STILLWATER, Okla. –The No. 21 Virginia women’s tennis team (4-1) used four straight singles wins to rally for victory on Saturday (Jan. 26), taking a 4-3 victory over No. 18 Illinois (0-2) at the ITA Kickoff Weekend hosted by Oklahoma State.
After falling behind 3-0 in the overall match score, the Cavaliers got singles wins from junior Chloe Gullickson (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), freshman Amber O’Dell (New Milford, N.J.), senior Meghan Kelley (Falmouth, Maine) and sophomore Vivian Glozman (Bellevue, Wash.) to secure the dual win. Glozman battled back after dropping her first set to claim the second and third, clinching the win for Virginia.
“Today was a great college tennis match,” said Virginia head coach Sara O’Leary. “Illinois played high-level tennis and competed really well. I couldn’t be more proud of the belief, determination and resilience our team showed when they were down 3-0 in the match. No one panicked; they stuck to their game plans and showed a lot of belief in themselves and each other.
“The entire match came down to Vivian, who was down 5-2 in the third set, and the work she has been putting into her tennis and fitness every day prepared her for that moment. She was down multiple match points, but stayed focused on the task at hand. I am really happy for her and all our players. They earned that win today. Now we just to need to learn from it and build off it heading into the rest of the season.”
Illinois clinched the doubles point in a battle that came down to court two. The Illini captured court three with a 6-2 win over the Virginia tandem of Hunter Bleser (New Braunfels, Texas) and Glozman. The Cavaliers’ 10th-ranked doubles team of Kelley and Sofia Munera (Pereira, Colombia) evened things with a 6-2 win on court one. Illinois then won the doubles point with a 6-3 win on court two over Virginia’s duo of Gullickson and Amber O’Dell.
Illinois moved out to a 3-0 lead on the Cavaliers with straight-set wins on courts five and six. Despite being down, Virginia got up off the mat with three straight singles wins to pull even in the overall dual score.
Gullickson got things started on court four, battling to a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Emilee Duong on court four to get Virginia its first point of the dual match. The Cavaliers then pulled within one as O’Dell fought through a tough third set to take a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 win over Daniela Pedraza Novak on court three.
Kelley, the No. 32 ranked player nationally in singles, squared things up with her victory on court one. She defeated Asuka Kuwai by a score of 6-2, 3-6, 6-4
Focus then turned to court two where Virginia’s Glozman and Jaclyn Switkes of Illinois were locked in a third-set battle. Glozman came through in the clutch, fighting off several match points to take a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 win and complete the come-from-behind win for the Hoos.
Virginia will return to action next weekend, continuing play on the road with its first ACC match of the season at Syracuse. The Cavalier and Orange are set to face off at 2 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 1).
No. 21 Virginia 4, No. 18 Illinois 3
1. No. 32 Meghan Kelley def. Asuka Kuwai (UI) – 6-2, 3-6, 6-4
2. Vivian Glozman def. Jaclyn Switkes (UI) – 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
3. Amber O’Dell def. Daniela Pedraza Novak (UI) – 6-2, 2-6, 6-4
4. Chloe Gullickson def. Emilee Duong (UI) – 7-5, 7-5
5. Mia Rabinowitz (UI) def. Sofia Munera – 6-2, 6-2
6. Sasha Belaya (UI) def. Camille Favero – 6-0, 6-0
Order of Finish: 6, 5, 4, 3, 1, 2
1. No. 10 Meghan Kelley/Sofia Munera def. Sasha Belaya/Daniela Pedraza Novak (UI) – 6-2
2. Emilee Duong/Jaclyn Switkes (UI) def. Chloe Gullickson/Amber O’Dell – 6-3
3. Asuka Kawai/Mia Rabinowitz (UI) def. Hunter Bleser/Vivian Glozman – 6-2
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2