By: Billy Owens, Staff Writer
Towson traveled south to Florida over Spring Break, where they fell 7-0 to No. 24 Florida International Monday and 6-1 to Florida Atlantic Wednesday but returned to campus to earn a historic 5-2 victory over conference rival Charleston Saturday.
Saturday’s victory at the Towson Center Courts marked the program’s first ever win against the Charleston Cougars in six contests.
“The win was great,” Interim Head Coach Jamie Peterson said. “It was a great performance, but certainly one we’re capable of doing in the future when we have the right mindset.”
The Tigers began play by taking two out of three doubles sets to earn the opening point. The No. 2 pairing of Lucy Williams and Lucy Gloninger defeated Anastasia Palaska and Mara Argyriou 6-2, while the No. 3 pairing of Sophie Lesage and Yevgeniya Shusterman defeated Christi Woodson and Sarah Jane Jones 6-1.
However, the Cougars team of Liza Fieldsend and Rachel McNeely topped the No. 1 team of A.J. Gomer and Ren van Oorschodt 7-5.
In singles play, Towson took wins in four of the six matches to claim overall victory. The College of Charleston pushed three of those matches to deciding third sets, but Towson held on to win all three.
Number 1 Nicole Shakhnazarova beat Fieldsend 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, while No. 4 van Oorschodt defeated McNeely 6-0, 3-6, 6-3. No. 5 Barbora Vasilkova held off Palaska 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, and No. 6 Gloninger defeated Turner Yates 7-6 (1), 6-4.
The Cougars kept it close with two singles victories of their own as Woodson defeated No. 2 Gomer 7-5, 6-4, while Argyriou beat No. 3 Williams 6-0, 6-1.
Wednesday, Towson lost its second straight match down south after falling 6-1 to Florida Atlantic at the FAU Tennis Complex in Boca Raton, Florida.
“It was a winnable match, but the necessary things didn’t go our way,” Peterson said. “There were definitely some opportunities to pick up points, but we just didn’t execute.”
The Owls swept all three doubles matches to take an early lead. Laura Fabrizi and Ana Gutierrez defeated No.1 Gomer and van Oorschodt 6-0, Heather Walton and Alisa Rudenko beat No. 2 Lesage and Shusterman 6-4. Lyndsey Boos and Marisa Ruiz defeated No. 3 Williams and Gloninger 6-4.
The Tigers were unable to mount a comeback in singles action as five of the six matches went to Florida Atlantic.
Fabrizi defeated No. 1 Shakhnazarova 6-2, 2-6, [11-9], Boos beat No. 2 Gomer 6-3, 7-6, and Gutierrez defeated No. 3 Williams 6-2, 6-0.
Ruiz beat No. 4 Shusterman 6-3, 6-0, and Rudenko defeated No. 5 van Oorschodt 6-0, 7-5.
Towson notched its lone victory of the dual match when No. 6 Gloninger defeated Naiya Oden 6-4, 5-7, [10-5], in a third-set match tiebreaker.
Monday, the Tigers fell 7-0 to No. 24 Florida International at the FIU Tennis Courts in Miami. This was Florida International’s fifteenth win of the season and thirteenth straight.
“It was a whole new level for us to compete against,” Peterson said. “We learned from that, and it only prepares us better for [conference matches].”
The Panthers took the opening doubles point by winning two of the three contests. Andrea Lazaro and Nina Nagode defeated No. 1 Shusterman and Gomer 6-1, while Maryna Veksler and Ulyana Grib beat No. 2 Vasilkova and Lesage 6-1.
The matchup of Mina Markovic and Gabriela Ferreira against No. 3 Williams and Shakhnazarova was left unfinished with Florida International’s team leading 5-2.
The singles competition continued to go the Panthers’ way, as the Tigers fell in straight sets in all six matches.
Lozaro, who is ranked 28th nationally, defeated No. 1 Shakhnazarova 6-2, 6-2, Veksler beat No. 2 Gomer 6-1, 6-2, and Nagode defeated No. 3 Williams 6-0, 6-0.
Grib beat No. 4 Vasilkova 6-1, 6-1, Ferreira defeated No. 5 Shusterman 6-2, 6-0, and Nerma Caluk beat No. 6 Gloninger 6-1, 6-2.
The Tigers hold a 7-5 record on the season following the three spring break matches. The Tigers are now 1-1 in conference play with the win over the Cougars.
Towson will host local rival Morgan State Wednesday at 3 p.m. before hosting anther four matches this coming weekend.