Sports, Spring, Women's Tennis

Notre Dame Brings Women’s Tennis Back to Earth With Comfortable Win

Entering Friday night’s contest, Boston College women’s tennis and Notre Dame were heading in opposite directions. The Eagles were riding a four-match winning streak, including a win over No. 27 Miami. Notre Dame, on the other hand, had lost six of its last seven matches and had dropped to .500 for the first time all season—additionally fighting for a spot on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament.

On Friday, though, both teams flipped their respective scripts.

The Fighting Irish brought everything they had in a 4-0 victory over BC. Playing on its home court for the final time this season, Notre Dame (12-11, 5-9 Atlantic Coast) gave an inspired performance behind its No. 1 and 2 players, Zoe Spence and Cameron Corse. After the Eagles achieved their highest win total in 15 years against Pittsburgh, nearly the whole roster struggled against their counterparts from Notre Dame, as Dasha Possokhova was the only BC player to win a single set in the matchup”.

The doubles point was very much an uncontested victory for the Irish, as Zoe Taylor and Ally Bojczuk cruised to a 6-2 win on the middle court over Elene Tsokilauri and Laura Lopez, while Bess Waldram and Brooke Beda controlled things on the outer court for a 6-1 edge over Natasha Irani and Loren Haukova. With the doubles point already secured, the top matchup of Corse and Spence against Zoe Wilcox and Jackie Urbinati was left unfinished, as the pair from Notre Dame held another commanding 5-2 advantage.

Wilcox put up a strong fight against Spence in the No. 1 singles slot, taking the match into two long sets, 6-4, 6-4. However, Spence was able to get the breaks she needed to secure the point for Notre Dame. The No. 2 court saw Corse coast to a win over Urbinati, 6-2, 6-2. The strong showing in doubles gave Notre Dame the early momentum and confidence to succeed in singles play.

Over on the No. 6 court, Possokhova sought to bring a point to the BC sidelines. The junior went back and forth against Taylor, all the way to a 6-6 tie. In the tiebreaker, Possohova buckled down and was able to swing her way to the first-set victory. The gritty performance was admirable for an Eagles side that lacked energy on Friday. While Possokhova won the first set, Taylor appeared to be in control of the second, 5-1, before play was suspended and the match ended unfinished.

The third and fourth courts saw highly competitive ties as well, but neither were played to completion. Irani was battling with Bojczuk and, after losing a tough first set, 6-3, Irani had drawn the second set to 5-4 before the match concluded. Tsokilauri was in a deadlock with Beda, as a tiebreaker was forced to mediate the first set, and even that was tied at six. Beda won a pair of clutch points to lock down the first frame, 7-6 (8-6). When play was suspended midway through the second set, the pair were even.

The No. 5 court proved to bring the fourth and decisive point to the Notre Dame bench. Waldram handled Lopez in the first set, 6-2, but the same could not be said for the second. Lopez hung on in the match, drawing a 5-5 tie, but Waldram was then able to break her serve to grab the set, 7-5. With the match having started later than expected, all other play stopped once Notre Dame had the victory in hand.

Despite the loss, the Eagles’ season has still been a massive success. The No. 4 Duke Blue Devils await to host BC’s final regular season match, where head coach Nigel Bentley’s squad will hope to pull off the upset and carry that momentum into the ACC Tournament.

Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff

April 13, 2019