Women’s Tennis caps off best year of the past decade

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AJ Neuharth-Keusch
aneuharthkeus@radford.edu

Photo By Jon Huff

Coming off of a 1-6 loss against conference leading powerhouse Winthrop University, Radford University Women’s Tennis had much to prove going into their final weekend of the regular season.
On April 6, The Highlanders faced off against North Carolina Central University. They were able to bounce back from the loss to Winthrop and pull off an impressive 6-1 victory.
Doubles didn’t pose as much of a challenge for RU, as they won two out of three of the matches, giving them the doubles point. Crawford and Napolitano defeated NCC’s Ekaterina Nekrasova and Rebecca Wood 8-4, recording their 17th doubles victory of the spring season. Dajevic and Valls also pulled of the victory when they demolished Julia Aguilar and Lakisha McDougald by a score of 8-0.
The singles portion of the match came just as easily for RU. Seniors Petra Dajevic and Mia Drobnjak both recorded victories at the one and three singles positions and while freshmen Gemma Valls, Taylor Newman, and Meg Napolitano made ease with their opponents at the four, five, and six positions. The only singles loss came from freshman Hannah Crawford in a lengthy, three-set battle against Cameron Chatman at the number two singles position.
The victory gave RU a 3-4 Big South record and a 15-6 overall record. Going into their final match, a win was crucial in order to secure a neutral conference record and the number four seed in the tournament.
Conference matches late in the season are never easy, but you wouldn’t be able to notice by the way the Highs played in their final match against University of North Carolina-Asheville. They came up victorious by an impressive score of 7-0.
In doubles, the number one duo of Drobnjak and Newman battled back from a 1-6 deficit to pull off an impressive 9-7 victory. Crawford and Napolitano won 8-6 at the number two spot, ending the spring quickly trounced their opponents 8-0. With the doubles point in hand, RU carried over the momentum into singles.
Dajevic, Drobnjak, Valls, and Newman all beat their opponents in straight sets. Crawford kept up the trend of lengthy split set matches as she defeated Amryn Soldier 6-3, 3-6, 10-5. Napolitano’s win at the six position came by default, but it was her team-high 19th victory of the spring season.
Although the season was frustrating at times, RU ended on a strong note. They won 10 of their last 12 matches and finished the season with an overall record of 16-6, which is the best under Head Coach Bruce Harrison. The team’s four wins in conference play is also the best in Harrison’s time at RU.
RU has performed exceptionally well on the road, holding a 7-2 mark away from the RU Tennis Courts and a 6-2 mark at neutral sites.
The team’s record isn’t the only impressive number on the stat sheet, however. Individual statistics look very impressive as well in the spring season. Crawford (14-8), Napolitano (21-7), Newman (14-8) Valls (16-6), and Drobnjak (13-8) all had winning records in singles. In doubles, Crawford and Napolitano (18-4), and Dajevic and Valls (14-4) posted winning records as well.
The Highs sit in fourth place in the Big South with a 4-4 record, tied with Gardner-Webb University and Liberty University going into the Big South tournament. They look to make the most of their long rest before the start of the tournament on April 19. Their first opponent is yet to be determined.