By CHRIS MARKHAM
Two of the most dominating sports programs at the University of Mary Washington, the men’s and women’s tennis teams, began their 2015 spring campaign on high notes against multiple Division I opponents.
On the men’s side, several strong performances proved that the Eagles’ top-15 national ranking is justified and well deserved. UMW opened up at home against Division I George Mason University. The Eagles put up a good fight against their admirable opponents, ultimately losing 4-3 to the Patriots. The Eagles went undefeated in their doubles matches, going 3-0 against the Patriots. Another high point was senior Tyler Carey’s 2-0 victory over GMU top-seed Lange. However, the Eagles only won one singles match after Carey’s win, leading to their defeat.
UMW took many positives from their tough loss to the Patriots as they headed into their next matches against two more Division I teams with much confidence. The men took on Longwood University shortly after their defeat by GMU. The following day, the team faced Loyola University. Both matches took place at the University Tennis Center.
The Eagles exerted their dominance on their way to back-to-back 6-1 victories. Much like their match against GMU earlier in the day, the Eagles won all three doubles matches against Longwood, led by Carey and Evan Charles’ 8-3 victory over Dan Elston and Steed Johnson. UMW also won all but one of the singles matches, once again led by Carey’s dominant 6-1, 6-3 victory.
It was much of the same against Loyola, with UMW winning all three doubles matches. Even more impressive, however, is the fact that the Eagles were without their no. 1 seed Carey throughout the match. Stratton Gilmore served as the Eagles’ no. 1 seed, winning his singles match handily 6-4, 6-2.
On the women’s side, the no. 22 nationally ranked Eagles also took on the GMU Patriots on Sunday, Feb. 15, but with a much more favorable result than their male counterparts. The Eagles won two of their three doubles matches to go along with victories in four of their six singles matches. Although UMW lost the top two seeded matches, their victories in the bottom four seeded matches propelled them to a 6-3 triumph over the Patriots.
On that same day, the Eagles also took on Division III Elizabethtown College, scoring a perfect victory and defeating the Blue Jays 9-0.
The men’s team will be back in action on Saturday, Feb. 21 when they host the UMW Invitational at the University Tennis Center, and the women won’t head back to the court until Sunday, March 1 against Chapman University.