Towson falls short against CAA foe

By: Billy Owens, Assistant Sports Editor

File photo by Jordan Cope/ The Towerlight

Towson narrowly fell 5-2 to Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) rival Drexel at the Hecht Tennis Center in Philadelphia Friday evening.

The team was scheduled to play Villanova Thursday afternoon, but that match was postponed until Tuesday, Apr. 10, due to adverse court conditions from fog and rain the day before.

“We faced a lot of adversity from the standpoint that it was a pretty rowdy atmosphere,” Head Coach Jamie Peterson said. “We were under adverse conditions — they had a lot of support, and we didn’t handle it as well as we thought we could.”

The Dragons (13-3, 1-0 CAA) took an early lead by securing the opening doubles point. Ghita Benhadi and Kendra Bunch defeated the No. 1 team of AJ Gomer and Renate van Oorschodt 6-3, while Clary Rodriguez Cruz and Salma Ziouti beat the No. 2 team of Lucy Williams and Jane Shusterman 6-2.

The Tigers (7-7, 1-2 CAA) responded with a win at No. 3 doubles, as Barbora Vasilkova and Lucy Gloninger bested Ryshena Providence and Mya Fuentes 6-4.

Singles play was also tightly contested with several matches going to third sets and/or tiebreakers.

Drexel was able to win four of the six singles flights, though, to earn the overall victory. Benhadi edged No. 2 Williams 7-7, 7-6 (2) and Ziouti topped No. 3 Gomer 6-1, 6-0, while Fuentes outlasted No. 4 van Oorschodt 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 and Providence defeated No. 5 Alexa Martinez 6-3, 6-2.

Towson managed to win two singles flights, as No. 1 Nicole Shakhnazarova beat Bunch 6-2, 7-6 (5), while No. 6 Gloninger defeated Anisiya Simpson 7-5, 6-3.

“College tennis can be a very difficult atmosphere to compete under for a visiting team,” Peterson said. “You’re hearing a lot of noise and cheering, to say the least, but there’s no excuses for us. We’ve got to be able to overcome that.”

The Tigers have a loaded week ahead of them, with five matches scheduled in five days, as they approach the tail end of their regular season and prepare for the CAA tournament later this month.

The team looks to bounce back against local rival Johns Hopkins Wednesday evening at the Tiger Tennis Complex at 8 p.m., before hosting a doubleheader against University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Coppin State Friday afternoon starting at 3 p.m. Towson then heads down to Williamsburg to take on No. 45 William & Mary, the CAA’s top team, Saturday afternoon before facing George Washington on their return trip Sunday.

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