Over the weekend, the 18th ranked Mary Washington women’s tennis team traveled to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia for the Fab 10 Tournament. Starting on Friday, March 25, the team took on Carnegie Mellon University, Middlebury College and Gustavus Adolphus College over the course of three days. The Lady Eagles dropped their matches to all three schools, putting their season record at 9-7.
Head coach Patrick Catullo explained his reasoning for his team competing in this difficult tournament year in and year out.
“The reason we play the event every year is so we can gauge where we are. It’s a good barometer to see how we’re progressing,” Catullo said.
Senior co-captain Megan Lawlor explained how playing higher ranked teams is beneficial to the team.
“It will definitely help because it will prepare us, mentally and physically, for the national tournament,” Lawlor said. “Playing good teams helps us realize our own abilities on the court and reminds us that we are just as talented if not better than these higher ranked teams. We know we’ll have to face them at nationals eventually and our team is highly anticipating a good battle.”
On Friday morning, the Lady Eagles took on the seventh ranked Carnegie Mellon University Tartans. UMW put up a good fight, but lost the match 6-3 to snap their four-match winning streak. The Eagles and Tartans split the single matches 3-3, but Carnegie Mellon took all three doubles matches. UMW senior Megan Lawlor, freshman Lindsay Raulston and junior Casey Malcolm got the singles wins for the Eagles. After losing the first set 5-7, Lawlor came back and won the final two sets 6-4, and 10-2 to earn the victory over the Tartans’ Alex Tapak.
“When losing a match, the hardest but most important thing for me is to stay calm and refrain from self-deprecating outbursts,” Lawlor said. “Patrick and Art play a huge role in keeping me calm during these fragile states. Whether it’s making me laugh or reminding me how to play tennis, they know the best way to help me towards victory.”
Raulston beat Sonya Subramaniam 6-1, and 6-1, and Malcolm defeated Ashley Herrick 6-2, and 6-1.
On Saturday afternoon, UMW faced the 12th ranked Middlebury College Panthers and were shut out 5-0. The Eagles again struggled in doubles, as they lost all three matches. Malcolm and Raulston lost a 9-8 heartbreaker to Sally Wilkey and Dorrie Paradies. In singles, four matches went unfinished because of the high number of players at the tournament, so once the Panthers reached five points, the match was declared over. The win improved Middlebury’s season record to 4-1.
On the final day for Mary Washington in the tournament, the team dropped a 5-2 decision to the 10th ranked Gustavus Adolphus College Golden Gusties. For the third straight match, the Eagles failed to notch a win in a doubles match.
“Small things we can do differently become big gaffs when you play the best teams,” Catullo explained. “We couldn’t get the win because of small mistakes, but we learned we can compete with the best. I’m sure we can address the things we need to address. We fought hard and played well, but there are things we can work on”.
“I think this weekend was a wakeup call for us because if we had been successful in doubles, I have no doubt we would have been successful in all three matches,” Lawlor said. “Knowing that we could have beaten three higher ranked teams is very frustrating, and may be the driving force we need that motivates us to excel in doubles for future matches and at nationals.”
Lawlor had her second comeback of the tournament in her win over Megan Gaard. After losing the first game 2-6, she recovered to win 6-3 and 6-1 in the remaining sets. Raulston recorded her 13th single win of the season when she defeated Alex Erickson 6-2, 7-5.
Despite the losses over a rough weekend, the team remains undefeated in conference games and is still confident about their remaining games.
“Me and Courtney [Goimarac] have a lot of faith in our team and truly believe we have the ability to make it far in the national tournament,” Lawlor said. “Our team is very close, and we fight so hard for one another, and I think that is one thing we have that other teams lack. After losing some close matches to top-10 teams, I think we are all fired up and determined to show everyone how talented our team really is. No matter where we finish, I know our team will finish strong because we will fight to the death before giving up on a single point.”
The team will travel this Saturday to take on Salisbury University.