Deacs Topple Terrapins 4-3 Behind Strong Singles Play
April 13, 2013
By Currie McFayden, Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@WakeWTennis)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wake Forest rallied to claim four of the six singles matches, including a pair of three-set victories, to defeat Maryland 4-3 on the Leighton Courts at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex on Saturday afternoon.
The Demon Deacons (3-15, 2-6 ACC) won their second conference match in a row, while the Terrapins (5-12, 0-7 ACC) remain mired in a seven-match losing streak following the loss.
In doubles play, the Deacs fell behind early as Maryland came out on fire. At the top spot, Kathryn Talbert and Kasey Gardiner kept things close early, but Vroni Van Berlo and Sarah Gealer seized the momentum midway through the match and rode it to an 8-3 victory.
Brigita Bercyte and Andrea Retolaza, playing at No. 3 doubles, faced a similar predicament in their contest. They managed to keep Olga Gaistruk and Gabriela Srodowski within reach for the first half of the match, but the Terrapin duo closed with authority to post an 8-3 win that claimed the doubles point.
"It was a poor doubles point that put us behind," head coach Jeff Wyshner said of the slow start. "However, we responded very well and came out to play good singles matches."
In singles action, Retolaza put together one of the best matches of her dual season thus far at the No. 5 position. Facing Nataliya Bredikhina, the freshman rocketed through her opening set, posting a 6-0 bagel, the first time that she has accomplished that feat in a dual match. With the momentum firmly in hand, Retolaza put away her opponent 6-0, 6-2 to level the match at 1-1.
At No. 6 singles, Bercyte and Srodowski engaged in a rollercoaster of a match. Srodowski rushed out and claimed a 6-0 lead and the first set, but Bercyte responded by seizing the second set with her own 6-0 score. Despite the strong swings in momentum, the junior was able to keep it behind her game throughout the third set as she prevailed 0-6, 6-0, 6-4, her second three-set win of the dual season.
Talbert, making her debut at No. 82 in this week's ITA rankings, faced a tough contest against Van Berlo at No. 1. The senior eased through the opening set 6-1, but struggled through the second as Van Berlo's serve came alive. In the decisive third set, Talbert staved off a handful of critical break points to remain on serve and ultimately earned the 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 victory that gave Wake Forest a 3-1 advantage overall.
The clinching point came courtesy of Gardiner at No. 3. In a match that was much more closely contested than the score might suggest, the freshman fought hard against Olga Bredikhina with several games ending in hotly-contested deuces. Gardiner's 6-2, 6-2 win gave the Deacs an insurmountable 4-1 lead.
Maryland picked up victories in the last two matches at Nos. 2 and 4. Gealer defeated Zhang 7-6 (2), 6-3 at No. 2, while Gaistruk downed Forman 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 in a tight, three-set contest at No. 4. Despite these, though, the Demon Deacons weathered the storm to emerge with the victory.
"This was a really nice team effort," Wyshner said. "Kathryn continued to lead the way for us, and it was great to see Kasey, Andrea and Brigita pick up wins after not being able to last week when we won. It was great to see them be able to pick up the team today."
Wake Forest will return to action tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. as the Deacs square off with No. 61 Boston College on the Leighton Courts at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex. The Demon Deacons will be seeking their first victory against the Eagles since the 2010 season.
Wake Forest 4, Maryland 3