The West Virginia University tennis team (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) opened its spring 2021 campaign with a 7-0 win over Cleveland State on Friday afternoon, at the Summit Tennis Academy in Morgantown.
“It’s obviously good for us to finally be back out on the court and competing in matches,” WVU coach Miha Lisac said. “We needed matches; we need match play. From that standpoint, it was a huge day for us. I think it was kind of evident that we started the match a little bit nervous, and obviously, we weren’t fully in midseason shape to say. But I liked how the team came together and competed through situations and some of the battles we found ourselves in. So, overall, it feels like a pretty good day.”
In doubles play, West Virginia secured the first win of the match from the No. 3 slot. Junior Nicole Roc and freshman Momoko Nagato dominated the Cleveland State duo of Selma Tounsi and Gaby Schoenberg, defeating the 6-1.
In the No. 1 slot, junior Anastasiia Bovolskaia and freshman Nadya Maslova matched up against Miruna Vasilescu and Bethany Yauch. The Vikings’ duo provided a solid challenge for Bovolskaia and Maslova, but the Mountaineer pair ultimately triumphed, 6-3, to clinch the doubles team point.
The final doubles match from the No. 2 position was played out. Redshirt senior Hunter Bleser and freshman Amber Fuller fell in their match, 6-3, to Blanche Lenoan and Kateryna Avram.
Bleser began singles play with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Sian Payne. The redshirt senior dominated the No. 5 match from start to finish to help WVU take a 2-0 lead of CSU.
Maslova finished shortly after from the No. 3 position, defeating Yauch in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. West Virginia led 3-0 with four matches remaining.
The match was decided from the No. 1 singles slot, where Bovolskaia turned in a hard-fought, two-set win over Vasilescu to help the WVU clinch its first win of the season. The remaining singles matches were played out.
In the No. 6 singles match, Roc trailed 1-5 to Avram to begin the first set but stormed back to tie it up, 6-6. Roc took the ensuing tiebreaker, 7-2, to take a one-set lead. In the second set, Roc dominated, 6-1, to claim the match and extend WVU’s lead to 5-0.
Nagato collected WVU’s sixth team point from the No. 2 slot. After a battling through the majority of the first set, Nagato separated from Lenoan to take the frame, 7-5, before winning the second set by a score of 6-3.
In the final match of the day, Fuller took on Tounsi from the No. 4 singles position. Tounsi struck first, claiming the first set by a score of 7-5, but Fuller responded in dominant fashion to take the second set, 6-1, and force a 10-point tiebreaker. In the ensuing third set, Fuller prevailed, 10-4, to claim the match and complete the Mountaineers’ sweep.
Following a week off from competition, West Virginia returns to the court on Friday, March 5, as the Mountaineers play host to VCU. First serve from the Summit Tennis Academy in Morgantown, is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET.