Friday’s match between the Runnin’ Bulldogs (7-11, 2-6 Big South) and the Highlanders (6-11, 3-4 Big South) was moved back to 4:00 p.m. and relocated to Blacksburg, Va. on the campus of Virginia Tech.
During doubles, Lunde/White improved to 15-3 on the year at No. 1 singles, knocking off Radford’s Hana Babic/Gemma Valls by an 8-1 margin. The duo has won seven consecutive matches at No. 1 doubles, giving GWU great play at the top of its lineup during the all-important doubles point.
Radford, which won by default at No. 3 doubles and by an 8-4 score at No. 2 thanks to the efforts of Meg Napolitano/Taylor Newman.
The Highlanders, up 1-0 after doubles play, were put under fire by a relentless Runnin’ Bulldog squad. Down 2-0 after Radford’s No. 6 singles win by default, GWU got key wins at the No. 1 and No. 3 singles positions from White and Lunde, respectively.
White, a senior from Charleston, W.Va., grabbed her seventh straight singles win at the No. 1 spot by defeating Newman 6-0, 6-3. Lunde (Oslo, Norway) followed with a No. 3 singles win, as the junior cruised by the Highlanders’ Babic by a 6-1, 6-0 score.
With the match even at 2-2, Radford countered with a win at No. 4 singles from Napolitano, who improved to 2-0 on the day.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs showed no quit, continuing to fight back with a No. 5 singles win from freshman Rokia Sacko. The Montreal, Canada native outlasted the Highlanders’ Taylor Fay 6-2, 6-3, to once again even the scoring, tied at 3-3.
The match would come down to the No. 2 singles spot. Radford’s Gemma Valla edged Yasmin Doost during a close first set and was able to hang on late to score a 7-5, 6-3 triumph and give the Highlanders the win.
The last three matches between the two teams, dating back to last year's No. 4 - No. 5 matchup in the Big South Tournament, have ended in 4-3 wins for the Highlanders.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs’ singles play stood out on Friday. The match versus Radford marked the fifth time in the last six matches that GWU has won at least three singles matches, an impressive percentage with only five positions being played by the Runnin’ Bulldogs during that stretch.
Key during that stretch has been Erica White’s play. The senior, now 15-3 in singles play on the year, has not lost either a singles or doubles match since March 16. She and Jenny Lunde are 7-1 in Big South play at No. 1 doubles, and No. 5 singles player Rokia Sacko has now won four consecutive singles matches.
Gardner-Webb turns around for its final Big South match of the 2013 regular season on Sunday, April 7. The Runnin’ Bulldogs host Longwood at 1:00 p.m.