Virginia Blanks Fairleigh Dickinson in NCAA Opener
CHARLOTTESVILLE – The No. 14 Virginia women’s tennis team began play in the 2012 NCAA Tournament with a 4-0 first round victory Friday over Fairleigh Dickinson at the Snyder Tennis Center. The Cavaliers (19-7) will meet Tennessee in the second round on Saturday, while the Knights (16-8) end their season after reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
“We are very happy to advance,” said Virginia head coach Mark Guilbeau. “I was pleased with our team’s performance today. We had a little bit of adversity to overcome as a few of them were feeling a little under the weather. Because of that we had some players step up and they did great. Fairleigh Dickinson didn’t make any of that easy. The scoreboard isn’t indicative of how well they played. When your opponent is playing well and you aren’t giving up many games, that is a good sign.”
The Cavaliers opened the match by taking the doubles point. At the No. 2 position, Erin Vierra (Norwell, Mass.) and Hana Tomljanovic (Boca Raton, Fla.) downed Julia Prnatl and Egzona Morina 8-2 to give Virginia an early advantage. Emily Fraser (Rye, N.Y.) reunited with Li Xi (Kunming, China) at No. 1 doubles and their 8-3 victory over Anna Rapoport and Irina Dementyeva clinched the opening point.
In singles, Virginia quickly doubled their lead as Molly O’Koniewski (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 victory at No. 6 over Manu Leme. Vierra followed with a 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 4 over Dementyeva to extend the lead to 3-0. Lindsey Hardenbergh (Fairfax Station, Va.) closed out the Cavalier win by completing a 6-1, 6-2 win over Elmine Botes at the No. 2 position. Virginia led in all three matches that were abandoned.
The Cavaliers will look to advance to the round of 16 for the second consecutive year as they meet No. 23 Tennessee (15-12) on Saturday. That match is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Snyder Tennis Center. The Lady Vols advanced to the second round with a 4-0 win over VCU in Friday’s other first round match in Charlottesville.
Virginia and Tennessee met in this year’s season opener, a 4-3 Cavalier victory on Jan. 21 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
“It is going to be a battle,” said Guilbeau. “You have two teams that are legitimately top-10 teams, even though the rankings don’t show that right now. We both showed that early in the season before we both had some injury issues to overcome. Those things build character and I think both of us are playing well now, so it will make for a great match.”
#14 VIRGINIA 4, FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON 0
1. #31 Fraser/Xi (UVa) def. Rapoport/Dementyeva (FDU) 8-3
2. #43 Tomljanovic/Vierra (UVa) def. Prantl/Morina (FDU) 8-2
3. Fuccillo/O’Koniewski (UVa) led Botes/Leme (FDU) 5-2 DNF
1. #22 Emily Fraser (UVa) led Anna Rapaport (FDU) 6-1, 5-2 DNF
2. #43 Lindsey Hardenbergh (UVa) def. Elmine Botes (FDU) 6-1, 6-2
3. #118 Li Xi (UVa) led Julia Prantl (FDU) 6-1, 5-2 DNF
4. Erin Vierra (UVa) def. Irina Dementyeva (FDU) 6-1, 6-1
5. Maria Fuccillo (UVa) led Egzona Morina (FDU) 6-4, 3-2 DNF
6. Molly O’Koniewski (UVa) def. Manu Leme (FDU) 6-0, 6-0
Order of Finish: