Women’s Tennis Defeats Wagner in Fall Home Opener

Michael Sowter earned his first win as women’s tennis head coach in their commanding showing against Wagner College as the fall sampling already nears its end.


Deminova remains a key place the Rams will look toward in the full season this spring. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

After seeing some positive signs at the Northeast Championships to start the season, Michael Sowter and Fordham Women’s Tennis have their first win of the fall season, 6–1 over Wagner College. The Rams sit at a positive 1–0 win as Wagner falls below .500 in the early going at 1–2.

The Rams were expected to play two matches in the Bronx the weekend of Oct. 9 and 10, but they had their Sunday matinee against St. Francis College at Brooklyn canceled. Fordham then honed in on the Seahawks, picking them apart en route to the controlling victory.

Junior Avery Aude fell at first singles, but the Rams won all five of the other matches there before seizing the doubles point as well. Fidan Khalilzade defeated Aude, 6–2, 6–4, but senior Valeriya Deminova emerged a 7–5 winner in her first set before blanking Gabrielle Perraudin 6–0 in the second. 

Preceding those two as finishers, however, were sophomore Eleni Fasoula and impact newcomer Carlotta Casasampere. They finished with scores of 6–3, 6–0 and 6–2, 6–1 respectively. Rounding out the winning circle were senior Nicole Li and junior Rachelle Yang at the five and six spots.

Li picked up another straight set victory with an even 6–1, 6–1 as Yang downed Ysabella Yaula Pu 7–5, 6–1 to seal the deal at singles.

Shifting over to doubles, Fordham had no troubles there. Coach Sowter reconfigured the team’s organization from the Northeast Championships to great success. Casasampere and Aude combined to form a powerhouse duo and defeat the Wagner pairing of Samantha Lugtu and Perraudin, 6–0. Yang and Fasoula then claimed the lone doubles point with a 6–3 victory before Li and Deminova won the toughest match of the trio, 7–5.

With only one match completed this weekend, Fordham’s fall campaign will have a much smaller sample size than usual. There is only one more match to go, as the Rams host once again at this weekend’s Fordham Invitational. 

Following that comes a long hiatus until the winter season begins on Jan. 29 against the University of Connecticut. It is a familiar schedule, featuring conference opponents such as Davidson College and the University of Rhode Island along with yearly bouts against Marist College and Quinnipiac University. 

Women’s Tennis has a number of familiar pieces too, though Sowter will have a long journey ahead, not just this season but in those that follow, figuring out how he will best incorporate them into his system. Even with just two match weekends to show for it, that process is already well underway.