s Sidarth Balaji and junior Ben Hoogland traded identical 6-3 set victories.
Four singles matches in the third set with the match hanging in the balance. The Wildcats needed to win just one — they had captured the doubles point earlier in the day and had Baev and Jackman’s victories for a 3-0 advantage — while the Tribe needed to win all four to emerge victorious.
Hoogland pushed Balaji at the No. 3 spot, but ultimately fell in the final set, 7-5, allowing Northwestern to claim victory and stave off a Tribe rally. Although the match was already won, the Wildcats went on to win the remaining three undecided singles matches in the third set, cementing the 7-0 victory.
The College will look to work out the kinks against No. 35 N.C. State Feb. 17.