Tennis teams find success on home court

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Sean Karoly
skaroly@radford.edu

Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams pulled off victories against Big South Conference opponent Presbyterian College on Friday, March 29. It was the first set of matches played at the Radford University Tennis Complex this season.
The wins gave both teams a fourth overall victory and first conference victory of the season.
Sophomores Taylor Newman and Megan Napolitano took the first doubles match of the day for the women’s team, defeating PC’s Courtney Gardiner and Patricia Alves 8-2.
After RU failed to capitalize on the second doubles match on court three, sophomore Gemma Valls and freshman Hana Babic sealed the deal for the team with an 8-5 victory, and gave RU the first point of the match.
Newman took the first singles point of the day after defeating PC’s Greer Ransom (6-1, 6-2) at No. 1 singles, giving RU a 2-0 lead. It was the seventh straight singles victory for Newman, who is now 2-0 as the top seed of the team.
The Highs dropped the next point, but RU freshman Allison Michael quickly responded with a win over Lucia Leahy to give Radford a 3-1 advantage over Presbyterian.
Valls took the following match (7-5, 6-3) over Alves, ensuring RU a victory.
Freshman Taylor Fay won the last point for the team, defeating Krause (6-4, 6-7, 1-0 (10-7). The Highs won by a final score of 5-2.
Next, the women’s team will play at home against conference rivals Gardner-Webb University and Charleston Southern University on Friday and Saturday, April 5-6.
The men’s team pulled off an even more dominant performance against Presbyterian, coming away with a 6-1 victory in their home opener.
Just like the women’s team, the men went ahead 1-0 after winning the first two doubles matches against PC. Juniors Stijn Meulemans and Joe Mills won the first doubles match 8-6, and junior Nicholas Sayer and senior Thomas Dehaen clinched the point with an 8-6 victory of their own.
The Highs dropped their first singles match of the day, allowing Presbyterian to tie the overall score at 1-1. However, the team won every match after dropping the first singles point.
Sayer earned the first singles point for RU, dominating Danny Bruce and earning the (6-1, 6-0) triumph.
“I knew I could outlast my opponent,” said Sayer. “I just had to stay steady, keep the ball in and play solid. Overall I played consistently, it was a good performance, and I am pleased with the win.”
Mills also pulled off a victory in straight sets, extending the team’s lead to 3-1 in the contest.
“It’s much easier to play here on Radford’s courts,” Mills said. For the first couple of games the opponent needs to get used to the courts. I feel comfortable and I can dictate play much better when we play here than when we play away.”
After the Mills win, Dehaen gained the deciding point with a (7-5, 6-3) victory over William O’Connell. Dehaen is now 3-0 when playing the second flight.
Meulemans and junior Randall Carter won their singles matches for the day and gave the Highs the 6-1 win over Presbyterian. The singles victory for Meulemans was his eighth win in a row.
Despite the shaky start to season, the team maintains a positive attitude toward the Big South Tournament at the end of the year.
“It doesn’t take much to get the team to gel a bit more as we’ve lost a few matches only 4-3,” said Mills. “I feel like we can go into the Big South Tournament and win it even with our season so far.”
The men’s team looks to earn consecutive victories this afternoon as well. They will play on the road at James Madison University, and the match will begin at 3 p.m.