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No. 7 Virginia women’s tennis falls in first round of ITA National Team Indoor Championship

The ITA National Team Indoors didn’t go as planned for the top-10 ranked Cavaliers

<p>The Cavaliers struggled mightily in doubles competition, winning their first doubles point in the third match of the tournament.</p>

The Cavaliers struggled mightily in doubles competition, winning their first doubles point in the third match of the tournament.

No. 7 Virginia women’s tennis spent the weekend in Seattle, Wash. competing in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. The first round saw the Cavaliers (6-2, 0-0 ACC) match up Friday against No. 12 Michigan (6-1, 0-0 Big Ten). After suffering a 2-4 loss, the team competed in two consolation matches where they fell 1-4 to No. 8 Pepperdine (3-2, 0-0 West Coast) Saturday but earned their sole win of the weekend Sunday against No. 17 San Diego (2-5, 0-0 West Coast). 

Match 1 - Friday vs. Michigan

Virginia opened up their tournament weekend with a match against Michigan in the round of 16. Both teams headed into the tournament undefeated.

At the start, things looked promising for Virginia. Senior Natasha Subhash and freshman Annabelle Xu cruised to a dominant 6-0 doubles victory. Unfortunately, the remaining doubles courts did not have the same luck. On court one, graduate student Julia Adams and sophomore Melodie Collard were swiftly knocked out 6-1 by juniors Jaedan Brown and Kari Miller. 

Thus, the doubles point came down to court three. Sophomore Elaine Chervinsky and junior Sara Ziodato started out strong, propelling to a 3-1 lead. While they continued to fight hard, the duo ultimately came just short. After losing four straight games, they were defeated 6-4 by seniors Nicole Hammond and Andrea Cerdan. 

After Michigan took the doubles point, the match headed into singles play. Court one finished first, with Brown quickly taking down No. 101-ranked Subhash 6-2, 6-2. Not far behind was court two, with Brown’s doubles partner Miller defeating No. 79-ranked Chervinsky 6-2, 6-3.

With Michigan already up to three points, the Cavaliers needed to quickly close out a win. With the match on the line, Collard delivered a clutch 6-3, 6-3 win over Cerdan on court six. That win reignited Virginia and soon enough, the Cavaliers were able to pick up another point. Xu won a marathon of a match, winning 6-4, 7-5 against Jones.

The fate of the match would come down to court three. After picking up the first set 6-2, sophomore Julia Fliegner dropped the second to Ziodato 4-6. If Ziodato pulled out the win, everything would come down to court five. Unfortunately, Ziodato fell just short and dropped the third set 4-6. 

With that win, Michigan advanced to the quarterfinals while Virginia headed to consolation.

Match 2 - Saturday v. Pepperdine

Coming off a tough first-round loss to Michigan, Virginia looked to rebound against Pepperdine. 

The doubles struggles that plagued the Cavaliers against Michigan proved once again unsurmountable against Pepperdine. The Waves raced to a quick 6-2 victory over Subhash and Xu. While Adams and Collard put up more of a fight, they still fell 6-4. Chervinsky and Ziodato were up 5-1 when doubles play was suspended, proving the importance of speed and urgency when competing for the doubles point.

Singles started out rough for the Cavaliers as well. Court one finished first when Adams was swiftly knocked out 6-2, 6-2. Right behind her was Ziodato. With Ziodato’s 6-4, 6-3 loss, Pepperdine went up 3-0 over Virginia.

Refusing to go down without a fight, Xu earned her second singles win of the weekend. She dominated the first set, winning 6-1. The second set proved more difficult, but she pulled out the win 6-4 to keep the Cavaliers alive.

Meanwhile, both courts four, six and two went to a third set. Chervinsky set to work on court four, while junior Hibah Shaikh battled on court six. Both courts had seen the Cavaliers take set one, and then the Waves took set two and forced a third set.

Once again, it all came down to speed. Shaikh dropped the set 6-1 and, thus, Pepperdine secured the victory. Court four was tied 2-2 in their third set when play was suspended.

Up next for Virginia was the final consolation match.

Match 3 - Sunday vs. San Diego

In their final match of the weekend, the Cavaliers were looking for their first win. Their final test of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships came against San Diego. 

Despite struggling mightily with doubles in the first two matchups, the Cavaliers cruised to the first doubles victory. Adams and Collard took down their opposition 6-1 to open up play. Despite Chervinsky and Ziodato dropping their doubles match 6-2, Virginia still took the doubles point thanks to a 6-2 victory from Subhash and Xu. This was Virginia’s first doubles point victory of the tournament.

Encouraged by the doubles victory and eager to secure their first win, the Cavaliers carried their momentum into singles play. Xu finished first, deftly knocking out her opponent 6-2, 6-1. Right behind her was Subhash, winning 6-2, 6-4. 

The match hit a bit of a speed bump with court six. Collard was unable to secure the deciding fourth point for Virginia, as she lost 6-3, 6-2. 

Still determined, Adams came through for the Cavaliers. Her 6-3, 6-3 win got Virginia that elusive fourth point. 

While the results of the first two matches were disappointing for Virginia, San Diego is a quality opponent that the Cavaliers can be proud to have conquered. However, they will have to work to prove their current ranking in the top 10 is justified after falling to lesser competition.

Up next, the Cavaliers will host ACC rival North Carolina at home Feb. 24 at 4 p.m.

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