After a slow start to the season for the Women’s Tennis team, momentum was on their side as the Highlanders headed into the Big South Tournament. In the Highs’ first match of the tournament, they would face in-state rival Liberty University, who they previously lost to in the regular season, 1-6.
Things got off to a great start for Radford University as they took the doubles point from the Flames after juniors Taylor Newman and Gemma Valls claimed their match. Junior Meg Napolitano and sophomore Grace Sarver would also get the win in their match in a 7-point tiebreak. Down 6-3, the pair went on to score five straight points to give RU the doubles point and the lead heading into singles play.
But once singles play started, Liberty had their way with RU. First to fall for RU was freshman Gisela Garcia in the five spot, then Sarver in the four spot would be topped next, losing her match 6-2 6-2. Napolitano would be the next to fall and then the clinching match point came when Gemma Valls was unable to rally and fell 6-2, 6-1. Newman and freshman Sara Andrade did not finish their matches. Newman was also the only Highlander to win the first set out of the six singles matches.
With the loss, the Highs’ first season under Coach Martin Sayer would come to an end. Liberty advanced to the semifinals for the fifth straight year and continues their season with a 15-8 record, which includes two wins over RU.
Since RU had no seniors on their roster, they will not lose any players to graduation and instead will have three experienced seniors next year in Newman, Valls and Napolitano. RU finished the year with a 10-13 record, with a 4-5 Big South conference record.
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