WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – The University of Delaware women’s tennis team was stopped short of a Colonial Athletic Association Championship Saturday afternoon as top-seeded William & Mary handed the Blue Hens a 4-0 loss to finish their season at the CAA Semifinals, held at the Mille West Tennis Facility on the Tribe’s campus.

Delaware (12-6), which advanced to the semifinal with a first round win over Drexel Friday, was never able to gain footing against William & Mary (16-5) as the Tribe took immediate command of the match and never looked back.

William & Mary took the doubles point after victories in the top two spots.  The No. 1 tandem of the CAA Player of the Year, Maria Belaya, and the CAA Rookie of the Year, Leeza Nemchinov, defeated Delaware’s Nataliya Naumova and Christina Harrington, 8-2, while the Tribe’s No. 2 duo of Anik Cepeda and Hope Johnson followed with an 8-4 triumph over Danea Jonjic’ and Kim Milla, 8-4.

The Blue Hens looked to bounce back in the singles matches, but the Tribe posted three straight-set wins to close out the match.

Jeltje Loomans defeated Olivia Heim in No. 4 singles 6-2, 6-1 to give the Tribe a 2-0 advantage.  Heim finishes her junior season with an overall record of 15-10 while going 4-2 in the fourth flight. 

Jonjic’ was also unsuccessful in her attempt to get Delaware a point as she fell, 6-0, 6-1 to Belaya in No. 1 singles.  Jonjic’ wrapped up the season with a 17-12 record while going 14-10 in the top spot.

The Tribe’s Hope Johnson clinched the match with her No. 5 singles win over Harrington by a score of 6-1, 6-1.  Harrington, a sophomore for the Blue Hens, concluded the year with a mark of 5-4 overall while going 1-1 in No. 5 action.

Delaware finished the season with five 15-plus match winners on the squad in Carmen Lai (18-9), Dorothy Safron (17-10), Jonjic’ (17-12), Naumova (17-14) and Heim (15-10).

With the win, the Tribe advances to the CAA finals to square off against No. 2 UNCW at 10 a.m. Sunday with the victor earning the CAA’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.


William & Mary 4, Delaware 0

No. 1 - Maria Belaya (W&M) def. Danea Jonjic (Delaware), 6-0, 6-1
No. 2 – Leeza Nemchinov (W&M) vs. Dorothy Safron (Delaware), 6-3, 5-3 (did not finish)
No. 3 – Anik Cepeda (W&M) vs. Nataliya Naumova (Delaware), 6-6 (dnf)
No. 4 – Jeltje Loomans (W&M) def. Olivia Heim (Delaware), 6-2, 6-1
No. 5 – Hope Johnson (W&M) def. Christina Harrington (Delaware), 6-1, 6-1
No. 6 – Sydney Smith (W&M) vs. Kim Milla (Delaware), 6-0, 4-2 (dnf)
Finishing Order: 4, 1, 5*

No. 1 – Belaya/Nemchinov (W&M) def. Naumova/Harrington (Delaware), 8-2
No. 2 – Cepeda/Johnson (W&M) def. Jonjic/Milla (Delaware), 8-4
No. 3 – Loomans/Smith (W&M) vs. Safron/Heim (Delaware), 7-4 (dnf)
Finishing Order: 1, 2*