Elon Women’s Tennis Phoenix Comes From Behind, Tops UNCW

ELON, N.C. – Though falling into a hole early against the UNC Wilmington Seahawks, the Elon University women’s tennis team bounced back Monday, Feb. 17, to pick up a 4-3 victory at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center thanks to a three-set win on court No. 6 from #Tolley Rice#.

“It really came down to the wire,” said Elon head coach Elizabeth Anderson. “UNCW is a good team and we always have good matches with them. We were just fortunate to come through at the end. I was really happy for Tolley for being able to finish it. As a freshman, that match will help her confidence a lot in the future.”

Playing just the second collegiate match of her career, Rice breezed through the first set before dropping the second set to Hamilton Lovett. The two battled neck and neck in the third set before Rice broke Lovett to go up 5-3. She held on to win the set 6-3 to give the Phoenix the victory.

To start the match, the Seahawks took the doubles point to grab an early lead, but the point didn’t come easy. Frida Jansaker and Maria Camara Ruiz opened with a 8-1 win on court No. 2. Then, UNC Wilmington battled back with a 8-3 win on court No. 3. The pairing of Kelly Cameron and Miller Hales fell down 3-0 early to Bryn Khoury and Viviana Stavreva, but won eight games in a row to put the pressure on court No. 1.

Fighting to keep pace, Jordan Johnston and Taylor Casey stuck with the UNCW pairing of Olga Blank and Christine Kharkevich, but the Seahawks pulled away late to earn the 8-3 win on court No. 1, taking a 1-0 lead in the match.

Kharkevich kept the roll going for the Seahawks on court No. 5 as singles started, beating Casey 6-1, 6-4 to take a 2-0 lead. Then, Lazarova cut the UNCW lead in half with a 6-4, 6-1 win on court No. 3 over Alyssa Ritchie.

Jansaker pulled the Phoenix back even, though, with a 6-2, 6-3 win on court No. 2.

With the final three matches in third sets, Johnston held off Blank to give Elon it’s first lead of the afternoon. After dropping a first set tiebreaker in tight fashion, Johnston went on a tear as she raced out to a 4-1 lead in the second set before taking the set 6-3 to force a decisive third set. Johnston won the third set by the same score to grab the lead.

Looking to finish off the match, Khoury jumped to a lead in the third set with an early break of Cameron, but Cameron rebounded with two breaks of her own to finish off Khoury 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 to tie the match.

That’s when Rice held Lovett off on court No. 6 to finish off Elon’s second win of the season.

The match was originally scheduled for Friday, Feb. 14, but snow and ice on the ground forced the match to be postponed to Monday.

Elon’s next matches are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center against North Carolina A&T at 10 a.m. and Radford at 2 p.m.