Tennis falters at Indoors
The No. 12 Virginia women’s tennis team dropped all three of its matches to fierce competition at the highly-anticipated ITA National Team Indoors in Charlottesville this weekend. The Cavaliers fell to fourth-ranked University of Southern California 4-1 Friday and failed to regroup, dropping a 4-2 match to No. 16 Michigan Saturday and a 4-1 contest to No. 13 Texas A&M, to wrap up their disappointing tournament appearance Sunday.
The opening match against USC featured several high-profile square offs in both the singles and doubles matches. To open singles play, No. 14 USC senior Danielle Lao upset talented Virginia freshman Julia Elbaba — the nation’s fourth ranked singles player — in straight sets by a score of 6-4, 6-1. Elbaba, with the help of senior partner Hana Tomljanovic, had easily defeated Lao and sophomore Giuliana Olmos 8-3 in doubles play. The No. 5 pairing of freshman Maci Epstein and senior co-captain Erin Vierra also picked up a doubles win, securing the point for the Cavaliers. That prove to be Virginia’s lone point before the Trojans promptly clinched the match with four straight singles victories.
A consolation round match against Michigan, however, was a much more competitive meeting. Virginia freshman Stephanie Nauta cruised to an easy 6-2, 6-4 victory against junior Brooke Bolender in singles play, but was upset in her doubles match as she and junior Li Xi, a duo ranked No. 10 in the nation, fell to the No. 21 ranked team of Bolender and sophomore Emina Bektas. The Cavaliers appeared to possibly be on the verge of staging a comeback with Elbaba leading 4-3 in the final set of her singles match, but Michigan sophomore Sarah Lee clinched the Wolverine victory by snatching a 7-5 third-set tiebreaker against Epstein before Elbaba could finish.
Against Texas A&M Sunday, Vierra and Epstein again won their doubles match, but the other two Virginia tandems fell to the Aggies, giving them the point. In singles, Epstein upset No. 82 senior Wen Sun 6-2, 6-2, but Tomljanovic, Xi and Elbaba all fell in straight sets to end the tournament on a sour note for the Cavaliers.
Virginia now has two weeks off before its next competition when it travels to Oxford, Miss. to face off against Ole Miss Feb. 23.
—compiled by Ryan Taylor