It was a disappointing day on Saturday for Elon tennis at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center. Both the men and women played in semifinal matches at the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament, and unfortunately, both saw their seasons come to a close.
The second-seeded men began earlier in the day and faced UNC Wilmington, the third seed. Elon saw their only win in the doubles portion of the match come from juniors Felipe Sarrasague and Taylor Foote, who won 6-4. But that left Elon down one point heading into singles play.
Junior Felipe Osses-Konig beat his opponent in straight sets (6-4, 6-0), but that was the last win Elon got as freshman Kyle Frankel (4-6, 1-6), Sarrasague (4-6, 2-6), and freshman Camilo Ponce (3-6, 4-6) all lost the next three matches to end the 2018 campaign.
Then the women took the court to face off with top-seeded William and Mary in the early afternoon. The Phoenix had a strong start and won the doubles portion, something they have had a hard time doing this season.
“We’ve struggled all season long. We’ve lost some doubles points we should not have lost, and for a long time, we were doubting ourselves in doubles. We didn’t believe in ourselves, and we had to rely heavily on our singles play,” senior Erica Braschi said. “However, we knew William and Mary is a tough singles team. We knew were capable of winning the doubles point. We just had to go out there and believe it.”
All three doubles matches went into tiebreakers, and neither the Phoenix nor the Tribe were able to pull ahead, but the seniors Olivia Lucas and Erica Braschi (7-6, 7-2 in the tiebreaker) were able to secure the final point and give Elon a 2-0 win in doubles.
“Doubles was really exciting to watch,” said women’s head coach Elizabeth Anderson. “I don’t know that we have had any doubles matches where all three of the courts went to the tiebreaker.”
After that, it was back and forth all day for the women. The singles portion got off to a rocky start, seeing only junior Maria Paraja (6-2, 6-3) be able to pull off a victory. Elon stayed tough as they battled for the rest of the match.
“We played our best tennis in this tournament, and we played our hearts out today," Anderson said. "William and Mary has a very good team … they play well, but we took them just about as far as we can take them.”
After Paraja won her match, Elon needed to win both of the final two games. Junior Suzanne Zenoni gave her opponent, junior Clara Tanielian, all she could handle. Zenoni lost the first set 3-6 before she was able to take the second set 6-2. In the deciding set, it was Tanielian who secured the win for the Tribe, leaving Braschi’s match unfinished.
“It’s definitely heartbreaking, but I couldn’t ask for a better culmination to my college tennis career," Braschi said. "My team, they bought into it, they believed in themselves today, and they left it all out on the court.”
They say that there’s no place like home, and for the Phoenix, that rang true today even if they weren’t able to advance.
“The crowd was awesome,” Anderson said. “We appreciate everyone coming out and supporting our team. That definitely helped us a lot to get going and get our momentum. It was beautiful to play here … it has been a privilege to play here.”
“You could not have asked for more energy. It definitely benefited us. It pumped us up,” Braschi said. “We used our home court advantage in our favor, and it helped us get further than we thought we could.”
Saturday marked the end of a 14-13 season for the women’s team, and they have finished with 10 or more wins in a season for 12 straight years. The men’s team finished 16-8 this year.