The University of Rhode Island women’s tennis team dropped both their weekend matches, losing 5-2 against St. Joseph’s and 6-1 to Fordham, before rebounding for a 7-0 win against Holy Cross for Tuesday’s Senior Day.
“Confidence is definitely everything,” senior Nithila Asokaraj said. “Especially for the younger people on the team you get to see how they’ve grown so far.”
The Rams crushed visiting Holy Cross at the URI Tennis Complex on Tuesday afternoon. Rhode Island bounced back from their weekend defeats to seize three doubles matches and posted complete straight set victories through all of their six matchups.
The Crusaders had no answers for the resilient Rams attack, being outscored 72-15 in single matchups and 24-6 in doubles.Â The pairing of sophomores Taylor Holden and Anna Peacock defeated Taylor Stathis and Jacclyn Carroll 8-2 in the first match. Seniors Kathleen Uy and Asokaraj paired to defeat Abby Henry and Katie Elia 8-4. In the final doubles match, junior Elizaveta Sadovnikova and sophomore Jordan Rucks paired to shutout their opponents.
The Rams went out strong in the singles matchups. Holden defeated Stathis 6-0 and 6-1, Uy defeated Carroll 6-4 and 6-1 and Peacock defeated Henry 6-3 and 6-2 to close out the first three single sets.
During the last three single sets, Asokaraj defeated Elia 6-2 and 6-0, Sadovnikova defeated Bagi 6-1 and 6-0 and Rucks closed out the singles with a 6-0 and 6-1 victory.
“I think we’re on the right track and with more match experience we’ll be going the right way,” Asokaraj said.
The Rams won once in a doubles match and once in a singles match to close out the weekend. Asokaraj and Uy earned the lone victory in doubles when they fought off Bella Genkina and Anika Novacek to win 8-2 against Fordham.
“We’ve played a lot of tough matches and the fate of our season depends on how we play against some really good teams,” Asokaraj said. “The group of girls we have are complete fighters. Even though we couldn’t pull out the win, we all played really hard and really well.”
The squad worked to knock off Fordham’s No. 1 singles player, Ellie Ball, to grab the single bright spot of the lopsided team loss to the Rams on Sunday afternoon. URI went 1-6 in singles matches, 1-3 in doubles. Holden’s tough win over Ball was all tied up in the second set before Holden dominated in the tie break (7-1) to earn Rhode Island’s lone point of that matchup.
Sarah Ali of Fordham defeated Uy 6-2 during the first set and 6-3 during the second set of singles. Estelle Wong of Fordham defeated Peacock 6-3 and 6-2 in her set. Julie Leong of Fordham defeated Asokaraj 5-7, 7-5 and won the tiebreaker (10-5). Bella Genkina of Fordham defeated Rucks 6-3 in the first set and 6-2 in the second set. To close out the singles match, Destiny Grunin of Fordham defeated sophomore Gina Atanasoff 6-0 and 6-1.
During the doubles matches,Â Ball and Ali of Fordham defeated the pair of Holden and Peacock 8-5. In the second set of doubles, Uy and Asokaraj defeated Genkina and Novacek 8-2. In the third set, Wong and Leong of Fordham defeated Rucks and Atanasoff 8-3
“Both of the teams we played [St. Joseph’s and Fordham] are strong and have a lot of depth,” Asokaraj said. “We fought very hard and fought to the end with them but unfortunately, we couldn’t pull it out. We’re hoping if we seeÂ both of those teams in the A-10Â Tournament,Â andÂ we can beat them.”
Peacock and Asokaraj saw the only Rhode Island victories against St. Joseph’s, winning their respective singles matches. Peacock downed Kristina Eisenbrand 7-5 and 6-0, while Asokaraj took care of Maureen Devlin in three sets.
The Rams traveled to Fordham and St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia without their head coach Val Villucci, who is on a leave of absence. The captains on the team believe they have responded well and have been working hard to stay together at this tough time.
“The coaching situation has been a big change for us and this past weekend we actually needed our coach and assistant coaches there,” Asokaraj said. “In that moment, the captains were privileged to represent our team. We all support each other and stay positive and after each match.”