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No. 9 Virginia women’s tennis closes out the regular season with a road split

Head Coach Sara O’Leary celebrates her 100th match win with the Cavaliers

<p>Freshman Annabelle Xu won one of only two points in the match against NC State.</p>

Freshman Annabelle Xu won one of only two points in the match against NC State.

No. 9 Virginia women’s tennis wrapped up the regular season over the weekend with a loss Friday against No. 8 NC State at the J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center in Raleigh, N.C. and a victory Sunday against No. 28 Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Cavaliers (16-5, 9-3 ACC) lost to the Wolfpack (19-4, 9-3 ACC) by a score of 5-2 but rebounded to defeat the Demon Deacons (15-12, 5-8 ACC) 6-1.

Match 1 — Virginia 2 - NC State 5

Ready to finish the regular season strong, the Cavaliers opened play outside Friday against the Wolfpack before moving inside shortly after singles play started due to inclement weather. However, even though they recently fell to No. 8 in ITA rankings, NC State was ready to battle for the win.

The Wolfpack won the doubles point with their top two teams that are nationally ranked No. 11 and No. 12, starting the score off 1-0. In singles play, NC State continued to play strong and picked up straight-set wins on courts one through three, clinching the victory. 

Freshman Annabelle Xu got the Cavaliers on the board with a 6-2, 4-6, 12-10 win on court four. This was her first singles match in two months, and she made sure to make it count. Junior Sara Ziodato gave Virginia their second point with a 6-1, 7-5 win on court five, but the rest of the Cavaliers were unable to secure a point as the Wolfpack cruised to a relatively easy victory.

Match 2 — Virginia 6 - Wake Forest 1

After a tough set of matches Friday, the Cavaliers were ready to redeem themselves when facing the Demon Deacons. Virginia lost the doubles point but won all six single sets. 

Ziodato’s 6-3, 6-1 win on court five tied the match. She has continuously led the Cavaliers in singles victories this season.

Sophomore Melodie Collard continued Virginia’s hot streak with a 6-2, 6-2 victory on court six over freshman Whitley Pate. Junior Hibah Shaikh dropped her second set against Wake Forest’s Neyena Carton but rebounded by winning the final set 6-0 on court four. 

Senior Natasha Subhash clinched her third 20-win season of her career with a 6-4, 7-6 victory over No. 39 junior Casie Wooten that included a tiebreaker win in the second set. Graduate student Julia Adams broke the 6-6 tie in her third set with a 9-7 win against Wake Forest’s Anna Brylin to finish off the singles sweep.

This victory was win No. 100 for Coach Sara O’Leary. Her record of 100-47 at Virginia has allowed her to become the third coach in program history with 100 match wins with the Cavaliers. This win also earned Virginia the No. 4 seed in the 2023 ACC Women’s Tennis Championship, which will be held Wednesday to Sunday at Cary Tennis Park in Cary, N.C. 

“I also want to thank everyone in the program for helping hit this 100-win milestone,” O’Leary said. “These 100 wins at U.Va. belong to all of us.”

Some nationally ranked ACC opponents the Cavaliers will have to look out for at the championship are No. 1 North Carolina and No. 3 Duke. The Tar Heels (27-0, 13-0 ACC) currently have three singles players and two doubles teams ranked in the top 20. The Blue Devils (22-3, 11-2 ACC) also have a few players ranked in singles and doubles.

However, Virginia also has nationally ranked singles and doubles players. Adams and Collard are No. 21 while Subhash and Chervinsky are No. 23 in doubles rankings. No. 60 Subhash and No. 55 Adams are also ranked in singles as well as No. 82 Xu. 

The Cavaliers will begin play Friday at 10 a.m. Due to Virginia having a double bye, the opponent is to be determined. The full tournament bracket was released Sunday afternoon.


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