The Tar Heels continued to power through their competition on Saturday, beating sixth-seeded Texas Tech, 4-1, in the quarterfinals. Doubles were vital once again for UNC, as all three courts had the same winning score of 6-4. No. 20 Sanford and Daavettila finished first, and the Red Raiders quickly answered with a win on Court Three. The win from No. 30 sophomore Alexa Graham and Aney edged UNC into the lead as the team headed into singles.
No. 78 Graham finished first, keeping her perfect record of 8-0 in dual matches with a 6-0, 6-1, victory. No. 6 Sanford fell to No. 13 Gabriela Talaba on Court One, but this was Texas Tech’s only win of the day. No. 52 Daavettila sealed the win with scores of 6-3, 6-4. This was the only victory for the Tar Heels during the tournament that wasn’t determined by a three-set win.
On Sunday, UNC faced its rival, seventh-seeded Duke (6-1) during the semifinals and came out victorious by a score of 4-1. Doubles proved to be tricky again; however, the Tar Heels doubles record was still in pristine condition as No. 30 Aney/Graham and No. 20 Daavettila/Sanford both won 6-4.
The Blue Devils won the first singles point as No. 106 Meible Chi defeated No. 21 Aney 6-2, 6-4. UNC answered with two straight set wins by No. 52 Daavettila and No. 78 Graham. The three final matches each went three sets. No. 10 Jones’ win of 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 sent the Tar Heels to the title match against Pepperdine.
For the fourth time in five seasons, the Tar Heels entered familiar territory by making the final. The Waves did not have that luxury in the title match, as it was their first appearance in program history.
North Carolina remained perfect in doubles for the spring season with wins on Court One (7-5) and Court Three (6-2) after the Waves won the first doubles match 6-2 on Court Two. No. 6 Pepperdine quickly leveled the playing field to 1-1 once singles started, after No. 10 Jones was defeated 6-0, 6-2.
No. 78 Graham continued her perfect play with another straight set win, 6-4, 6-3, on Court Four. She finished the tournament by winning all four matches and is 10-0 this season. No. 52 Daavettila battled her way through a 7-5, 6-2, win over No. 20 Mayar Sherif Ahmed.
No. 27 Ashley Lahey brought the Waves back by outlasting No. 6 Sanford in three sets with scores of 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. North Carolina led 3-2 with all eyes on No. 21 Aney on Court Five, and senior Chloe Ouellet-Pizer on Court Six. Both Tar Heels marched through three-set matches. Ouellet-Pizer went 0-6 during the first set but battled back in the second to win 7-6. Her third set was grueling, the opponents going back and forth.
While Ouellet-Pizer continued to battle, Aney faced an uphill battle of her own. She won her first set 6-3, but fell 4-6 in the second.
While the two Tar Heels played side by side, it was Aney who sealed the Tar Heel’s fate, ultimately bringing home the team’s first championship since 2015, after it finished as runner-up in 2016 and 2017.
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