Women’s Tennis Impresses

The University of Mary Washington women’s tennis team continued their successful 2012 season by winning two of their three weekend matches. The No. 21 Eagles took home a pair of Capital Athletic Conference victories, routing Hood College 9-0 and knocking off Salisbury University 7-2, to stay undefeated in conference play. The loss Head Coach Patrick Catullo’s team suffered was a 3-6 defeat to the 23rd ranked College of New Jersey in their last match of the weekend.

“I thought we did a terrific job last weekend,” Catullo said. “We have a bunch of hard workers and fighters on our team and I thought we performed well.”

In their March 30 match up against Hood, the visiting Eagles dominated the Blazers by taking every event en route to a 9-0 win. Sophomore Lindsay Raulston took care of her No. 1 singles counterpart from Hood, Emily Maerz, 6-3, 6-1, and also teamed with senior Michelle Meadows to knock off the Blazers top-doubles tandem, 8-3. Meadows won her singles match against Hood’s No. 2 Emily Schrodel 6-0, 6-0, which was one of three singles matches where UMW didn’t lose a set.

After defeating Hood, the Lady Eagles made their way back home to host Salisbury on Saturday, March 31. The Sea Gulls provided a little more resistance than the Blazers, but in the end met the same fate with a 7-2 loss to UMW.

The Eagles swept the singles portion of the competition, with Meadows and junior Cassie Bowman winning their matches in thrilling three-set fashion. After dropping her first set 4-6, Meadows battled back to edge out Elaina Iosue 7-6 (7-1) in the second set before closing things out 10-5 in the deciding set. Meanwhile, Bowman staved off Salisbury No. 4 Katie Youlios’ attempt at a comeback by taking their highly contested third set, 10-8.

The doubles portion of the match didn’t go so smoothly for the Eagles, as the top-two UMW doubles teams’ dropped decisions to the Sea Gulls. The Raulston and Meadows duo lost a hard fought 9-7 battle, while the pairing of Bowman and senior Casey Malcolm were edged 8-4. The lone Mary Washington doubles victory came from sophomores Manda Martin and Anna Richman’s 8-5 win over the No. 3 Salisbury doubles team.

The women’s tennis team’s weekend finale on Sunday, April 1, against The College of New Jersey proved to be a much stiffer task than their previous two matches. The No. 23 Lions took four of the singles matches and earned a pair of doubles victories as well to gain the overall 6-3 win. Raulston again shined by knocking off New Jersey’s top player Karisse Bendijo 6-1, 6-3 and she notched another victory in her doubles match with Meadows (8-5). Senior Joocelyn Lewis recorded the only other UMW win by topping her No. 5 singles counterpart Lauren Balsamo 7-5, 6-2.

“I thought we responded very well to them and we played them well,” Catullo said. “Our squad was a little banged up from the tough matches we’ve played over the past two weeks, but I learned that we can compete with just about any team in the country. When it comes to postseason time we’ll be ready no matter who we face.”

The Lady Eagles now sit at 9-5 on the season with an unblemished 6-0 mark in CAC play. Catullo’s team has been strong this year in their CAC regular season and tournament title defense, recording five of their six conference wins by a score of 9-0.

Meadows was named CAC Women’s Tennis Player of the Week for her performance this past weekend, just a week after Raulston earned the same honor. The top-two women’s tennis players have been vital to the team’s success this season.

“Michelle’s a captain and one of the leaders of our program,” Catullo said. “I’m [also] very excited about where Lindsay’s development is as a sophomore. I knew she had the abilities to be a great player for Mary Washington and she has a bright future ahead of hear. I’m looking forward to seeing how good she can get.”

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