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Women's Tennis Guts Out 4-3 Win at ACC Foe Virginia Tech
Updated: Friday 02/09/2013 (ET)
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BLACKSBURG, Va. - For the fourth time in the last five matches, the William and Mary women's tennis found itself locked into a battle that came down to the final singles spot, and for the third time over that stretch, the Tribe pulled out the nailbiting 4-3 victory this time over instate foe Virginia Tech on Saturday afternoon. W&M rallied from a 3-1 deficit, including a pair of three-set victories from senior Anik Cepeda and junior Maria Belaya, to pull out the narrow victory. The Tribe ran its mark to 6-2, while handing the Hokies, who were coming off a 5-2 win over No. 41-ranked Minnesota, their first loss of the season in falling to 4-1.

After dropping the doubles point and following singles wins from junior Jeltje Loomans and freshman Leeza Nemchinov, the Tribe was down 3-2 with must-win tilts at the No. 1 and No. 5 positions, both in third sets. After easily winning the opening set, 6-1, Belaya headed to a third set at the top post after Virginia Tech's Ilinca Stoica reeled off five straight games in the second set to take it, 6-3. The Tribe junior regained the momentum in the third, winning the opening four games on the way to a 6-2 victory and pulling the Tribe even at three. Belaya moved to 10-8 overall and 4-4 at the top singles spot in dual-match play.

The balance of the match came down to a three-setter at the No. 5 post. Cepeda once again proved to be a clutch player for the Green and Gold. The Tribe senior took the opening set 6-4, before her Hokie counterpart Carol Kahoun forced a decisive third with a 6-3 win in the second. Cepeda would not be outdone, tough, rolling to a 6-1 third-set victory and clinching the Tribe win. She won for the ninth time in her last 12 matches, improving to 13-11 overall and 6-2 in dual-match play.

The Hokies opened the match by taking the doubles point in a tiebreaker. After the teams split the No. 1 and No. 2 positions, the Virginia Tech duo of Emily Lauten and Isel Martinez-Marcos outlasted Cepeda and junior Sydney Smith at the No. 3 post in a tiebreaker, 8-7 (5), to clinch the doubles point. The Green and Gold's top duo of Belaya and Loomans won its fourth straight at the No. 1 slot. The No. 3-ranked team in the country bounced the Virginia Tech team of Ilinca Stoica and Kelly Williford, 8-5, to improve to 15-2 on the year.

After Virginia Tech extended its lead to 2-0 with a win at the No. 6 spot, Loomans got the Tribe on the scoreboard with a straight-sets win at the No. 2 post. The Tribe junior ran her dual-match ledger to 6-2 with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Isel Martinez-Marcos. Loomans improved her overall mark to 7-4 on the year.

The Hokies again pushed the lead to 3-1 with a win at No. 4, before Nemchinov started the Tribe's three-straight wins to close out the match. The Tribe rookie won for the fourth time in her last five matches, downing Raluca Mita, 6-2, 6-4. Nemchinov improved to 12-9 overall and 6-2 in dual-match play, knocking off Mita who entered the match ranked No. 11 in the ITA Atlantic Region and at 12-4 on the year.

The Tribe returns home to open a four-match homestand with Big XII foe West Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m. W&M will face No. 30 South Carolina in Williamsburg on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 1 p.m. The College will face Penn and James Madison as part of a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 23, to close out the homestand. Fans can follow all Tribe home matches via live results at

#53 William and Mary 4, Virginia Tech 3

No. 1 - Maria Belaya (W&M) def. Ilinca Stoica (VT) - 6-1, 3-6, 6-2
No. 2 - Jeltje Loomans (W&M) def. Isel Martinez-Marcos (VT) - 6-4, 6-1
No. 3 - Leeza Nemchinov (W&M) def. Raluca Mita (VT) - 6-2, 6-4
No. 4 - #119 Kelly Williford (VT) def. Hope Johnson (W&M) - 6-3, 6-4
No. 5 - Anik Cepeda (W&M) def. Carol Kahoun (VT) - 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
No. 6 - Tea Ivanovic (VT) def. Sydney Smith (W&M) - 6-0, 6-1
Finishing Order: 6, 2, 4, 3, 1, 5*

No. 1 - #3 Belaya/Loomans (W&M) def. Stoica/Williford (VT) - 8-5
No. 2 - Kahoun/Mita (VT) def. Johnson/Nemchinov (W&M) - 8-2
No. 3 - Lauten/Martinez-Marcos (VT) def. Cepeda/Smith (W&M) - 8-7 (5)
Finishing Order: 2, 1, 3*

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