Women's tennis fares well at home invitational

This weekend at Charlottesville’s Boar’s Head Sports Club, the Virginia women’s tennis team hosted the UVa Winter Invitational, competing in match play for the first time since November in preparation for the fast-approaching spring season.

The No. 11 Cavaliers played in single-day singles and doubles tournaments every day of the long weekend, battling opponents from No. 13 Northwestern, No. 23 Tennessee, and No. 34 Utah.

Saturday, Virginia competed against Northwestern, the Big Ten Conference’s top-ranked team. Coach Mark Guilbeau’s Cavaliers started off the day with wins in two of the three doubles matches. No. 10 duo junior Li Xi and freshman Stephanie Nauta defeated the Wildcats’ Veronica Corning and Belinda Niu 8-3 in the second-doubles slot, and freshman Julia Elbaba teamed with senior Maria Fuccillo for an 8-3 win against Brittany Wowchuck and Kate Turvy in the third slot.

Northwestern gained the advantage in singles play, capturing wins in six-of-seven matches. Only senior Erin Vierra emerged victorious for Virginia, earning a 6-4, 6-2 victory against Linda Abu Mushrefova.

The Cavaliers sparred with Tennessee the following day. Virginia began day two of the invitational as it did the first, winning two-of-three doubles matches and finishing strong in the singles competition. The No. 5 tandem of Vierra and freshman Maci Epstein posted an 8-1 win at the second doubles position. Elbaba, paired with senior Hana Tomljanovic, completed an 8-0 bagel at the third. The Cavaliers proceeded to claim six-of-seven singles matches.

On Martin Luther King Day, the Cavaliers continued their winning ways against Utah, taking two-of-three doubles and five-of-six singles matches. Elbaba and Tomljanovic excelled. In doubles they collaborated to defeat Utah’s Callie Craig and Sarah Pham, 8-2, before each posting wins in singles.

Virginia next plays at Virginia Commonwealth University Feb. 1. The dual match is the team’s first of the spring season.

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