Mountaineer tennis rallies to defeat VCU

Gold and Blue Nation

The West Virginia University tennis team (3-0, 0-0 Big 12) earned its second win of the week on Friday afternoon, as the Mountaineers defeated VCU, 4-3, at the Summit Tennis Academy in Morgantown.

“Overall, I just felt it was a good, team victory,” WVU coach Miha Lisac said. “We found ourselves behind after losing the doubles point, and it wasn’t just losing the doubles point. We felt like we weren’t really going after our game there in doubles. So, we had a little bit of work to do going into singles, and I thought across the board, players on each court stepped up and battled from the beginning of the match. We lost three first sets, and then, we were able to turn around every one of those matches and go into the third set. It was just a hard-fought win today. I’m proud of the team.”

VCU took an early lead in the match after claiming the doubles point with a pair of 6-2 victories in the No. 1 and 3 positions. Junior Anastasiia Bovolskaia and freshman Nadya Maslova fell to Gabriela Davidescu and Luminita Tutunaru in the No. 1 slot, while senior Hunter Bleser and Amber Fuller fell in the No. 3 match to Alessia Ciuca and Shivani Manjanna.

The final doubles match from the No. 2 position went unfinished. Junior Nicole Roc and freshman Momoko Nagato trailed, 4-2, when the match was called.

Maslova provided the response for WVU to begin singles play that tied the match. After falling in the first set to Tutunaru, 6-2, the freshman stormed back in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, to claim the No. 2 match.

In the No. 1 position, Nagato fell in her first set, 6-2, to Paola Diaz Delgado, but bounced back in the second frame, 6-4, to force a tiebreaking third set. Delgado ultimately won the match by winning the final set by a score of 6-2 to help VCU retake the lead.

West Virginia tied the match back up in the No. 3 slot, as Bleser defeated Ciuca in three sets. The redshirt senior took her first set against Ciuca, 6-4, before falling in the second set, 6-3. The two battled back-and-forth in the third set until it was knotted up at 6-6. In the ensuing tiebreaker, Bleser won 7-4 to emerge victorious and tie the match back up for WVU.

In the No. 4 slot, Fuller dropped her first set to Davidescu, 6-0, but rallied to win the second set, 6-2. Fuller’s match featured yet another back-and-forth third set that ultimately went to a tiebreaker. In the deciding game, Davidescu defeated Fuller, 8-6, to win the match and pushed the Rams back into the lead.

Junior Nicole Roc earned WVU’s only two-set win in singles from the No. 6 position after defeating Manjanna, 6-2, 6-3. Roc’s win tied the match at 3-3, as the deciding point waited in the No. 5 slot.

After dropping the first set to Noumea Witmus, 6-4, senior Anne-Sophie Courteau bounced back to win the second frame, 6-3, to force the Mountaineers’ fifth third-set tiebreaker of the match. In the final set, Courteau prevailed and defeated Witmus, 6-4. With the win, the Mountaineers clinched their fourth team point to win the match.

Next up, West Virginia travels to Texas, as the Mountaineers open their Big 12 Conference slate on the road. WVU travels to Austin, on Friday, March 12, for a showdown against Texas at 5 p.m. ET, before heading to Waco, on Sunday, March 14, to conclude its road trip against Baylor at 2 p.m.

Keep up with West Virginia women’s tennis on TwitterInstagram and Facebook by following @WVUtennis.

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