Women’s tennis splits weekend matches

No. 8 Virginia falls to Miami, blanks Wake Forest to end two-match losing streak

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No. 3 junior Julia Elbaba posted singles wins against both Miami and Wake Forest, downing No. 6 junior Stephanie Wagner 6-2, 6-0 Friday and sophomore Kimmy Guerin 6-2, 6-2 Sunday. 

Sarah Dodge | Cavalier Daily

The No. 8 Virginia women’s tennis team ended its two-match losing streak with a 7-0 win over Wake Forest Sunday at the Boar’s Head Sports Club.

The Cavaliers (13-4, 6-2 ACC) kicked off the weekend Friday against No. 16 Miami. In doubles, the 27th-ranked pair made up of freshman Cassie Mercer and junior Skylar Morton secured an early 8-5 win on court two. Virginia, however, conceded the doubles point as the team suffered 8-5 losses on courts one and three.

“We’ve had problems asserting ourselves and capitalizing on leads,” coach Mark Guilbeau said. “We won the first match and had the opportunity to clinch the doubles point on court three and we let it go.”

In No. 1 singles, No. 3 junior Julia Elbaba posted a 6-2, 6-0 win over sixth-ranked junior Stephanie Wagner to tie the match at 1-1 — however, once Morton won 6-0, 7-5 on court four to tie the match at two, the Cavaliers failed to win another point. The 5-2 loss marked the second consecutive defeat for Virginia as the team lost last Sunday at Duke 4-3. For Miami (11-4, 7-1 ACC), on the other hand, the match marked its eighth win in nine matches.

Sunday, the Cavaliers ended their losing streak in impressive fashion by blanking Wake Forest 7-0.

“There were a lot of dynamics to that [Miami] match that, to be frank with you, could tear a team down if you don’t approach it the right way,” Guilbeau said. “I was proud of the girls for the way they responded after that tough, tough match.”

Virginia jumped out to an early lead by securing the doubles point. On court three, Elbaba and Mercer won 8-4. Junior Danielle Collins and Morton clinched the point shortly after with an 8-2 win on court one. When the point was secured, juniors Stephanie Nauta and Maci Epstein were leading 7-4 on court two.

Moving into the singles portion of the match, No. 34 Nauta grabbed the first point with a 6-2, 6-2 win on court three. Morton followed with a 6-2, 6-4 win on court four, and No. 31 Collins sealed the match with a 6-1, 6-4 win on court two. Elbaba, Epstein and sophomore Marie Faure added singles wins on courts one, five and six, respectively.

Elbaba carried her momentum from her dominant performance against Miami into Sunday’s match. She posted a 6-2, 6-2 win, but as the match wound down, a back injury that has been present all season clearly bothered her. Guilbeau, however, is confident that the injury is something that will not hold her back as the season progresses.

“It’s something that she fights through and she’ll realize how tough and strong she really is,” Guilbeau said. “It will really help her down in the long run.”

Moving forward, the Cavaliers have a rare three-match week due to a postponement earlier in the season. With one match down, Virginia hosts Boston College Wednesday before traveling to Louisville Saturday.

“We have a unique opportunity this week with three matches to really improve through match play,” Guilbeau said. “Hopefully we can use it to build some momentum as we go forward.”

Virginia has fallen out of a reasonable position to win the ACC regular season title, but just close to three weeks remain before the ACC Championships begin. The team hopes to use the remainder of the schedule to improve moving into the postseason. The Cavaliers have six ACC matches remaining before the conference championships.

“In the ACC, we take every match very seriously,” Guilbeau said. “Every single match is a chance to prove yourself and get better.”

First serve Wednesday is set for 4 p.m. at the Snyder Tennis Center.

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