Belaya, Aita Fall In NCAA Singles Championship
William & Mary junior Maria Belaya and UNCW junior Rafael Aita both suffered first-round losses at the NCAA Single Championship.
Belaya fell to No. 20-ranked Kyle McPhillips of UCLA, 6-1, 6-1, in the opening round. McPhillips won her 14th straight match, improving to 34-8 on the year, and earned a spot in the second round where she will face the winner of No. 9-16 seed Petra Niedermayerova from Kansas State and No. 25-ranked Kristie Ahn of Stanford.
Belaya, who was ranked as high as No. 116 nationally, finished the season at 21-13, including a pair of wins over national top-60 opponents. The Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year, Belaya earned a bid to the 64-player national tournament as the automatic bid from the CAA, becoming the 20th different Tribe player on the 32nd occasion to compete in the event.
Aita’s fell, 7-6 (11-9), 6-2, to Dennis Novikov of top-ranked UCLA in the singles portion of the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships.
Aita, ranked 54th by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, became the first Seahawk player to earn an invitation to the NCAA’s national singles draw and acquitted himself well at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the University of Illinois
The Lima, Peru, native and Novikov were deadlocked at 6-all in the first set when the match was moved indoors due to inclement weather in the area. Novikov then fought off three set points to claim the tie-breaker, 11-9, before breaking early in the second set and advancing to the Round of 32.
“It was a very tough loss for Rafael,” said Mait DuBois, UNCW’s sixth-year head coach. “He showed that he can play with top-10 players. This experience will help him a lot in the long run.”
Aita, the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Player-of-the-Year, finished the spring with a 16-6 singles record.