Hope Johnson's Three-Set Win Clinches Tribe Triumph over Wisconsin
Williamsburg - Freshman Hope Johnson capped a thrilling 4-3 victory over Big Ten foe Wisconsin for the William and Mary womens tennis team with a three-set win at the second singles position on Saturday afternoon at the McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center. W&M (1-1) took the doubles point before jumping out to a 3-0 lead with a pair of singles wins at No. 4 and No. 5. After Wisconsin (1-1) closed the gap to 3-2 with victories at the No. 1 and No. 3 singles positions, the balance of the match came down to a pair of three-set matches at the No. 2 and No. 6 spot where Johnson clinched the W&M win.
With the team result in the balance, Johnson was locked in a battle with Alaina Trgovich at the No. 2 position, splitting the opening two sets by matching 6-4 scores. In the decisive third set, the players traded breaks before Johnson broke for the second straight time in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. The Green and Gold rookie served out the win with four straight points in claiming her seventh singles win of the year and her first career dual-match victory.
After Wisconsin claimed the No. 3 doubles position to open pairs play, the sophomore tandem of Marlen Mesgarzadeh and Nina Vulovich upended Jenny Hois and Angela Chupa, 8-4, at the No. 2 slot to even things. Mesgarzadeh and Vulovich raced out to a 3-0 advantage, before the Badger pair closed to 3-2. The Tribe tandem would not be outdone winning four straight games on the way to their first victory of the dual-match season.
The first point of the match came down to the No. 1 doubles slot. The Tribe pair of sophomore Anik Cepeda and freshman Hope Johnson jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, before the Badger duo of Nicky Stracar and Trgovich closed the deficit to 4-3. Cepeda and Johnson, one day after upsetting the No. 4-ranked team in the country, won three straight games to extend the margin to 7-3, but again the Wisconsin team battled back, evening the match at seven and eventually forcing a tiebreaker. With the tiebreaker tied at six all, the Tribe duo won the final two points of the match to claim the tiebreaker, 8-6. Cepeda and Johnson won for the third straight time.
Cepeda and junior Katie Kargl extended the Tribe advantage to 3-0 with wins at the No. 4 and No. 5 singles positions, respectively. Kargl recorded her fifth win of the season, rolling past Aleksandra Markovic, 6-3, 6-2, while Cepeda defeated Hannah Berner, 6-1, 6-4, for her 10th victory of the season.
W&M returns to action when it travels to Gainesville, Fla., to take part in the ITA Kick-off Weekend. The Green and Gold will face No. 65 Winthrop at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29, before battling either No. 2 Florida or No. 69 College of Charleston on Sunday. The winner of the regional will advance to the ITA National Indoor Team Championship, Feb. 18-21, in Charlottesville, Va.
#56 William and Mary 4, #74 Wisconsin 3
No. 1 Nicky Stracar (UW) def. Nina Vulovich (W&M) 6-4, 7-5
No. 2 Hope Johnson (W&M) def. Alaina Trgovich (UW) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
No. 3 Jenny Hois (UW) def. Marlen Mesgarzadeh (W&M) 6-4, 6-2
No. 4 Anik Cepeda (W&M) def. Hannah Berner (UW) 6-1, 6-4
No. 5 Katie Kargl (W&M) def. Aleksandra Markovic (UW) 6-3, 6-2
No. 6 Jessica Seyferth (UW) def. Marivick Mamiit (W&M) 1-6, 6-2, 6-4
Finishing Order: 5, 4, 1, 3, 2*, 6
No. 1 Cepeda/Johnson (W&M) def. Stracar/Trgovich (UW) 9-8 (6)
No. 2 Mesgarzadeh/Vulovich (W&M) def. Chupa/Hois (UW) 8-4
No. 3 Berner/Seyferth (UW) def. Kargl/Mamiit (W&M) 8-2
Finishing Order: 3, 2, 1*