Texas unable to beat Virginia despite strong play in doubles

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Despite playing well in doubles, the No. 21 Texas women’s tennis squad dropped this weekend’s matchup against No. 9 Virginia at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.

The Longhorns opened the day with an impressive 2-3 double victory over familiar opponents. Freshmen Lina Padegimaite and Noel Scott posted an 8-6 win over the Cavaliers’ Emily Fraser and Li Xi at first doubles, opponents the pair lost to last week. Second doubles was won in tiebreaker, as junior Aeriel Ellis and sophomore Cierra Gaytan-Leach narrowly beat Virginia’s Erin Vierra and Hana Tomljanovic, 9-8.

“We had great performances in doubles from our freshmen at No. 1 doubles,” said UT head coach Patty Fendick-McCain. “They came from way back to win the match. We lost to that doubles team [UVA’s Fraser and Xi] in the finals last week [at the National Collegiate Tennis Classic]. At No. 2, we were able to save a few match points to get that doubles point.”

Senior Krista Damico and sophomore Elizabeth Begley posted singles victories from the third and sixth spots respectively in two sets, but the Cavaliers rattled off four victories on the remaining courts to seal the deal.

“We had our opportunities in singles,” Fendick-McCain said. “Cierra [Gaytan-Leach] and Noel [Scott] had chances to get into third sets. Krista [Damico] competed well and played smart tennis. Aeriel [Ellis] had her chances in the first set. Elizabeth Begley was like a freight train out there. The match came down to Lina [Padegimaite]. She fought her heart out, but her opponent had a little more in the tank today. We prepared well and did everything we could to give ourselves an opportunity to win. We fell short, but we fought hard.”

Padegimaite, competing in the fifth spot, was out muscled in her sets 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 by Virginia’s Vierra.

Texas takes to the road again next weekend when it heads to Nashville, Tenn., for the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.