by Nick Toland
The women’s tennis team was defeated last Saturday in their season opener against the Midshipmen of Navy in Annapolis, Md.e final score of the match was 5-2 in favor of Navy, which began a 13-match homestand with an impressive performance to improve their record to 3-3 for the season.
Wildcats junior Mikelle Mancini and freshman Tori Smyth helped get Villanova off to a good start in doubles play with an 8-2 victory over Navy senior Emani Decquir and junior Erin Snook.
Navy was quick to bounce back though, defeating the Wildcats in the number two and three doubles matches.
’Nova freshman Allison Kuse and sophomore Sydney West fought back in the No. 2 doubles match to come within one point of their opponents, but then lost the 14th and final point of the match to lose 8-6.
The match was vital for Navy, who held a one point lead overall in the match heading into singles play.
The Wildcats were overwhelmed in the beginning of singles play. The first three matches to end were all completed in straight sets, enabling Navy to clinch the match before the first three singles matches were completed.
Villanova senior Wesleigh Donadio was dominated 6-1, 6-0 by Navy freshman Vivian Chau in the No. 5 singles match to begin the surge of victories posted by the freshmen of Navy.
Cassandra Fisbeck continued Navy’s success by defeating Wildcats junior Anne Cognetti in straight sets 6-0, 6-0 at the No. 6 singles to widen Navy’s lead to 3-0 in the match.
Kuse was defeated 6-3, 6-2 in the No. 4 singles match to give Navy the 4-0 advantage and Villanova its first loss of the season. Six of the eight match victories for Navy were posted by its freshmen.
West did not fare any better in her singles match, losing in a ten-point tiebreaker, 10-4, to Navy sophomore Noelle Kaufmann.
After losing the first set 3-6, West dominated the second set 6-2 but was unable to carry the momentum into the tiebreaker.
Mancini and Smyth were the only Wildcats to win their singles matches, winning the No. 1 and 2 matches respectively.
Mancini defeated Navy senior Stefanie Ton 10-7 in the 10-point tiebreaker to seize her first singles win of the season.
The Wildcats only won 51 games in the match, while Navy was able to tally 26 more games on the scoreboard.
Villanova will seek more consistency from the bottom half of the lineup and look to show off its depth when it travels to California, Pa. on Feb. 22.
The following day, the Wildcats go to the University of Pittsburgh.
They will conclude their first road trip of the season in California, where they will play at Point Loma Nazarene, Chapmam and Vanguard.
’Nova’s first home match will be on March 12th, when it will host Bryant. Then, the ’Cats travel to Newark, Del. to face the University of Delaware.
After this contest, Villanova will stay in the Philadelphia area for the next seven matches. Big Five rival, Saint Joseph’s will host ’Nova on March 21st.
The Wildcats will host Fordham, Loyola of Maryland, NJIT, and Fairfield.
On March 27, Villanova begins its Big East schedule against Rutgers on the main line. Other Big East opponents include Seton Hall, UConn, Temple and Providence.