By: Billy Owens, Assistant Sports Editor
File photo by Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight
Towson closed out its regular season with a win over Villanova, but fell in two other close matches to Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) foes College of Charleston and Delaware this past week.
Friday, Towson once again fell to a .500 record in a 6-1 loss to conference rival College of Charleston in a neutral site contest at the UNCW Courts in Wilmington, North Carolina. The match was the last conference matchup of the regular season, leaving the team with a 1-5 record against CAA opponents.
The Cougars took an early lead by seizing the opening doubles point, as Anastasia Palaska and Christi Woodson defeated No. 1’s AJ Gomer and Renate van Oorschodt 6-3, while Helena Nyikos and Rachel McNeely beat No. 2’s Jane Shusterman and Lucy Gloninger 7-5. The Tigers prevented a sweep as No. 3’s Nicole Shakhnazarova and Barbora Vasilkova defeated Laura Arciniegas and Turner Yates 6-4.
In singles, Towson could not overcome the early deficit as Charleston clinched five singles flights for the overall win. Woodson defeated No. 2 Gomer 6-3, 6-2, McNeely edged No. 3 Shusterman 6-2, 5-7, [10-8], and Palaska beat. No. 4 van Oorschodt 6-1, 6-2, while Yates defeated No. 5 Vasilkova 6-1, 6-3 and Arciniegas beat No. 6 Gloninger 6-4, 6-1.
The Tigers’ single point came when No. 1 Shakhnazarova came back to defeat Nyikos 4-6, 7-6 (4), [10-4].
“We had a few disappointing singles performances, but Jane and Nicole were right there and AJ played pretty well,” Head Coach Jamie Peterson said. “Give College of Charleston credit, they played a solid match all up and down their lineup.”
Wednesday, Towson suffered a 5-2 defeat to conference rival Delaware at the Tiger Tennis Complex.
The Blue Hens started strong by sweeping all three doubles flights, then earned four singles victories to claim victory. The Tigers earned two singles wins, as No. 4 Shusterman closed out Annie Jaskulski 6-3, 3-6, [10-4] and No. 3 Gomer rallied to beat Amanda Studnicki 0-6-, 6-3, 6-2. The team nearly added a third, but Sarah Hall came back to beat No. 5 van Oorschodt 5-7, 6-1, [10-4].
“Delaware and College of Charleston are very similar teams, and they’re just very solid all the way down the lineup,” Peterson said. “They don’t give you a lot. If you don’t play well enough down the lineup, it’s going to be a difficult day, and we fell short.”
Tuesday, Towson won its 11th match of the season with a 4-2 triumph over Villanova at the Villanova Tennis Complex in Villanova, Pennsylvania. The match was originally slated to take place back in March, but inclement weather forced the teams to reschedule.
In doubles, the Wildcats won two of three flights to take the early lead, with the remaining flight going unfinished. The Tigers stomped back in singles, as No. 1 Shakhnazarova defeated Lexi DeNucci 7-5, 6-2, No. 2 Gomer beat Lindsey Evans 6-3, 6-4, No. 5 van Oorschodt defeated Alexandria Krogius 7-6, 6-2, and No. 6 Alexa Martinez beat Paulina Bajet 6-4, 6-2.
“We were facing adversity right from the start,” Peterson said. “They got down a little in singles in the first set, which was concerning for sure, but they all stepped up to the plate in the first set and finished strong.”
The team will travel to Elon, North Carolina, Wednesday morning for the upcoming CAA Tournament, hosted at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center on Elon’s campus. Towson, seeded eighth, will face Hofstra, seeded ninth, in the first round of the nine-team tournament Thursday morning.
If Towson wins, they would advance to Friday’s quarterfinal round and face top-seeded William & Mary.
Despite ending the season with two losses, the team looks to go deep in the tournament with five seniors set to finish their careers.