Sports, Spring, Women's Tennis

Women’s Tennis Knocked Out of ACC Tournament by Wake, Awaits NCAA Fate

Boston College women’s tennis entered its second round ACC Tournament matchup against No. 22 Wake Forest on Thursday with two top-30 wins to its name. The Eagles upset then-No. 10 Syracuse in their first conference match of the year and later defeated then-No. 27 Miami in a narrow 4-3 decision. Besides those two victories, though, BC had posted just a 2-9 record against opponents in Slam.Tennis’s Top 50. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they failed to pull off another upset, as they fell to the Demon Deacons in a close match, 4-2.

In doubles, the Eagles (16-10, 5-9 Atlantic Coast) got off to a great start, as Jackie Urbinati and Kylie Wilcox—the No. 70 pair in the country—upset No. 34 Emma Davis and Chandler Carter, 6-3. BC needed just one more doubles victory to clinch the point, but it could not find it at second or third doubles. At second doubles, Yufei Long and Dasha Possokhova fell to M.C. Meredith and Eliza Omirou, 6-3. An identical result occurred for Elene Tsokilauri and Loren Haukova as they lost their match to Anna Ulyashchenko and Alexis Franco, 6-3. With these two wins, Wake Forest (20-7, 9-5) secured the doubles point.

The Demon Deacons continued to build their lead in singles. The first Eagles player to lose was Long, who struggled against the 34th-ranked Davis. Davis commanded the match from the get-go, as she cruised to a 6-0 victory in the first set and followed that up with a 6-2 showing in the second frame. Long simply could not handle Davis’ lethal combination of power and consistency. Wilcox, operating at second singles, was outlasted by Ulyashchenko in a long match. Ulyashchenko triumphed in the first set, 6-4, but it appeared that Wilcox had regrouped, as she led, 5-2, in the second set. But from there, Wilcox lost control, and Ulyashchenko won five straight games to take the frame, 7-5.

At this point, BC trailed, 3-0, and was in desperate need of a victory in singles. Natasha Irani was the first to deliver. While most Eagles were locked into intense matches, Irani was the lone player that seemed to be in control. Playing at fourth singles, the sophomore beat Saby Nihalani in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, to give BC its first point. After a battle that featured numerous comebacks, freshman Laura Lopez handed BC its second point. Facing off against Peyton Pesavento, Lopez dropped the first set, 6-2. She rebounded in the second frame, though, downing Pesavento, 6-2, as well. It all came down to the decisive third and final set. For much of the frame, Lopez was visibly exhausted. Late in the set, she trailed, 5-3, but rallied to win four straight games and secure the frame, 7-5.

Once Lopez notched her victory, the other two singles matches were in their third set of play as well. The Eagles could not drop any of these matches, as the Demon Deacons already had three points. But Wake Forest would ultimately secure the fourth point necessary to win the match, as Urbinati lost to Omirou. Urbinati beat Omirou in the first set, 6-4, but from then on out, Omirou dominated, as she won the final two frames, 6-1, 6-2. Tsokilauri’s match against Carter went unfinished. The junior fell in the first set, 6-4, was edged out Carter in the second set, 7-5, and trailed in the final frame, 4-2.

Unlike years past, the Eagles’ season isn’t over just yet. With a 16-10 record, BC now has to wait and see if it did enough to clinch an NCAA Tournament berth.

Slam.Tennis projects the Eagles as one of the last four teams to make the Tournament, along with Arizona State, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame. The website projects for 11 ACC teams to clinch a berth, and the Eagles finished in a three-way tie for ninth place in the conference alongside the Fighting Irish and Syracuse at the end of the regular season. Out of the last four teams, BC boasts the second-best overall record—only trailing the Badgers’ mark of 15-4. It would appear that the Eagles have a strong shot of making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1998, but the team will have to wait until Monday, April 29, when the NCAA makes its official selections.

Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff 

April 19, 2019