Erin Chratian gets ready for a backhand shot. Photo courtesy of GoRhody.com.

The University of Rhode Island’s women’s tennis team was back on the court this past weekend in West Point, New York where they competed in the United States Military Academy Invitational. 

The Rams began their weekend on Friday, Sept. 27 where they saw action in seven singles matchups and three doubles matchups. Sophomore Erin Chratian, senior Rachel Smilanksy, redshirt junior Tiara Higuchi and freshman Nadia Rajan all competed in the A-draw singles. Head Coach Val Villucci was happy to see this many of her players in the draw. 

“Having this many girls in the A-draw really speaks to the strength of a team,” Villucci said. 

However, Chratian was the only Ram to win her matchup in this draw by defeating Army sophomore Paola Bou in back to back sets, 7-5 and 6-4.

The day was not over for the Rams in singles competition as they also competed in the B, C and D draws. Junior Halah Davis lost in back to back sets, 6-2 and 6-3 to Air Force Academy freshman Sydney Fitch. The struggles continued for the Rams in singles completion as sophomore Sydney Chratian lost 6-3 and 6-2, also in back-to-back sets to New Jersey Institute of Technology junior Advaita Saravanan. 

The final singles matchup for the Rams on the day saw sophomore Paulina Loredo pick up the victory in three sets, 6-4, 1-6, and 11-9 over Quinnipiac University junior Payton Bradley in the D-draw. 

The Rams continued their play on Friday on the doubles side of things. In the A-draw, Erin Chratian and Smilansky picked up the victory over the Stony Brook University pair of junior Elizabeth Pam and sophomore Sasha Bekirova in their first matchup, but were defeated in the second round by senior Nadeen Lieberman and junior Ashleigh Harvey of Air Force Academy. 

Rhody’s second matchup in the A-draw on Friday was also not successful. The duo of Sydney Chratian and Higuchi were defeated 6-1 by Rutgers University sophomores Tess Fisher and Sydney Jones. Villucci stressed the importance of the doubles matchups this season so far.

“Since day one our doubles really have been our focus, since the fall semester started,” Villucci said. “We’re trying to see what our doubles teams will be and are trying to find out our strengths and weaknesses.”

The last contest on the day for the Rams was a B-draw doubles matchup between that consisted of Davis and Loredo facing off against the Marist College duo of junior Sophia Chavarria and freshman Vanessa Ciano. Unfortunately, the Rams dropped this matchup 6-4 to closeout the day. 

Rhody’s weekend continued on Saturday but their fortunes did not change. The Rams lost all of their matches and failed to qualify to play on the final day of the invitational on Sunday. Erin Chratian, the only Ram to advance in the singles A-draw competition on Friday, lost her matchup against sophomore Sydney Jones from Rutgers 6-3 and 6-1.

In the A-draw consolation bracket the Rams had three matches set to take place. Smilansky, Higuchi and Rajan were all in action but unfortunately were all defeated in their respective matchups. Things did not get any better for Rhody on the day as Davis dropped her matchup in the B-draw consolation 8-4. Sydney Chratian couldn’t change the Rams fortunes either as she also dropped her matchup in the C-draw consolation bracket. The Rams woes continued right to their last matchup of the day, where Paulina Loredo lost her D-draw match 6-1, 6-3  to sophomore Leanne Kendall of in-state foe Bryant University. 

“We want to see things improve, it’s all about trying to keep improving,” Villucci said. “Working to improve the mental piece of the game is just as important, jumping to the level we want to jump too.”

The Rams will be back on the court on Friday, Oct. 11 as they take on Monmouth University in a 3 p.m. matchup at home in Kingston.