Women lose to top seeded VCU

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The women’s tennis team saw their season come to an end in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament in Orlando, Florida. After defeating St. Joseph’s and Davidson, top seed VCU bested the Billikens, 4-1.

In the first round of the tournament, No. 5 SLU faced No. 12 St. Joe’s on April 26. The women had no problem sweeping the Hawks, 4-0. In doubles, seniors Eleonore Tchakarova and Verginie Tchakarova defeated Claire Minnoe and Alex Zachem, 6-2. Sophomore Ally McKenzie and freshman Cassie McKenzie downed their competition, Sarah Contrata and Katherine Devlin, 6-1.

With the doubles point in hand, the women took three of four singles victories to end the match. Senior Aspen Cervin won at the top spot, 6-3, 6-0, against Minnoe. Verginie Tchakarova took the victory at the third spot over Isis Gill-Reid, 6-0, 6-2. Finally, Ally McKenzie took care of business at the fourth spot, 6-1, 6-0, over Zachem.

The quarter-finals proved to be more of a challenge for the Bills. SLU had to fight win four singles matches in a row.

Cervin was victorious over Anna Catharine Feast, 6-1, 7-5. Eleonore Tchakarova won in the second spot, 6-3, 7-5, against Megan Scholvinck. Verginie Tchakarova destroyed her competitor, Gabrielle Centenari, 6-0, 6-1. Finally, Cassie McKenzie finished the job with a win at the fifth spot over Ava Todd, 7-5, 6-1.

SLU had strong momentum in their favor rolling into the semifinal match, but the VCU Rams proved to be a tough top seed to crack, downing the Billikens, 4-1.Previously, VCU has won four consecutive A-10 titles, pining for their fifth in 2017.

SLU was unable to find success in doubles play, and VCU continued to dominate in singles. Verginie Tchakarova earned the sole win for SLU at the third spot, 6-1, 6-1, over Magda Aubets.

The Bills finished the season with a 16-8 record. In the A-10, the women were 2-3 in the regular season. Their strongest asset was their home advantage, as they posted a 9-1 record at Forest Park.

This season, the Tchakarova sisters and doubles partners set the school record for most doubles wins, with 26 each, breaking the previous mark made in 1997. The three seniors, Cervin and the Tchakarova sisters, have certainly made their mark at SLU.