Retolaza, women’s tennis tame Tigers
Old Gold & Black Archives
With a new crop of highly-touted freshmen, the Wake Forest women’s tennis team has lots of hope and promise for the future. Starting three freshmen and three sophomores, the Deacs are expected to gain valuable experience and improve each and every day to contend for ACC championships in the coming years.
Yet no one told the Wake Forest women’s tennis team.
The Demon Deacons (5-0) triumphed over No. 70 Missouri by a score of 5-2 for one of the biggest wins in head coach Jeff Wyshner’s four years at the school.
The Deacs jumped out to an early lead in the doubles sets and never looked back. The tandem of freshman Kimmy Guerin and junior Karen Forman was dominant at third doubles with an 8-3 win. Meanwhile, first and second doubles were both back-and-forth matches.
After trailing 4-1 at first doubles, sophomores Kasey Gardiner and Xue Zhang took control of the match. They won seven of the final nine games to clinch the decisive doubles point. Freshmen Samantha Asch and Luisa Fernandez were leading 7-5, but chose not to finish the match at second doubles.
Wake Forest continued their momentum over the Tigers in singles play. Holding the anchor at sixth singles, Zhang dismantled Missouri’s Tracy Dong 6-1, 6-1. From start to finish, Zhang overpowered Dong by taking the ball early and moving her from one side of the court to the other. Gardiner was next on the court at fifth singles, with an impressive, wire-to-wire 6-2, 6-2 victory.
With a 3-0 lead, the Demon Deacons only needed one more match to clinch the team victory, and the first four singles matches weren’t guaranteed promises as they were highly competitive.
After eking out the first set in a tiebreaker, sophomore Andrea Retolaza Andrade broke early in the second set to clinch the win for the Deacs at first singles, 7-6, 6-2.
“I was really focused on my court, so honestly I had no idea what [the overall score was],” said Retolaza. “I lost to her in the fall and I said ‘I’m not going to lose to her twice’, so I just went for it.”
At third singles, Guerin willed her way to victory with a gutsy 7-5, 4-6, 6-0 performance. Meanwhile, the Tigers got onto the scoreboard when No. 83 Kelli Hine used her experience to outlast freshman Samantha Asch at second singles 7-6, 7-5. The Tigers would add the final match of the day at fourth singles where Fernandez showed strong will and character in a 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 defeat.
“It was a real team effort today,” said Wyshner. “We got pushed early in the doubles and responded really well to that, and then we came out in singles and put up a good fight on every single court.”
“We’re really consistent from No. 1 through No. 6,” Retolaza Andrade added. “We have confidence that we can beat these teams, and better ones.”
Wake Forest will now drive north for two tough matches in the state of Virginia. On Feb. 8, the Deacs square off against No. 44 VCU and play No. 43 William & Mary the following day. Their next home match is Feb. 21st, its ACC opener against Florida State.