The Collegian
Thursday, February 22, 2024

Disappointing weekend for tennis teams

The University of Richmond's men's and women's tennis teams fell to their opponents over the weekend.

The women's team lost 6-1 to the University of Virginia at the Country Club of Virginia on Friday. The men's team played at The College of William and Mary on Sunday morning and was shut out, 7-0.

Both coaches expected better results. "I thought we'd be a little bit more competitive," said Steve Gerstenfeld, head coach of the men's team. "We weren't accustomed to the pace William and Mary hit at."

The team had won at least a singles point in the previous three matches against William and Mary, he said, and he thought the team had a shot at doubles this time. Richmond men's No. 1 player Doug Banker won three games in his first set and two in his second against William and Mary's Colin O'Brien, but no Richmond player won a set Sunday. Baker has always played well against William and Mary, Gerstenfeld said.

"It's not indicative of how the season will go," Baker said. "It's definitely motivation. It shows how hard the competition is."

Baker said one of the reasons the team wasn't on top of its game was that Matt Stillwagon, usually a vocal and motivating teammate, was recovering from a visit to the doctor.

"I have a weird infection on my foot, so they had to peel three of those bad boys [toenails] off," Stillwagon said.

He said he was on heavy sedatives for the pain, but played on through his grogginess. "That's why they call me 'The Horse,'" he said. Stillwagon won no games for his troubles.

Sophomore Pamela Duran had the only win for the women's team on Friday against U.Va.'s No. 2 player Brintney Larson. Duran won the first set 6-3, lost the second 1-6 and brought in the point with a 10-5 third set.

"I don't think anyone's happy with the result," Richmond women's head coach Mark Wesselink said, "but it will motivate the team" for tomorrow's match against the University of Pennsylvania.

"We never play extremely well against U.Va. for some reason," co-captain Beatrice Grasu said. It was "definitely not my best tennis," she said, "but the season is just beginning."

She said Duran, however, was playing very well. "She's hitting high-percentage shots, and she's a great fighter," she said.

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"I felt pretty good in my game," Duran said of the match.

She said she worked well with her doubles partner, Ashlee Vosters. "We understand each other and balance each other," she said. "She has some strengths that I don't."

"We're all optimistic that the season will turn out fine," Grasu said. "I hope we can win the [Atlantic 10] conference, that's the goal." It would be the Richmond women's fourth straight A-10 Championship win.

"We've prepared for competition with tough schools," Duran said. That includes a Philadelphia-packed weekend coming up for the team as they face Pennsylvania on Friday and Temple University on Saturday.

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