In a weekend of tough competition, the No. 74 William and Mary men’s team dropped two matches but won an impressive 4-2 decision over No. 44 Drake at the Rice Invitational in Houston, Texas. The Tribe suffered defeats at the hands of No. 9 Texas Tech and No. 40 Rice in some of their toughest matchups of the season.
The College (12-5) doubles pairs had a strong weekend, capturing two out of three doubles points, including a 7-5 victory by the No. 3 pairing, sophomore Lars de Boer and junior Damon Niquet, to kick off the Tribe’s victory over the Bulldogs (13-9). The team of sophomore Christian Cargill and senior Scott Huang had not played together in a dual match this year, but they went 3-0 at No. 2 doubles this weekend, including a 6-4 defeat of Texas Tech’s No. 53-ranked pairing of Bjorn Thomson and Alex Sendegeya.
On Saturday, the Tribe struggled against the Red Raiders’ (21-3) trio of nationally-ranked singles players, eventually losing the match 1-4. Cargill put up a strong fight against No. 14 Felipe Soares, losing out narrowly on both sets 7-6 (3), 7-5. Junior Addison Appleby and sophomore Alec Miller struggled at the No. 2 and No. 3 singles spots against the No. 116 and No. 108 ranked singles players, respectively. De Boer, who came into the weekend riding a 4-match winning streak, did not notch a win at No. 4 singles, but led 3-2 in the third set when the match finished.
The team did not fare much better against Rice (17-5, 2-0 Conference USA), falling 1-4 in similar fashion. The doubles point slipped away, as the Niquet/de Boer pairing were this time on the wrong end of a 5-7 scoreline. Niquet did tally the team’s only singles win at No. 6, combining with his victory against Drake and his Did Not Finish against Texas Tech to take the junior’s win streak to 12.
On Sunday, the College came to play, defeating its highest-ranked opponent since April 2008 (No. 34 Notre Dame). Cargill fought back to earn a 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 victory at the No. 1 position to clinch the match. This victory came after the College swept the doubles matches, and Appleby and Niquet already gave the Tribe command of the match.
The last time the College competed at the Rice Invitational (2007), they also went 1-2 against nationally ranked teams. The Tribe qualified for the NCAA Tournament that year as an at-large competitor.
The No. 37 Tribe women’s team won their seventh and eighth consecutive matches (not counting a match forfeited against Marshall on March 20 due to team illness), taking down Yale and No. 54 Rice in New Haven, Conn. After dropping a tight doubles point against the Bulldogs (6-8), the Tribe (13-5, 1-0 Colonial Athletic Association) came back with commanding performances in No. 2 and No. 6 singles from junior Marie Faure and sophomore Maria Groener. After the College dropped the No. 4 singles match, senior Elizaveta Nemchinov pulled off a vital comeback, winning at No. 1 singles after losing the first set 5-7.
Similarly powerful singles play led the Tribe over the No. 54 Owls (7-8, 1-0 C-USA) 5-2 on Sunday. Nemchinov and Faure both picked up nationally-ranked wins, defeating No. 103 Lindsey Hodge and No. 50 Katherine Ip, respectively. Though the College could not capture the doubles point, Groener, sophomore Olivia Thaler and freshman Lauren Goodman brought home three wins to pave the way for the Tribe.
The women’s team returns home to play matches against Houston and Montana next weekend before travelling to Old Dominion in their final match before the CAA Championships. Meanwhile, the men’s team will take on their first CAA opponent when they visit Elon on Sunday.