RU Women’s Tennis notches two tough road wins

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AJ Neuharth-Keusch

The Radford Women’s Tennis squad recorded two more wins last week to wrap up their stretch of matches against teams out of  the Big South Conference. After disposing of Washington and Lee University by a score of 7-2, RU Women’s Tennis defeated Appalachian State University by a score of 4-3.
For the first of their two matches, RU traveled to Lexington, Va. to take on Washington and Lee University. The match was the fifth or RU’s season, but the first for the WLU Generals.
The Generals looked as though it was their first match of the season, as they came out of the gates slowly and lost all three doubles matches, giving RU a 3-0 lead going into the singles competition.
Notably, the number one doubles team for RU, made up of freshman sensations Hannah Crawford and Meg Napolitano, quickly and smoothly downed their opponents by a score of 8-3.
The top and bottom positions for RU were the only to lose in singles as the middle of the lineup came up with solid victories.
In the losses, senior number one Petra Dajevic fell to Sonja Meighan (2-6, 4-6) and freshman number six Napolitano to Allison Hupalo (0-6, 4-6).
However, the wins came easily for the rest of the Highs in singles, as three of four came in straight sets.
Freshman number five Taylor Newman found herself ahead early with a score of 6-3 in the first set against the Generals’ Sallie Griffin. But, her opponent bounced back in the second, matching the score 3-6. Going into the third and final set, Newman showed the maturity of a senior. She buckled down and won 6-1, taking the seventh and final victory for RU to conclude the match.
For their second match, RU traveled to Blacksburg to take on Appalachian State University in a neutral site match. This time, victory didn’t come quite as easily.
Just like the first match, RU found themselves up after the doubles portion, this time 2-1. Crawford and Napolitano nabbed another victory as a doubles team, playing in the number two slot.
The other doubles win came from Dajevic and freshman Gemma Valls in the number three doubles slot (9-8 (5)).
In singles, Crawford and Newman both won again against ASU. Crawford downed Jennifer Ansari (6-0, 7-6 (5)) and Newman beat Gabby Gabriel (7-6, 7-6 (3)).
After six of the seven matches were completed, senior Mia Drobnjak was in a lengthy battle against Gabriela Celi. With the match on the line the difference between a 4-2 or 3-3 record at stake, Drobnjak prevailed, finishing the match with a score of 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
With the impressive set of victories, RU moved up to an impressive 4-2 and recorded their third victory in a row. But with the three game streak, it seems the Highlanders have turned a proverbial corner.
The Highlanders have been led throughout the season by senior Petra Dajevic, a Croatian native, who has performed consistently throughout the season. Fellow seniors Mia Drobnjak and Sara Tegner complete the senior trifecta on the seven member RU Women’s Tennis squad, which also includes four freshmen. Newman, Napolitano, Barcelona native Valls, and UK native Crawford round up a quartet of freshmen who have breathed new life into the program, which has been rolling early on in the 2012 season.
The Highs will begin Big South play on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. against Presbyterian College, which kicks off their series of three games in five days.