By TAYLOR MOONEY
The University of Mary Washington women’s tennis team hosted the Blue- Gray Invitational this past weekend. The Eagles competed Friday through Sunday, March 15-17, against Skidmore College, Southwestern (Tx.) University, and Kenyon College.
Going into the Invitational, the Eagles were undefeated with a season record of 5-0. Their success this season allowed the women’s tennis team to move up to #19 in the nation according to the new Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll, which was released on Thursday, March 14.
On Friday, March 15, the Eagles took on one of their rivals, the #11 ranked Skidmore College at the UMW Indoor Tennis Center.
The Eagles started out strong by winning all three doubles, putting them ahead of Skidmore 3-0. UMW’s Olivia Moore and Sophie Dixon won the first point for UMW, winning their match 8-5. The second point went to UMW’s Lauren Quinn and Rachel Summers, who won their match 8-6. Danielle Mirabella and Claire Coleman were behind 6-5, but came back strong to get the last three points, winning their match 8-6, and gaining the third point for the Eagles.
After the doubles, the Eagles extended their lead into the singles, with Rachel Cooper gaining a 6-1, 6-1 win at six, making the total score 4-0. However, things took a turn for the Eagles as Skidmore came back strong and won the next four points. The Eagles were defeated at one, 6-3, 6-1; at three, 6-1, 6-3; at four, 6-2, 2-0; and at five, 6-3, 6-4.
The match was now tied 4-4, with one remaining single at two. UMW’s Claire Coleman won the first set 6-3 but lost the second 3-6, leading into a third set. Coleman won the third set 7-5, giving the Eagles a win over #11 Skidmore, with a final score of 5-4. The Eagles remained undefeated with a season record 6-0.
For freshman biology major Lauren Quinn, beating Skidmore was the highlight of her weekend. “We were all so proud of each other,” said Quinn.
On Saturday, the Eagles were back on the courts, to compete against #38 Southwestern (Tx.) University at the outside Battleground Complex.
In doubles, the Eagles had a rocky start, losing the first two sets, at three, 8-2, and at two, 8-5. However, Rachel Summers and Lauren Quinn pulled out an 8-5 win at one. Southwestern (Tx.) led the Eagles 2-1 heading into singles.
The Eagles lost the first two singles, at one, 6-1, 6-1, and at three, 6-4, 6-4. However, Olivia Moore grabbed a point for UMW at six, 6-3, 6,1. Now behind by three points, the Eagles came back strong their last three matches. At four, Danielle Mirabella, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-5), and Rachel Cooper, at five, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, won in three sets. However, the Eagles lost at two, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, and ended the match with a loss to Kenyon, 5-4.
Even though the Eagles had a tough loss Saturday, senior biology major Danielle Mirabella, had a great singles match. “I was in a third set and down 2-5. I ended up coming back and winning 7-6,” said Mirabella. “The support from my teammates is what drove me to fight and win. We actually had a recruit come and watch and she said how supportive we were of one another and how much we wanted to win for each other is the reason she decided to commit the day after.”
The Eagles returned to the Battlegrounds Sunday for their last day of matches against #22 Kenyon College.
In doubles, the Eagles took the first point at three, with Olivia Moore and Sophie Dixon pulling out a strong win of 8-3. Kenyon came back for the next two points at two, 8-4, and at one, 8-6. Heading into singles Kenyon led UMW 2-1.
The Eagles lost the first three singles, at four, 6-4, 6-2, at two, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), and at five, 6-1, 6-1. However, the Eagles persevered and won their first singles point at three. Lauren Quinn won in three against Kenyon’s Maggie Sweeney, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. The Eagles followed with another two defeats at six, 6-1, 6-4, and at one, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 10-4.
The Eagles fell to number #22 Kenyon College 7-2, finishing the weekend with a 6-2 season record.
When asked about the team’s upcoming matches, Quinn said, “I’m very excited about competing in general. I love playing my heart out for my team and wouldn’t want it any other way. We have some tough matches coming up, but I’m looking forward to competing in all of them and representing Mary Wash on the court.”
The Eagles will return to the courts this Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24, for another weekend of matches. Saturday the Eagles will host Southern-Virginia University at 10 a.m., and the College of New Jersey at 4 p.m. Sunday the Eagles will host Frostburg State University at 10 a.m. and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater at 4 p.m.