Women's tennis seek momentum in College Park
Cavaliers face unranked Maryland after 2-4 start against elite opponents
The Virginia women’s tennis team will look to gain momentum on the road this weekend as it begins ACC play against rival Maryland in College Park Saturday.
The Cavaliers (2-4) had two tough matchups last weekend, topping Ole Miss. 6-1 but falling to No. 25 Memphis 5-2 the next day. Virginia entered the season as the 12th-ranked team in the nation, but has fallen to No. 47 after a disappointing start. The team’s record may not accurately reflect its ability as three of the Cavaliers’ four losses have come against opponents ranked in the top 12 in the nation.
“We’ve played very, very good teams so I’ve been talking to the team a lot about the long term process,” coach Mark Guilbeau said. “As a coach, you lose the kids from the end of November to Jan. 14, so it comes down to an inner team dynamic for improvement and getting back into the swing of team competition.”
Virginia has its work cut out for it after losing several key players from last year’s historic squad that led the Cavaliers to a school-record 20 victories. Guilbeau has managed to bring in a strong freshmen class, now an integral part of the team’s weekly lineup.
Freshman Julia Elbaba is the top singles competitor on the team, and is currently ranked as the No. 10 singles player in the nation. Fellow freshman Maci Epstein and doubles partner senior Erin Vierra are ranked as the sixth best doubles team in the nation. Guilbeau is relying on young dynamic players to help get the Cavaliers going as they face a series of tough competitions this week.
“We’ve lost a couple of very strong top players, and we need the youngsters to step up and I think they’ve done a good job doing that,” Guilbeau said.
Maryland (4-4, 0-1 ACC) is coming off a loss to No. 52 Virginia Commonwealth, who the Cavaliers beat earlier this season to notch their first win. The Terrapins are led by senior Vroni Van Berlo, who is 6-2 overall this season at No. 1 singles, and they have lost four of six since starting 2-0.
The Cavaliers hope a win against the unranked Terrapins will build confidence after a slow start against the nation’s elite teams. They will follow the match with four more road matches, starting with No. 29 Baylor and No. 4 Texas A&M.
The match against Maryland will begin at 12 p.m. in College Park.