Virginia Women's Tennis Advances to NCAA Round of 16
CHARLOTTESVILLE - The No. 14 Virginia women's tennis team advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 for the second consecutive season after downing No. 23 Tennessee 4-1 in a second round match Saturday at the Snyder Tennis Center. The Cavaliers (20-7) tied the school record for wins in a season with their 20th victory of the year, while the Lady Vols end their season with a 15-13 record.
"I am so proud of our team to advance to the round of 16," said Virginia head coach Mark Guilbeau. "Tennessee is a team that has had to battle a lot of injuries this year, but they are really talented and we knew they were going to give us everything they had today. They pushed us hard and I am pleased with how our team stepped up to that challenge. Victories like this are what make all the work they have put in worthwhile."
The Cavaliers opened the match by taking the doubles point. Virginia quickly took the edge in doubles as Maria Fuccillo (Rockville, Md.) and Lindsey Hardenbergh (Fairfax Station, Va.) downed Joanna Henderson and Jesse Grace 8-0 at the No. 3 position. Hana Tomljanovic (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Erin Vierra (Norwell, Mass.) clinched the opening point for the Cavaliers with their 8-6 win at No. 2 over Brynn Boren and Caitlyn Williams.
Virginia carried that momentum into singles, winning five of the six first sets. The UVa lead was doubled as Vierra cruised to a 6-0, 6-1 win at the No. 5 position over Henderson. Tennessee's point came at No. 3 where Kata Szekely defeated Li Xi (Kunming, China) 6-1, 6-4 to cut the advantage to 2-1. Caryssa Peretz (Cherry Hill, N.J.) posted a 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 6 over Grace to extend the lead to 3-1 seconds before Hardenbergh closed out the win with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Boren at the No. 2 position.
"The doubles point was really important today," said Guilbeau. "On top of winning the doubles, we got all of those close first sets in singles. That gave us a lot of momentum. After winning the doubles point, I felt like we were in a good spot to close this match out and our team did a great job of playing well in singles to do that."
With the victory, the Cavaliers tied a pair of program records set last season. Virginia tied the school record for wins in a season with 20 and have matched the best performance in the NCAA Tournament by advancing to the round of 16.
Virginia will travel to Athens, Ga., for the NCAA Round of 16 next week. The Cavaliers will meet No. 3 Duke on Thursday at the Dan Magill Tennis Center at 4 p.m. The teams have met twice this season with the Blue Devils winning both. Duke took the regular season match 4-3 in Charlottesville on Mar. 23 and won 4-0 in the ACC Tournament semifinals on Apr. 21 in Cary, N.C.
#14 VIRGINIA 4, #23 TENNESSEE 1
1. #10 Pluskota/Szekely (UT) led #31 Fraser/Xi (UVa) 5-4 DNF
2. #43 Tomljanovic/Vierra (UVa) def. Boren/Williams (UT) 8-6
3. Fuccillo/Hardenbergh (UVa) def. Henderson/Grace (UT) 8-0
1. #22 Emily Fraser (UVa) led #35 Natalie Pluskota (UT) 6-3, 4-5 DNF
2. #43 Lindsey Hardenbergh (UVa) def. #32 Brynn Boren (UT) 6-4, 6-1
3. #57 Kata Szekely (UT) def. #118 Li Xi (UVa) 6-1, 6-4
4. #125 Hana Tomljanovic (UVa) led Caitlyn Williams (UT) 6-4, 4-2 DNF
5. Erin Vierra (UVa) def. Joanna Henderson (UT) 6-0, 6-1
6. Caryssa Peretz (UVa) def. Jesse Grace (UT) 6-4, 6-3
Order of Finish: