By: Billy Owens, Staff Writer
Towson closed out its last four regular season matches with three wins, defeating Coppin State, Drexel and Bucknell but falling to Navy this week.
Saturday, Towson suffered a 6-1 defeat to Navy at the Towson Center Courts. The match was the first of a senior day doubleheader at home to close out the team’s regular season.
Navy earned two of three wins in doubles to earn the opening point of the match. Rozel Hernandez and Carlee Conway beat Towson’s No. 1 team of A.J. Gomer and Ren van Oorschodt 6-2, while Kaylah Hodge and Amanda Keller defeated the No. 2 team of Lucy Williams and Jane Shusterman 6-4. The No. 3 team of Barbora Vasilkova and senior Sophie Lesage topped Audrey Channell and Catalina Rico 6-4 to prevent a Navy sweep of the doubles.
In singles play, Towson ultimately fell in five of the six singles matches to give Navy the dual-match victory. All five losses were in straight sets.
Keller defeated No. 1 Nicole Shakhnazarova 7-5, 6-4, Ansofi Wreder beat No. 3 Gomer 6-4, 6-4, and Emily Louie-Meadors defeated No. 4 Vasilkova 6-4, 6-2. Hodge beat No. 5 van Oorschodt 6-3, 6-4 and Conway edged No. 6 Lucy Gloninger 6-4, 7-6 (3) to close out the match for the Mids. The Tigers’ lone point came when No. 2 Williams defeated Josie Rogers 6-3, 6-2.
Interim Head Coach Jamie Peterson said that the team was likely “a little beat up” from Friday’s match against Drexel, while Navy was fresh and prepared to take on the Tigers.
In the second match of the doubleheader, Towson earned a 7-0 win over Coppin State to end the regular season.
The Tigers began the match by earning a clean sweep of the doubles without dropping a game. No. 1’s Gomer and van Oorschodt beat Tanna Nita and Ajla Hrnjic 6-0, No. 2’s Vasilkova and Gloninger defeated Carentxa Goede and Brittanie Cahua 6-0, and No. 3’s Lesage and Shakhnazarova beat Precious Udofe and Tinashe Gwaze 6-0.
Towson continued its strong play in singles action, sweeping all six matches in straight sets and winning at least one 6-0 set in each flight. No. 1 Williams defeated Udofe 6-2, 6-0, No. 2 Gomer beat Goede 6-0, 6-1, and No. 3 Vasilkova bested Nita 6-0, 6-0. No. 4 Gloninger topped Gwaze 6-0, 6-0, No. 5 Lesage beat Brittanie Cahua 6-0, 6-3, and No. 6 Shusterman defeated Hrnjic 6-0, 6-1.
“We were able to regroup and refocus and were able to execute the way we want to execute points,” Peterson said. “Hopefully it should give us a little confidence boost before going into the conference tournament.”
Friday, Towson prevailed at home in a close 4-3 win over Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) conference rival Drexel.
The Tigers took two of the three doubles matches over the Dragons to earn the dual match’s opening point. No. 1 Gomer and van Oorschodt beat Ryshena Providence and Clary Rodriguez 7-5, but Drexel’s Honami Yazawa and Lea Winkler defeated No. 3 Vasilkova and Gloninger 7-5 to level the doubles at one set all. No. 2 Williams and Shusterman triumphed over Ghita Benhadi and Kendra Bunch 7-6 (3) to give the Tigers the early lead.
The singles matches followed the same back-and-forth pattern as the doubles, as Drexel’s Winkler defeated No. 4 Vasilkova 6-1, 7-5, before No. 5 van Oorschodt came back from a set down to beat Rodriguez Cruz 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 and reclaim the lead for Towson.
Drexel’s Yazawa overcame a 5-0 deficit in the first set to defeat No. 1 Shakhnazarova 7-6 (5), 6-4 to tie the match at 2-2, but No. 6 Gloninger beat Providence 7-5, 6-4 to put Towson within a point of the overall victory. Bunch came back from a set down to defeat No. 3 Gomer 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, leaving the No. 2 flight as the match’s decider. Coming down to a winner-take-all third set, No. 2 Williams held off Benhadi 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to clinch the win for Towson.
“It really couldn’t have been a closer match with the doubles and singles scores,” Peterson said. “We were able to play clutch tennis, we were mentally tough, and we won those tough points that we didn’t win against UNCW, Delaware and Georgetown.”
Tuesday, Towson broke a two-match losing streak that began the previous week by besting Bucknell 5-0 at the Varsity Tennis Courts in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Due to a chance of rain later in the day, the teams did not play out some of the matches after the overall result had been determined.
The Tigers prevailed over the Bison in two of the doubles matches to take an early lead. No. 1 Gomer and van Oorschodt topped Lisa Jouravleva and Emilie Bush 6-2 and No. 2 Williams and Shusterman defeated Danielle Gannon and Melissa Parks 6-3. The No. 3 flight of Vasilkova and Gloninger against Mishi Papich and Jill Auteri was left unfinished at 4-4.
Towson continued its success in singles, winning all four of the completed matches in straight sets. No. 2 Williams beat Lauren Fishbein 6-1, 6-1 and No. 3 Gomer defeated Michele Urbinati 6-3, 6-3, while No. 5 Gloninger beat Papich 6-4, 6-3 and No. 6 Lesage defeated Auteri 6-2, 6-3. Jouravleva led No. 1 Shakhnazarova 6-3, 2-0 and No. 4 Vasilkova led Paige Leavy 6-2, 4-3 when the match was called.
“Bucknell’s a dangerous team and [it] could have been problems for us, but it wasn’t,” Peterson said. “It was a solid win.”
Towson finished its regular season with a 13-10 dual match record and a 3-4 record against CAA conference opponents.
“My impression of the team is that we have a tremendous amount of ability and talent, and when they’re able to match that with mental toughness and being fit, then we’re a very difficult team to beat,” Peterson said. “We’re capable of beating teams that are strong, like College of Charleston, like Buffalo, like Drexel.”
The Tigers play their first round of the CAA Conference Championship tournament Thursday. The tournament will be hosted by Elon at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center in Elon, North Carolina.