Sports, Spring, Women's Tennis

Women’s Tennis Rallies in Singles Play to Top Houston

Boston College women’s tennis entered its Friday matchup against Houston sporting a perfect 9-0 record in non-conference play. Coming off a weekend in which they dropped a pair of close matches against ACC foes Florida State and Georgia Tech, the Eagles were in need of a bounce-back victory. But it would not come easy, as the Cougars were a far more intimidating opponent compared to BC’s past out-of-conference competition. Houston came into the weekend riding a six-game winning streak and stood at seven games above .500. After a poor start though, the Eagles rallied in singles play to notch a 5-2 victory over the Cougars.   

With Yufei Long sitting out, Jackie Urbinati and Kylie Wilcox played on the first court and picked up a quick 6-1 win over Houston’s Mimi Kendall-Woseley and Elena Tairyan. Unfortunately for BC (12-7, 2-7 Atlantic Coast), its other two doubles teams could not close out the point. At second doubles, Laura Lopez and Elene Tsokilauri fell in a close set to Sophie Gerits and Ndini Ndunda, 7-5. Loren Haukova and Natasha Irani struggled against Phonexay Chitdara and Jovana Vukovic, losing 6-2, which sealed the doubles point for the Cougars (11-5, 1-0).

But from that point on, it was all BC. Wilcox faced a tough challenge at first singles from Nduna. The junior dropped the first set, 7-5, but she rallied back. With 6-2 and 6-1 wins in the second and third sets, respectively, Wilcox secured the victory on the first court. Following Wilcox was her doubles partner, Urbinati, who continued her strong play. The senior captain made quick work of Kendall-Woseley, dispatching her opponent in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.

BC continued its roll down the lineup. Irani fell to Gerits in the first set, 6-3, but much like Wilcox, she found a way to rebound. She prevailed in a close second set, 7-5, before wrapping up the match with a 6-4 victory in the third and final frame. Another three-set thriller took place on the fourth court, as Tsokilauri faced Vukovic. Tsokilauri was outplayed in the first set, 7-5, but she slowly rounded into form with a 7-5 win in the second set and a dominant 6-2 triumph in the last set. Lopez put on a strong showing, dominating Chitdara, 6-1, 6-1. With the overall match already decided, Haukova was pitted against Stephani Belovukovic in an eight-game pro set, which she lost, 8-6, to close out the afternoon.   

“We played hard in doubles but need to make better shot choices at times,” said head coach Nigel Bentley after the game, per” “I thought Houston competed very hard, played well. The team rallied in singles, though—we had to really focus and fight. We won all the third sets in singles, which was huge.”

After BC’s rally fell just short against the Seminoles earlier the week prior, it must have been encouraging for Bentley and Co. to see the team come out on the winning side this time around. As has been evident all season, the Eagles have the talent to compete with any team in the country—it’s just that many recent matches have not swung in their favor. Perhaps this is the weekend for BC to right the ship. The Eagles can shift their momentum from the non-conference victory over the Cougars into a Sunday date with Louisville, a squad that has lost six straight and has only picked up two ACC wins this season, just as many as BC has recorded. Should the Eagles secure the weekend sweep, they would match their win total from last year (13), all while carrying plenty of confidence into the final stretch of the season.

Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff

March 29, 2019

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