RALEIGH, N.C. – The NC State women’s tennis team dropped its first dual match of the 2013 season, 4-2, to Virginia Commonwealth Thursday afternoon at the Curtis and Jacqueline Dail Outdoor Tennis Stadium.
“I thought it was a really hard-fought match,” said head coach Hans Olsen. “I think sometimes we’ll be able to learn a little bit more after a loss.”
Doubles play saw the Wolfpack come out of the gates strong, as it led on all three courts near the halfway mark. VCU (12-4) would not let up however, as Josefin Hjerquist and Cindy Chala grabbed an 8-5 victory over the sophomore tandem of Nicole Martinez andElisha Hande in the No. 2 doubles match. The setback was the first for Martinez and Hande in a dual match this season.
Senior Chloe Smith and sophomore Sophie Nelson found themselves in a back-and-forth battle with Salome Kvitashvili and Olga Terteac at No. 3 doubles, where the Wolfpack duo held a 6-5 advantage in the latter portion of the contest. However, the Rams would counter and take the final three games to clinch the doubles point and give VCU a 1-0 lead in the overall match.
VCU’s doubles victories marked the first time this season that NC State (9-1) failed to claim the doubles point in a dual match.
After singles play began, the Wolfpack received a quick victory at the No. 2 spot, where senior Tatiana Illova notched a convincing, 6-0, 6-1, win over Hjertquist to tie the overall match, 1-1. With the victory, Illova improved to 9-1 on the season.
“I was really focused on every single point,” Illova said. “I wasn’t going for too much. My mind was really calm and I just wanted to get done quickly so I could support my teammates.”
Playing in the No. 1 spot, Joelle Kissell, the nation’s 63rd-ranked singles player, battled her way to a 6-3, 7-5 win over the 91st-ranked Chala to put NC State on top, 2-1, in the overall match. Kissell also improved to 9-1 in dual singles matches this season.
Just as the Pack thought it had momentum on its side, the Rams would counter with victories in the No. 3 and No. 5 spots to retake the lead, 3-2. Freshman Rachael James-Baker fell, 7-5, 6-1, to Yukako Noi on court three, before Hande was downed, 6-1, 7-6 (3), by Kvitashvili on court five.
In the No. 4 singles match Martinez dropped the first set, 6-4, to Terteac. Martinez responded with a 6-2 second-set win to force a third and decisive frame, but with the final set tied, 4-4, Terteac took the final two games to close out the match and send VCU to victory.
“It wasn’t our goal to have a perfect season,” Olsen said. “We’ve learned a lot from every match and wins and losses are just a part of sports. We’ll be very enthusiastic the next time we’re on the courts, and we’ll bring good energy to the next match.”
The Pack will remain at home to host Brown on Saturday, Mar. 16, at 1 p.m.
Tennis Match Results
Mar 14, 2013
No. 51 Virginia Commonwealth 4, No. 30 NC State 2
1. #63 Joelle Kissell (NCSU) def. #91 Cindy Chala (VCU) 6-3, 7-5
2. Tatiana Illova (NCSU) def. Josefin Hjertquist (VCU) 6-0, 6-1
3. Yukako Noi (VCU) def. Rachael James-Baker (NCSU) 7-5, 6-1
4. Olga Terteac (VCU) def. Nicole Martinez (NCSU) 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
5. Salome Kvitashvili (VCU) def. Elisha Hande (NCSU) 6-1, 7-6 (7-3)
6. Chloe Smith (NCSU) vs. Daria Yakauleva (VCU) 2-6, 6-0, 4-4, unfinished
1. Joelle Kissell/Tatiana Illova (NCSU) vs. Olga Barscheuskaya/Daria Yakauleva (VCU) 6-5, unfinished
2. Josefin Hjertquist/Cindy Chala (VCU) def. Elisha Hande/Nicole Martinez (NCSU) 8-5
3. Salome Kvitashvili/Olga Terteac (VCU) def. Chloe Smith/Sophie Nelson (NCSU) 8-6
Virginia Commonwealth 12-4; National ranking #51
NC State 9-1; National ranking #30
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (2,1,3,5,4)