Women’s Tennis:Tribe earns No. 1 seed

Celebrating  seniors’ contributions on senior day, William and Mary took a close 4-3 victory over Old Dominion Saturday afternoon.

The Tribe (15-5, 3-0 CAA), capped a perfect regular season of conference play with a victory over the Monarchs (12-8, 0-1, C-USA).

Saturday’s victory assured the College of the No. 1 seed in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament next weekend and an automatic bye into the semifinals.

The Tribe started off strong by claiming the doubles point, its 13th such win for the year.

Using new pairs, juniors Jeltje Loomans and Sydney Smith secured the opening point in doubles 8-2 against Nika Khmolovska and Ivana Yukovic.

It was only the duo’s second time playing together.

Senior Anik Cepeda and junior Hope Johnson quickly secured the doubles point with their 8-6 defeat of Juliana Pire and Melissa Ensal Olguin in the No. 2 position.

The tandem evened their season record at 8-8 with their fourth straight victory in doubles.

Junior Maria Belaya and freshman Leeza Nemchinov did not finish their match in the No. 1 spot because the doubles point had already been decided.

“I think we had some new teams together that are finding some good chemistry,” assistant coach Jessie Medvene-Collins said. “It’s always tough switching teams this late into the season … but we brought a lot of energy today and focused on the things that we worked on in practice real well.

Jumping into singles, the College quickly picked up another point with Loomans securing a 6-0, 6-1 drubbing of Juliana Pires in the No. 4 position. The victory brought Loomans’ overall record to 11-10 and marked her 10th dual-match win of the season. Nemchinov followed Loomans’ lead in the No. 2 spot with her 6-2, 6-2 win over Yukovic.

Now up 3-1, the Tribe would only need one point to secure the victory for the day. The No. 124 ranked player in the nation, junior Maria Belaya, led the Tribe to that winning point with her 7-5, 7-5 victory over Diana Ivanova in the No. 1 spot.

“I thought in singles we did a pretty good job of emphasizing discipline tennis,” Medvene-Collins said. “I thought [Belaya] especially … came back really well against a quality opponent. I was proud of how she fought through her match.”

With the match decided, the Tribe lost the last three matches in singles, allowing the final score to appear closer than in actuality.

Johnson did not finish her match against Mellisa Esnal Olguin in the No. 5 position.

Cepeda could not capitalize on her senior day, losing 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 in the No. 3 slot to Nikol Hristova.

Smith wrapped up the match in the No. 6 position with a loss to Khmolovska 6-4, 6-2.

“I thought across the board, on the courts we got beat on, they played some good tennis,” coach Medvene-Collins said. “I think it’s extremely important though that we have a good week of practice. … One of the reasons we have done pretty well this season is because we have continued to improve in things we need to work on.”

William and Mary will host the CAA tournament this weekend at the Millie West Tennis Center from Friday to Sunday.


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