Women’s Tennis comes up short in Big South Championships


Sean Karoly



The Radford women’s tennis team’s season came to an end after dropping four straight matches to Charleston Southern Thursday, April 18 in the quarterfinals of the Big South Conference Tournament held at Winthrop University.

The loss came one day after topping tenth seed Presbyterian College in the first round of the tournament. Looking to start off strong, RU was able to capture the first point of the day in doubles competition. Sophomores Taylor Newman and Megan Napolitano defeated Greer Ransom and Patricia Alves of PC 8-3, while freshman Taylor Fay and sophomore Gemma Valls came from behind to claim an 8-6 victory over Courtney Gardiner and Lindsay Krause.

In singles play, Napolitano and freshman Allison Michael earned straight set victories to give the team a 3-1 victory.

After freshman Hana Babic lost her singles match, Newman earned the decisive victory for RU in their match against PC, taking down Ransom. After losing the first set 6-0, Newman bounced back in the last two sets with scores of 6-4, 6-3.

Radford could not find any momentum for the next day against second seed Charleston Southern, however.

CSU earned the doubles competition point after Newman and Napolitano lost a tight 8-5 match. Valls and Fay were able to win on court three, 8-6, but a Charleston Southern win on court two over Babic and Michael prevented the Highs from getting the doubles point.

Trying to regroup in singles was tough as Valls, Babic and Michael all lost in straight sets, giving the Buccaneers a 4-0 victory over the Highs to advance to the semifinals of the Big South Tournament.

Overall, the Highs finished at 7-16 on the year including 3-6 in the Big South.

After a bumpy start to the 2013 spring campaign, the team picked up three key wins out of four games including two wins at the Spring Break Invitational in Orlando, FL.

The first of the two wins came against Wesleyan University of Connecticut on March 12, in which the Highs shutout WU, with each victory coming in straight sets.

They followed up that performance by winning a nail-biter against Augustana University the next day.

The Highs built up a 4-2 lead on Augustana after Napolitano beat Hannah Gebauer of AU 7-6, 6-1. However, Augustana came back with consecutive wins to tie the score at four all with only one match to play.

It was up to Fay to come through on her singles match. After a long battle, Fay persevered and took the final point in a 6-2, 6-7 (11-9) victory over Heather Sullivan.

The next three wins came in back to back to back fashion, topping the three Big South opponents Presbyterian, Longwood and Gardner-Webb.

The first two of these wins came on RU’s courts – the first two home matches of the season despite being well into the season. The two wins also saw Newman build up an impressive winning streak in singles competition. After wins against PC and LU, Newman earned her seventh and eighth straight singles victories of the season. The streak lasted for nearly a month, extending through the team win against Wesleyan.

Consisting of only three sophomores and three freshmen, the team has a lot of room for improvement. Next season, the Highs look to improve on what was a rebuilding season.