Women’s Tennis defeat Marshall University 6-1

VCU junior Gabriela Davidescu and senior Shivani Manjanna fist bump each other following a match against Marshall University on April 10. Photo taken by Guy Enkh

Thai Wilson, Contributing writer

The VCU women’s tennis team defeated the Marshall University Thundering Herd today, 6-1 at the Thalhimer Tennis Center. 

Today’s win is a turnaround win after a 6-1 loss to Old Dominion University on Friday. VCU graduate student Nina Sorkin said the team came into this game focused after its loss.

“We had a tough loss on Friday. We had a long week, so we just really started off strong,” Sorkin said. “Then we led our focused attitude into the singles.”

The doubles match of VCU freshman Yelizaveta Karlova and Sorkin versus Marshall freshman Aisling McGrane and sophomore Gabrielle Clairotte was the first match to conclude. The match ended 6-1 in favor of the Rams.

The second match to conclude was VCU senior Shivani Manjanna and junior Gabriela Davidescu versus Marshall freshman Emma Vanderheyden and senior Liz Stefancic. The score was 6-3, once again in favor of the black and gold to give VCU the doubles point.

VCU started off the game with a 1-0 lead over the Thundering Herd as the singles matches began.

Davidescu started off her match by winning the first set against Marshall freshman Aisling McGrane 6-0. She would continue her momentum into the second set by winning the set 6-2 ultimately giving the Rams another point to make the score 2-0.

The next match to conclude was VCU freshman Yelizaveta Karlova versus Marshall senior Madi Ballow. Karlova started the match winning the first set 6-0 and the second set with a score of 6-2 to give VCU a three-point lead. 

VCU freshman Anja Draskovic faced off against Marshall junior Jutte Van Hansewyck. Starting off, Draskovic won the first set 6-2 to put the game advantage in VCU’s corner. 

In order to win the game, Van Hansewyck had to win the next two sets and the Thundering Herd had to win the rest of the matches, but Draskovic spiked those chances by winning the second set 6-2 as well.

VCU would technically win the game 4-0, but the Rams continued to play even after the game was decided.

VCU head coach Vivian Segnini said it is important to allow the players to continue to play even after the match is decided.

“I like to use the match as an opportunity for the players to get better and compete,” Segnini said. “I like for them to play it out and fight and have the opportunity to win the match and to fight.”

The three remaining matches continued even after the game was decided. 

The next singles match to conclude was between VCU graduate student Nina Sorkin and Marshall senior Liz Stefancic.

Sorkin would win the match in two sets with a score of 7-5 in the first set, and then a score of 6-4 in the second set to make the overall score 5-0.

The next match to be decided was between International Tennis Association-ranked No. 77 VCU graduate student Paola Diaz-Delgado versus Marshall freshman Emma Vanderheyden.  

Vanderheyden started the match off energetic, hitting many spikes and power shots to win the first set 6-3. However, Diaz-Delgado would bounce right back to win the second set with a score of 6-4 meaning the match would go into its third set.

Diaz-Delgado continued the momentum from the second set and won the third set 10-7 to make the score 6-0 for the overall game in favor of VCU.

In the final match between VCU senior Shivani Manjanna and Marshall freshman Sophia Hurrion, Manjanna started off the match winning the first set 6-4. Hurrion would come back and win the second set, forcing a third set with a score of 6-1. 

The third set went back and forth between Manjanna and Hurrion, but Hurrion would win the set in the end 10-6, giving the Thundering Herd their first point of the game and ending the game 6-1 in favor of the black and gold.

VCU graduate student Paola Diaz-Delgado said is grateful for her experience at VCU and looks forward to every moment left with the team.

“It’s a bittersweet moment right now because of course it’s time for the next chapter,” Diaz-Delgado said.

VCU graduate student Nina Sorkin agrees with Diaz-Delgado but is also looking forward to conference play and possibly an extended postseason with the NCAA tournament.  

“We’re just enjoying every moment and we’re excited for senior day next week, but also for the A-10.” Sorkin said. “Then hopefully NCAA [tournament] is next. We’re just not thinking of one more match,”

The black and gold will host University of North Carolina at Charlotte at the Thalhimer Tennis Center on April 15 for a Senior Day game.

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