Spring, Sports, Women's Tennis

Women’s Tennis’ Skid Continues with Defeat to Wake Forest

After its upset of No. 10 Syracuse on Feb. 3, Boston College women’s tennis was on an incredible trajectory. That victory marked the team’s highest ranked win in program history. Following that achievement, the Eagles won two more non-conference matches before venturing into the thick of their ACC schedule. Unfortunately for BC, the optimism surrounding the team is beginning to fade. Ever since starting 9-0, the Eagles have dropped three straight 5-2 decisions to Virginia, North Carolina, and North Carolina State and followed those up with a loss to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, 6-1, on Friday.

BC (9-4, 1-4 Atlantic Coast) never really got off on the right foot, and that was clear in doubles play. Slotted at first doubles, Jackie Urbinati and Yufei Long were dealt a defeat by the Demon Deacons’ (10-2, 2-0) top duo of Emma Davis and Chandler Carter—the No. 45 doubles team in the nation—6-2. Soon after, Dasha Possokhova and Elene Tsokilauri fell to Eliza Omirou and M.C. Meredith by the same score. With this decision, it marked the third straight time that the Eagles have dropped the doubles point to open the match.

At the top of singles lineup, Kylie Wilcox and Yufei Long switched places at No. 1 and No. 2. Wilcox had her hands full with a matchup against No. 40 Davis. She put up a valiant effort in the first set, forcing a tiebreaker, but it was Davis who prevailed in the tiebreaker, 7-3. With momentum fully in hand, Davis cruised to a straight-set victory with a 6-1 decision in the second set. No. 101 Long was pitted against No. 96 Anna Ulyashchenko at second singles. Similar to Wilcox, Long put up a great effort in the first set but was narrowly defeated, 7-5. In the second set, the Iowa transfer was down, 3-0, and was forced to retire.

The rest of BC’s singles lineup didn’t find much success either. Omiru beat Urbinati comfortably, 6-3, 6-2. At sixth singles, Maria Ross fell to Carter in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, in similar fashion to Urbinati. Possokhova and Natasha Irani did force third sets, though. With the teams’ match having already been decided at this point, 10-point tiebreakers were played in lieu of a full third set. Possokhova, squaring off against Anna Brylin, won her first set, 6-4, and she dropped the second, 6-3. By then, the junior did not have much left in the tank, as she was blanked in the tiebreaker, 10-0.

Natasha Irani was the lone Eagle to garner a point. In her match against Saby Nihalani, the sophomore dropped the first set, 6-4. But, she stormed back in the following frame, defeating Nihalani, 6-1. The tiebreaker proved to be a tight battle, and it was Irani who came out on top in a narrow 11-9 decision. Despite BC’s recent struggles as a team, Irani has been one of the few bright spots, picking up points in her past two singles matchups and winning—along with a Wilcox—a doubles matchup against UNC.

It’s clear that BC has fallen on hard times with four straight losses, but stretches like this are to be expected in the most competitive conference in the nation. Three of those four losses came against teams ranked in the Top 25, and the Demon Deacons were no slouch at No. 33. A slightly easier matchup against Clemson presents itself on Sunday. That will be a very telling match in seeing just how well this team can respond to adversity.

Featured Image by Jonathan Ye / Heights Editor

March 2, 2019