Both the VCU men’s golf team and the women’s tennis team entered their respective Atlantic 10 tournaments this past weekend as No. 1 seeds.
As the A-10 preseason favorites, head coach Matt Ball’s golf team entered the conference championships at TPC in Tampa Bay, Fla. with the proverbial target on its back. After one day of play on Friday, April 25, VCU held a six-stroke lead on second place University of Richmond and a fifteen-stroke margin on third place Dayton University to lead the first round of play.
Four VCU players finished among the top 11, including sophomore Adam Ball (68), senior Matt Ball Jr. (71), senior Rocky Khara (72) and freshman Enej Sarkanj (75).
Adam Ball recorded six birdies on the day. He shot 32 on the front nine, birdying holes No. 6, No. 7 and No. 9. He also birdied holes No. 16 and No. 17, earning a first-place tie with Saint Bonaventure University’s Josh Stauffer at 3-under par. .
Adam Ball, who has been named the A-10’s player of the week on three separate occasions this season, leads the team in stroke average at 72.82 per round, while brother Matt Ball Jr. follows closely behind with a 74.18 average.
The Rams entered the weekend looking to capitalize on its lead one year after finishing as the runner-up to Saint Louis University.
Results were not final as of press time, but the winner of last weekend’s tournament will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA regional tournament, which will be held May 5-7.
While VCU’s golf team sought its first ever A-10 title in Florida, its women’s tennis squad was seeking its second straight conference crown at the Queen City Racquet Club in Cinicinnati, Ohio.
The Lady Rams got off to a quick start on Friday, disposing of Fordham University 4-0.
Freshman Ludivine Burguiere teamed with freshman Sitilia Rencheli in doubles action with an 8-1 victory. Next, junior Salome Kvitashvili and senior Olga Terteac secured the doubles point with an 8-2 win to put VCU ahead 1-0.
Burguiere won 6-0, 6-2 in match-play over Fordham’s Julie Leong at for a 2-0 VCU lead. Sophmore Olga Barscheuskaya put VCU up 3 with a 6-2, 6-1 victory and senior Daria Yakauleva victory of 6-2, 6-2, closed out match play and earned VCU’s advancement to the second round.
Last year, VCU won the A-10 conference championships, earning the program’s 14th NCAA tournament berth. Leading the Rams are senior Cindy Chala and sophomore Yukako Noi, both of whom are ranked among the country’s top-120 players, according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Associaition. Chala is 21-7 overall this season and 11-5 in singles play while Noi is 16-9 for the 2013-14 season.
In doubles action, senior Daria Yakauleva and sophomore Olga Barscheuskaya lead the team with 14 doubles wins this year and are 8-1 in the top double spot.
On Saturday, April 26, VCU played fifth-seeded University of Massachusetts. The winner faced the winner of No. 2 Saint Louis University and No. 3 seeded George Washington University in the finals on Sunday, April 27. VCU won the game with a 4-0 victory.