Boston College women’s tennis has officially established its presence in the ACC. Coming off two consecutive conference wins, the Eagles headed into their final match in the Flynn Recreation Complex with palpable energy and momentum. Despite a rigorous schedule, BC showed no signs of fatigue but instead entered ready to round out a winning weekend. Having beaten No. 27 Miami just two days before, coach Nigel Bentley’s team was eager to avoid an upset at the hands of Pittsburgh, and they had enough in the tank.
Behind Jackie Urbinati, who was playing her final home match in a BC uniform, the Eagles pulled away from the visiting Panthers late, managing a 5-2 victory to record their 15th win of the season—their most in 15 years.
Doubles competition looked promising for BC, as Natasha Irani and Loren Haukova shut out Pittsburgh’s (4-13, 0-10 Atlantic Coast) Natsumi Okamoto and Mariona Perez, 6-0. The middle court faced a different challenge, though, as Clara Lucas and Camila Moreno doubled up on the Eagles’ (15-7, 5-6) Elene Tsokilauri and Laura Lopez, putting the pressure on the outer court.
Things came down to the wire, as Kylie Wilcox reclaimed her spot next to Urbinati in the first doubles seed, and the two met a rather equal match in Pittsburgh’s Gabriela Rezende and Claudia Bartolome. Wilcox’s impressive serving game, coupled with Urbinati’s stealthy net play, made for a lethal pairing, though, and the duos traded leads throughout the set. In a nail-biting set point, Wilcox and Urbinati managed a sneaky play to get the ball past the Panthers and cinch the doubles point, as the Eagles prepared for yet another win.
That’s precisely what happened on the singles courts, as Irani manhandled Rezende through two sets, shutting her out in the first and edging her by two points in the second. The Panthers salvaged a victory on the fourth court, but the Eagles responded in kind, as Urbinati secured another point for BC in a quick two-setter against Bartolome, 7-5, 6-3.
Luisa Varon gave Wilcox some trouble on the first court, as the two battled it out in three sets. Wilcox struggled with Varon’s serving game in the first set, experiencing a short scoring drought before finding her rhythm. The two played like mirror images of one another, trading points before Varon edged Wilcox, 6-4, to take the first. The tables turned as the women switched sides, and Wilcox came out with a newfound aggression that quieted the Panthers bench. With her teammates lining the court, Wilcox took Pittsburgh’s top seed into a third set, claiming the second, 6-4. Wilcox fought to the end before conceding the game to her near-identical opponent, putting pressure on the middle courts to secure the win.
Dasha Possokhava rose to the occasion, downing Okamoto in two sets to hoist the Eagles to four points on the day. Possokhova showcased BC’s depth, as she doubled up on Okamoto 6-3, 6-3. It was a scrappy team effort that ensured that there would be no hangover after the monumental win over Miami.
The Eagles head to South Bend on Friday to take on a similarly strong team in No. 50 Notre Dame and then will square off against No. 4 Duke on the road as well. Having proven their talents on the court as of late, the Eagles will just have to feed off this recently attained momentum to continue their winning ways. BC has proven that it can play spoiler, and the Irish and Blue Devils are two teams it has the potential to knock off and round out a historic regular season season in stride.
Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff