Women’s Tennis Falls in Home Finale
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In its final home match of the season, the West Virginia University women’s tennis team was defeated by No. 34 Oklahoma, 7-0, on Sunday afternoon at Ridgeview Racquet Club.
“In a number of matches this afternoon, we faced early deficits because we were unable to get off to a good start,” said coach Tina Samara. “We have emphasized how important it is to start well against these players. You don’t come back against teams and programs like Oklahoma. It will happen occasionally, but not in every match.”
The Sooners (12-6, 5-2 Big 12) opened the match by quickly snatching the doubles point from the Mountaineers (4-13, 0-6 Big 12) by sweeping the doubles matches.
The No. 15-ranked duo of Hermon Brhane and Whitney Ritchie dispatched Hailey Barrett and Ikttesh Chahal, 8-1.
Seniors Audrey Wooland and Emily Mathis, who were playing in their final home match of their careers, were looking to earn their tenth doubles win of the season, but were taken down by Zita Engbroks and Whitney Wofford, 8-5.
At No. 3 doubles, Vivian Tsui and Irinka Toidze were defeated, 8-6, by Emma Devine and Mia Lancaster.
“In No. 2 and No. 3 doubles, we got down early on each court,” Samara said. “Emily and Audrey started to counter what their opponents were doing effectively once they figured out their opponent’s style of play. For Irinka and Vivian, it wasn’t all related to strategy. They fell behind early and were unable to make up for it.”
Up 1-0, OU swiftly increased its advantage in singles play by taking straight-set victories at No. 2, No. 4 and No. 3 singles. By doing so, the Sooners also locked up the team victory, as their lead was upped to 4-0.
“Hailey has been struggling a bit lately, but she is in a little bit of a slump,” Samara said. “We have all been there. She will work things out, and she will be better in the long run.”
At No. 1 singles, Wooland looked as though she would have a shot at the upset bid over No. 79 Brhane after winning the first set, 6-4, but Brhane rallied to take the final two sets, 6-3, 6-2.
“That was a tough match for Audrey,” Samara said. “She was able to get the first set victory, but she just ran out of gas in the third set. She had a couple game points to tie it up. She was a half step slower, and you just can’t have that at this level.”
WVU’s Tsui very nearly earned her team-leading seventh singles win of the season against OU’s Abbi Melrose. After Tsui and Melrose split the match’s first two sets, Tsui held a 9-6 advantage in the tiebreaker, but Melrose was able to rally to take the tiebreak, 13-11.
“Vivian had four or five match points, but she wasn’t able to convert – that is tennis though,” Samara said. “Her slow start is what hurt her. If she would have gotten off to a better start, she wouldn’t have been in the third set tiebreaker.”
In the contest’s final singles match, Toidze was defeated by Devine, 7-6 (4), 6-0.
The Mountaineers return to action on Sunday, April 14, at 9:30 a.m., when they take on Iowa State in Ames, Iowa.
No. 1: No. 79 Hermon Brhane (OU) def. Audrey Wooland (WVU), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
No. 2: Whitney Ritchie (OU) def. Hailey Barrett (WVU), 6-0, 6-1
No. 3: Mia Lancaster (OU) def. Ikttesh Chahal (WVU), 6-3, 6-4
No. 4: Whitney Wofford (OU) def. Emily Mathis (WVU), 7-5, 6-1
No. 5: Abbi Melrose (OU) def. Vivian Tsui (WVU), 6-2, 4-6, 13-11
No. 6: Emma Devine (OU) def. Irinka Toidze (WVU), 7-6 (4), 6-0
Order of Finish: 2, 4, 3, 1, 5, 6
No. 1: No. 15 Brhane/Ritchie (OU) def. Barrett/Chahal (WVU), 8-1
No. 2: Engbroks/Wofford (OU) def. Wooland/Mathis (WVU), 8-5
No. 3: Devine/Lancaster (OU) def. Tsui/Toidze (WVU), 8-6
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3
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