Women’s Tennis: College picks up first two wins of the season

Courtesy Photo / Tribe Athletics

William and Mary only dropped one match overall during its afternoon doubleheader on Sunday, Mar. 7. The home stand began at 11 a.m., where the Tribe played Norfolk State and won 6-1. Then, at 2 p.m., the Tribe swept Colonial Athletic Association rival Towson 7-0. These two wins are the Tribe’s first wins of the season.

Against the Spartans, the Tribe took all doubles matches and all but one singles match. Between the top four players of graduate student Jill Van Den Dungen, senior Vitoria Okuyama, junior Lisa Fukutoku and sophomore Elisa Van Meeteren, only two games were dropped.

Van Den Dugen, in the top spot, swept her sets 6-0, 6-0. Second spot Okuyama also blanked her opponent, Spartan senior Zoe Fraser. Fraser’s defeat marked Okuyama’s first win of the season.

Fukutoku dropped only one game in her first set against Spartan senior Bruna Goncalves. Her next set, she went 6-0. As a new addition to the team, this win was both Fukutoku’s first of the season and first as a member of the Tribe.

Van Meeteren matched Okuyama and Fukutoku by picking up her first win of the season against the Spartans. She played fourth spot and won her singles match 6-0, 6-1. Fellow sophomore Raffaela Alhach rounded out the Tribe’s singles wins against the Spartans. Alhach fought a hard-won match against Spartan freshman Andrea Barcenas. Both sets Alhach won went to tiebreaker. The first set she won 7-5. Barcenas was able to capitalize on Alhach’s fatigue in the second set, where she upended Alhach 6-4. But, Alhach fought back in the deciding set, where she won 10-7.

Sophomore Shruti Srinivasan made her season debut playing in the sixth position. Though she dropped the first set 3-6, she captured a 6-7 tiebreak in the second set and forced a third. The third went 5-10 against the Tribe.

In doubles, both the top spot combination of Okuyama and junior Mila Saric and the third spot pairing of Van Meerteren and sophomore Alisa Manolescu won their matches in a 6-0 shutout. The second spot pairing of Alhach and Van Den Dugen dropped just a couple of games against their opponents Fraser and Goncalves, winning 6-2.

With the doubles sweep, the Tribe headed into their game against Towson with their first win of the season under their belt.

Head coach Toni Bickford mixed up the line combinations for the CAA match-off in singles. Saric took the top line, pushing everyone back a position. The new lines allowed the Tribe to sweep singles, where all members, except third-line Okuyama, won in just two sets.

A well-rested Saric won her sets 6-1, 6-1, which improved her season record to 3-1. Her defensive play was only bested by sixth-line Van Meerteren, who dropped just one game to her opponent. Van Meerteren’s scoresheet looked identical in singles with a 6-0, 6-1 win against both the Spartans and the Tigers.

Only Okuyama played more than two sets. Though she dropped her first set 3-6 against Tiger senior Alexa Martinez, she quickly recovered, taking the second set 6-1. In the deciding set, Okuyama conquered Martinez in a 10-4 victory.

The Tribe’s singles performance propelled them to a similar doubles result. All three lines bested the Tigers, allowing the Tribe to blank Towson in a 7-0 win.

The Saric and Okuyama first line chemistry carried over from the Tribe’s bout with the Spartans. They won 6-2. The second line of Van Den Dugen and Fukutoku matched the third line of Van Meerteren and Manolescu with identical 6-3 victories. Momentum from singles overwhelmed the fatigue of the doubleheader.

William and Mary hopes to continue its luck at home next Sunday against Morgan State. The match will be outdoors at the Millie West Tennis Facility at 1 p.m.


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