Despite some momentum coming into the weekend, the University of Connecticut tennis team lost in what may be the closest 7-0 this team will be a part of. On Friday, Feb. 10, the Huskies played extremely tough against a very talented Army squad in West Point, N.Y., leading to some tight contests that would not end up going the way of Connecticut.
The day started with surprise showings in the three doubles sets. Though doubles-2 could not provide much resistance, the doubles-1 duo of Olivia Wright and Maria Constantinou and doubles-3, consisting of Doga Selen Takunyaci and Caroline Cook, found very competitive strategies that translated into hard-fought sets. Despite the perceived rankings gap between the two schools, and thus between these two specific sets of doubles opponents, both matches came within two points. Matter of fact, the doubles-3 set came to a tiebreaker, which the Army team of McKinnley Smith and Anna Loureiro barely managed to take. UConn’s tennis director Glenn Marshall even noted that the doubles side of the meet went well, saying that “[the women] set the tone early during doubles,” giving the team much-needed energy to start the day.
Unfortunately, that would not continue into the rest of the meet when the singles portion began. Despite a strong start, thanks to singles-1 Wright taking her first set to tiebreaker, as well as singles-4 Isabel Petri Bere and singles-6 Cameron Didion walking away from their first first-to-six with wins, none of them could hold on to that lead. Wright folded in two sets, while Bere did in three and Didion did in a super tiebreaker. Beyond those three, no one could put up much of a fight —Army’ singles-2 Elizabeth Gilbert, singles-3 Emma Sy and singles-5 Ylan Duong took convincing wins as Army completed their clean sweep of Connecticut.
There was some sense that UConn could be walking into a tough match this weekend, and the result is reflective of that. However, what it does not show is the level of fight that they had in themselves to move past the idea of playing against a group that many may consider to be far superior, and yet, push them to five tough sets out of nine. There was no sign that the whole team would back down to the challenge and on that front they delivered tremendously. Thus, despite what the final record may say and what UConn’s overall record may be, these women demonstrated that they have to continue playing hard even if they might be overmatched. They will likely carry this mentality forward and hopefully, use it to secure more wins in the future.