No. 9 Virginia women’s tennis traveled to Florida over the weekend to compete in a doubleheader against both No. 13 Miami (10-3, 5-1 ACC) and Florida State (10-7, 3-4 ACC). After losing 1-6 to the Hurricanes Friday, the Cavaliers (13-4, 6-2 ACC) picked up a narrow 4-3 victory over the Seminoles Sunday afternoon.
Match 1 – Miami 6, Virginia 1
The Cavaliers hoped to continue the momentum from their most recent victory, a 6-1 beatdown of Louisville last Sunday, into this past weekend. They traveled to square off first against Miami, a team just coming off a rather convincing 5-2 loss at No. 2 Texas A&M last weekend.
Evidently, that loss did not dampen the Hurricane’s spirits, as they quickly claimed the doubles point with three-straight victories. Virginia graduate student Julia Adams and sophomore Melodie Collard were the first to fall, losing 0-6 to Miami redshirt sophomore Alexa Noel and junior Isabella Pfennig. Juniors Hibah Shaikh and Sara Ziodato followed suit, winning just one game en route to a 1-6 defeat by junior Audrey Boch-Collins and freshman Mia Mack.
Virginia sophomore Elaine Chervinsky, junior Sara Ziodato and senior Natasha Subhash held on the longest before finally falling 3-6 to fifth-year senior Daevenia Achong and fourth-year junior Maya Tahan.
Singles were more of the same for the Cavaliers, who continued to struggle. Adams lost to Achong 2-6, 1-6 not long before Pfennig accomplished the same task, defeating Shaikh by the same score of 2-6, 1-6. Noel dropped one more game than her predecessors, taking down senior Natalia Subhash 1-6, 3-6.
After these first three singles defeats, the Cavaliers rallied to put up a bit more resistance against the apparently dominant Hurricanes. Collard won her first set against Tahan 6-4, but fell victim to a comeback in the second set and subsequently just barely lost the tiebreaker 8-10.
Next up, Chervinsky pulled out the sole victory of the afternoon for the Cavaliers. Good things come in pairs, as Chervinsky won both sets of her match against Boch-Collins 7-5.
Ziodato finished last after an absolute battle. Mack took the first set 7-6 before Ziodato rallied for a 6-3 victory in the second. Even the tiebreaker was close, as Mack just barely edged out a 10-6 win to end the Cavaliers’ stay in Miami.
Match 2 – Virginia 4, Florida State 3
Virginia was not going to leave Florida without a fight, as was evident in their battle of a match against Florida State Sunday afternoon.
Judging by a quick doubles point win, the Cavaliers did not let any negativity from Miami follow them to Tallahassee, Fla. Chervinsky and Subhash were the first to finish, taking down seniors Vic Allen and Kianah Motosono. Shaikh and Ziodato were right behind them, shutting down sophomore Olympe Lancelot and freshman Kristyna Lavickova 6-2. Adams and Collard rounded out doubles play with a 6-4 victory over juniors Anna Arkadianou and Ellie Schoppe.
The first two singles matches went to Florida State, as Adams lost to Allen 2-6, 1-6 and Shaikh fell to Schoppe 2-6, 3-6. The Cavaliers were not going down without a fight, however, as Ziodato downed graduate student Mila Saric 6-4, 6-2 to even the match score.
Virginia took the lead once again with a 6-2, 6-4 Subhash victory over Arkadianou. Collard attempted to maintain momentum in favor of the Cavaliers, overcoming a 1-6 first-set defeat to battle to a tiebreaker for the second set. But ultimately, the Seminoles brought the match score back to a tie with Collard’s loss to redshirt sophomore Alice Amendola, 1-6, 6-7.
With both schools tied at three points, the match came down to singles court four. Chervinsky won her first set 6-3 against Lancelot before the second set went in favor of her opponent via tiebreaker. An incredibly high-stakes third set resulted, in which Chervinsky powered through to a convincing 6-2 victory.
“I’m also really proud of Elaine [Chervinsky],” said Coach Sara O’Leary. “She handled the moment like a pro and took it head-on. She’s an unbelievable competitor, and she showed that today.”
Although the Cavaliers would have liked to come out of the road trip with two wins, it was always going to be a difficult task to avoid a loss. The Hurricanes have only lost one time at home all season, so Virginia will have a much better chance at victory should the teams meet in the postseason at a neutral site. However, with the way Chervinsky played — especially against Florida State — the possibility of a strong third option for Virginia would be an important development later down the line.
The Cavaliers look forward to a return home to host Georgia Tech at Boars Head Friday at 4 p.m.