Sports, Women's Tennis, Spring

Women’s Tennis Rebounds, Sweeps Binghamton and Virginia Tech

Boston College women’s tennis entered this weekend in desperate need of a win. After starting the season on a nine-game winning streak, the Eagles proceeded to drop five straight games against ACC teams. With weaker opponents like Binghamton and Virginia Tech on the docket, this weekend marked a great opportunity for BC to snap out of its recent struggles—and the Eagles did just that. BC kicked off the weekend with a 7-0 victory over Binghamton on Saturday and followed it up with a 5-2 win on Sunday against conference foe VTech.

Both of these teams were much weaker than the Eagles’ (11-5, 2-5 Atlantic Coast) previous opponents. The Hokies (7-9, 1-6) entered with just one ACC win, while the Bearcats (1-16) had managed a lone win the entire year. On the other hand, three of the conference teams that BC lost to currently occupy three of the four spots at the top of the conference standings.

On Sunday against VTech, the Eagles kicked off the match with a strong showing in doubles play. Head coach Nigel Bentley shuffled up his doubles lineup once again, but this time, it paid off. The pair of Yufei Long and Jackie Urbinati was still slotted in first doubles. Kylie Wilcox and Natasha Irani were bumped up to second doubles, and Laura Lopez and Elene Tsokilauri occupied the third and final doubles position. Wilcox and Irani defeated Nina Kozar and Nina Sorkin, 6-3, and Lopez and Tsokilauri handled Sarah Baron and Samantha Gillas with relative ease, 6-2. These two victories helped the Eagles secure the doubles point.

Singles play was more uncertain for BC, though. Irani was the first Eagle to fall, as she dropped her match in straight sets against Gillas, 6-4, 6-4. Long gained a singles point for BC against Natalie Novotna, winning, 6-2, 7-5. Long’s doubles partner, Urbinati, also had a strong showing, beating Elizabet Danailova by an identical score, 6-2, 7-5. Wilcox, however, was unable to prevail against her doubles opponent, Kozar. She cruised in the first set, 6-3. But then she stumbled in the second, 6-3, and dropped a close third set, 7-6.

At this point, the Eagles were up, 3-2, in the overall score. Only two singles matches remained, as Lopez and Tsokilauri were taking the court against Shene Disbergen and Sorkin, respectively. Tsokilauri put herself in a hole early, going down, 4-1, in the first set. Meanwhile, Lopez demonstrated strong command, grabbing a quick lead against Disbergen. From there, the freshman would not look back, racing out to a 6-3, 6-0 victory to secure the win for the Eagles. To make it even better, Tsokilauri erased her deficit and triumphed over Sorkin, 7-5, 6-2.

While the match against the Hokies was fairly competitive, Saturday’s contest against Binghamton was anything but that. Bentley, recognizing how weak the opponent was, rested Long, Wilcox, and Irani so that they would be fresh for VTech. The Eagles did not drop a single set on the afternoon. It started in doubles play, as Reagan Posorske and Loren Haukova won against Michelle Eisenberg and Maria Pandya, 6-4. That was perhaps the most competitive set in the entire match. To make matters worse for the Bearcats, Lopez and Micayla Casella blanked Ashley Granieri and Maya Haykal, 6-0.  

It was pure domination from top to bottom in singles. Urbinati, Tsokilauri, Lopez, Haukova, Posorske, and Casella all picked up straight-set victories against their opposition. Granted, Binghamton has struggled immensely this season, but defeating a team in dominant fashion like the Eagles just did is exactly what they needed to snap out of their recent funk.

With these two wins, BC is now back up to 10th in the conference standings. Next weekend, the Eagles will welcome a fierce Florida State team to the Flynn Recreation Complex before flying down to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech. Despite the five-game skid, the Eagles are up to 11 victories on the year with eight regular season contests remaining. It’s worthwhile to compare this mark with last year, a season in which BC won 13 matches total. It’s clear that this program has taken a noticeable step forward with an influx of fresh talent and upperclassman leaders. If the Eagles can continue their success in the regular season, then there’s a solid chance that they will make an impact in the postseason.

Featured Image by Jonathan Ye / Heights Editor

March 17, 2019