Tennis Claims 6-3 Home Victory over Chowan
By Monica Espitia, Podcast Editor
With a 6-3 victory over Chowan, the tennis team passed the .500 mark on Feb. 7 at the Chowan University Tennis Center.
The Lady Braves, who conquered after claiming two points in doubles and four in singles, moved to a 6-0 dominance in the all-time series against the Hawks.
“As a senior there is nothing more rewarding than looking down the banks of courts and seeing every single person fighting for their point,” senior captain Shelby Bickel said. “That was the case today, and I am so proud of my teammates for their hard work and it continues to pay off.”
Playing on court three, senior Monica Espitia and sophomore Morgan Sheehan earned the first point for the Black and Gold after their 8-2 victory over junior Jessica de Backre and senior Straffai Cleveland
The No. 1 Chowan’s tandem of senior Natalya Kamenshchikova and freshman Victoria Smolchenkova evened the overall score by defeating seniors Leigh-Anne McAfee and Bickel in close battle 8-5.
Sophomore Gabriela van Oostsroom and freshman Kelsey Vanquaethem regained the advantage for the Braves with their 8-4 victory over freshman Paulina Novachuk and sophomore Natalia Andrade.
“Everyone went out with a lot of intensity knowing that each point counted as Chowan has improved a lot since last year,” No. 1 McAfee said. “It could have very easily been a different result had everyone not come out completely ready to battle.”
In singles action, Espitia was the first member of the UNCP team to defeat her opponent. The senior from Bogotá, Colombia, closed her match against Andrade with a 6-0, 6-1 score.
Playing on court three, Bickel battled against Novachuk but lost in straight sets 6-1, 7-5.
Just a few minutes after the senior from Cary stepped out of the court, No. 6 Sheehan closed her match against Cleveland. Sheehan’s final score was 6-3, 6-4.
No. 1 Kamenshchikova gave the Hawks their third and final point of the day when she defeated McAfee with a 7-5, 6-2 score.
On court four, Van Oostsroom gave the definitive victory to the Black and Gold by imposing her game over De Backre with score 6-2, 6-3.
In the last match of the day, No. 2 Vanquaethem confirmed the victory for the Braves against Smolchenkova. The Belgian-native dropped the first set 6-4, but claimed the second set 6-4, and the third set tie breaker 10-2.
“The good thing is that each match we are getting better, and I think that is good because now we have a few days to work on a few key things and get ready for Georgia Southwestern and Columbus,” head coach Robin Langley said.
Photo by Sara Owen. Shelby Bickel and Gabriela van Ooststroom both move towards their respective nets in a game last season.