Women’s Tennis Earns First Round Bye in A-10s

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As the A-10s approach, Fordham Women’s Tennis lock down a bye. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Lou Orlando, Staff Writer

The announcement that former Fordham Men’s Tennis head coach Mike Sowter would be taking over the women’s team garnered hope and anticipation for a successful season. Clearly, such feelings were warranted. In Sowter’s inaugural year with the team, Fordham Women’s Tennis clinched the #2 seed in the Atlantic 10 (A-10)  and a first round bye in the A-10 tournament. 

Fordham closed out the regular season with two strong weekend wins. On April 16, the Rams traveled to Rhode Island for their final A-10 matchup of the regular season. Coming off a win the previous weekend against Davidson College, Fordham notched their second straight win against an A-10 opponent, defeating the University of Rhode Island 5-2. Fordham won the first two doubles matches, with the final match going unfinished, to secure the doubles point. Graduate student Carlota Casasampere-Escoda, senior Valeriya Deminova, junior Rachelle Yang and sophomore Eleni Fasoula all won their singles matches in a decisive road victory for Fordham. The match marked the last of a six match road trip, one Fordham emerged from 4-2. 

Fordham concluded their regular season the following Saturday on a high note, shutting out New Jersey City University 7-0. Senior Genevieve Quenville and freshman Lorraine Bergmann were paired in doubles play for the first time this season, winning their match and helping to secure the doubles point. Quenville and Bergmann also notched victories in singles play alongside Fasoula, Casasampere-Escoda, Yang and senior Nicole Li. 

The regular season was a resounding success. At 12-4, it’s the team’s best regular season since 2016-17, when Fordham went 18-3. It’s worth noting that the team lost in the semifinals that year, one match away from the A-10 championship. After a modest 3-2 start, Fordham turned on the heat, going 9-2 during the final two months of the season. 

The Rams head into the playoffs with momentum, riding a four match win streak that proved instrumental in securing a first round bye. Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) remained atop the A-10 standings for much of the regular season, but lost two of their final three matches to finish 15-6. The University of Massachusetts (UMass) surged into first place behind six straight wins, one of which came against Fordham, finishing the year with an A-10 best .790 winning percentage. 

The Women’s Tennis A-10 Championship begins on Wednesday, April 27, with the first round matchups. The Rams only played three conference matches this season, defeating #6 Davidson and #11 Rhode Island while falling to #1 UMass. Fordham will play their first tournament match on Thursday, April 28 at 5:30 p.m. They will play the winner of #7 Duquesne (11-9) and #10 Richmond (7-10). If they advance to the quarterfinals, they would play the winner of #3 VCU and the #6/#11 first round matchup. In total, Fordham would need to win four matches to win the A-10 championship, something that has never been accomplished in the program’s history. With a first round bye and long stretches of dominance throughout the regular season, the Rams have put themselves in an excellent position to make a run.