CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – No. 18 Texas (18-10) claimed the doubles point and added singles wins from Aeriel Ellis, Lina Padegimaite and Breaunna Addison in a 4-0 win over William & Mary (17-6) Saturday in the opening round of the 64-team NCAA Championship. Texas advances to Sunday’s round of 32 where it will meet host No. 14 Virginia or Fairleigh Dickinson. Sunday's winner advances to the NCAA Championship round of 16 next weekend in Champaign, Ill.
William & Mary took early control of a pair of doubles matches before Texas turned it around and claimed two victories to nail down the doubles point. The Longhorns’ Ellis and Elizabeth Begley had little trouble at No. 2 doubles over the Tribe’s Anik Cepeda and Hope Johnson, as the Texas tandem emerged with an 8-2 win. Texas broke the Tribe to open the match and held serve from start-to-finish to seal the victory.
Texas’ Addison and Noel Scott found themselves in a 4-0 hole to William & Mary’s Maria Belaya and Leeza Nemchinov at first doubles before ultimately rallying and winning the match. Texas held serve and broke the Tribe to pull within 4-2, but the Horns yielded their serve and gave the Tribe a 5-2 lead. William & Mary held serve for a 6-2 lead before the Horns commenced a furious rally that closed out the match in their favor.
Texas held serve, broke William & Mary and held once more to pull within 6-5. UT broke to even the match at six, and Scott held serve to give UT its first lead at 7-6. The Horns broke the Tribe once more and won their sixth consecutive game to close out the match, 8-6 and clinch the doubles point. The remaining match at third doubles was suspended. UT’s Padegimaite and Annat Rabinovich trailed 3-0 before winning five of the next six games to take a 5-4 lead. The match was suspended at seven games all.
Texas seized control of the match in the singles session and closed out William & Mary with victories at the first, fifth and second positions. Ellis notched her 12th consecutive singles win and defeated the Tribe’s Belaya by a 6-1, 6-2 count at first singles to stake Texas to a 2-0 lead. Padegimaite wasted little time in adding to the Texas lead, as she posted a 6-2, 6-1 win over the Tribe’s Johnson at fifth singles to give the Horns a 3-0 lead.
Addison took the first set off of the Tribe’s Nemchinov at second singles, 6-3 before engaging in a tight second-set battle. Addison broke Nemchinov for a 4-3 lead, but Nemchinov returned the favor to even the set at four. Addison broke Nemchinov once more and held serve to close out a 6-3, 6-4 win to give the Longhorns the match-clinching point. The remaining matches were abandoned.
NCAA Championship First Round (Round of 64)
No. 18 Texas 4, William & Mary 0
Doubles – Order of Finish: 2, 1
1 No. 19 Breaunna Addison/Noel Scott (UT) def. Maria Belaya/Leeza Nemchinov (WM) – 8-6
2 Elizabeth Begley/Aeriel Ellis (UT) def. Anik Cepeda/Hope Johnson (WM) – 8-2
3 Annat Rabinovich/Lina Padegimaite (UT) def. Jeltje Loomans/Sydney Smith (WM) – 7-7, susp.
Singles – Order of Finish: 1, 5, 2
1 No. 37 Aeriel Ellis (UT) def. Maria Belaya (WM) – 6-1, 6-2
2 No. 31 Breaunna Addison (UT) def. Leeze Nemchinov (WM) – 6-3, 6-4
3 Elizabeth Begley (UT) vs. Jeltje Loomans (WM) – 1-6, 6-2, 1-1, susp.
4 Noel Scott (UT) vs. Anik Cepeda (WM) – 6-7 (3), 2-1, susp.
5 Lina Padegimaite (UT) def. Hope Johnson (WM) – 6-2, 6-1
6 Lana Groenvynck (UT) vs. Sydney Smith (WM) – 7-5, 1-0, susp.
Texas head coach Patty Fendick-McCain
On the victory
After a little bit of a slow start in doubles, I thought we picked it up and started playing really well. We came into our form there. I give credit to William & Mary, who played really well today. I felt like we had some good battles on our hands and we just had to kind of tough out some spots, and that’s what we did. Aeriel (Ellis) played exceptionally well. She had all of the afterburners going there at No. 1, and Bree (Addison) toughed that one out at No. 2. To see Lina (Padegimaite) find her form today was fantastic.
On rallying to win the doubles point after the slow start
We’ve been in that situation so many times now that they’re not panicking. They get themselves to settle in, and as a coaching staff, we remind them what their great assets are. They remembered that as the match wen on and started to take control, especially at No. 1. Bree (Addison) and Noel (Scott) move so well around the net. They just were not moving well early on. Once they started to, that threw their opponents off of their game, and then they started playing their game. At No. 3, they just needed to pick up the tempo a little bit, and they did that. The No. 2 spot was just lights-out doubles all the way.