After a win over Delaware on Feb. 17, the Maryland tennis team has now dropped three straight matches and fallen to 2-7 this spring. The Terps fell on the road to Columbia last weekend, then came up short at home against William & Mary and Princeton.
Last Saturday’s visit to New York resulted in a 6-1 loss to No. 38 Columbia, the highest-ranked team the Terps have played so far.
Maryland continued its up-and-down doubles play, as they dropped the doubles point 2-0. Arnelle Sullivan and Amber Policare dropped their doubles match 6-3 while Anastasiia Gevel and Kate Yemelyanenka lost 6-1 to secure the point for Columbia. Eva Alexandrova and Millie Stretton were leading 5-3 when their match was called.
Singles play didn’t go much better for Maryland as Yemelyanenka lost 6-1, 6-0 while Alexandrova lost 6-0, 7-6 (7-5) to put the Terps down 3-0. Gevel was next to drop her match as she lost 6-2, 6-3 to clinch the victory for Columbia.
Millie Stretton was the only Terp to win her match, as she won 6-2, 6-4 after the match was decided while Kulkarni lost 7-5, 6-3 and Policare lost 6-2, 7-6 (7-4). The loss solidified a 1-3 road trip for Maryland.
When the Terps came home, it didn’t get better.
Friday: William & Mary 4, Maryland 2
The Terps looked more competitive than they’ve been recently and ultimately had a chance to pull out a win before falling short.
As per the norm during this rough start of the season, Maryland lost the doubles point. Yemelyanenka and Saya Usui were crushed 6-0, but Sullivan and Policare snatched a 6-3 win on Court 3, which brought all of the attention onto Court 1.
The six other Terps and both coaches lined up along the left-hand side of Court 1 to cheer on Stretton and Alexandrova while the rest of the Tribe were gathered along the right-hand side supporting Clara Tanielian and Vitoria Okuyama. Tanielian and Okuyama would win their set, 6-4.
The singles portion went a little better for the Terps than against Columbia. Despite Sullivan dropping her match 6-4, 6-1, Alexandrova and Policare each won their matches to level the overall match at 2-2.
Yet, in a season in which so little has gone the Terps way, their streak of bad luck continued as Kulkarni lost a tight match to Okuyama 6-4, 7-5, and Gevel fell in her match in the third set 6-2, 4-6, 6-0 to give the Tribe a 4-2 victory.
Stretton’s match was halted at 6-2, 5-7 once the match was decided. The loss dropped the Terps to 2-6.
Saturday: No. 48 Princeton 4, Maryland 3
Despite receiving a gift from Princeton in the form of a forfeiture of a doubles match and a singles point due to a player being unable to play, the Terps couldn’t take advantage and lost 4-3 in an exciting yet quirky battle.
With the Terps having an automatic lead in the doubles matches, they just needed to win one of two to secure the point. Despite Sullivan and Policare losing their match, Stretton and Alexandrova came up huge and saved the Terps as they won 6-4.
Maryland was given a singles point due to the aforementioned forfeiture to give the Terps a 2-0 lead. Despite the gift, though, Princeton stormed ahead to a 3-2 lead after Policare, Gevel and Stretton all dropped their matches.
All the attention was turned to Kulkarni and Alexandrova, each of whom had their matches stretch into a third set. Kulkarni persevered through a long second-set tiebreaker and then won the third set of her match against Tiffany Chen for a 2-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 win. The Terps were now evened at 3-3 and all eyes turned toward Alexandrova’s match against Stephanie Schrage. Alexandrova’s match was incredibly tight throughout and included a long first-set tiebreaker that she dropped on her way to a 6-7 (9-7), 7-5, 2-6 defeat.
The Terps now sit at 2-7 on the season. Although they’ve performed poorly on the road and been outright dominated in some matches, the Terps looked competitive during this weekend’s home contests. Hopefully, they can take some sort of momentum into their Big Ten opener next Saturday against Rutgers at the JTCC.