The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday January 30th

Move Indoors Aids Women's Tennis Win

UNC (10-3, 1-0 in the ACC) won the match

6-1 after winning the doubles point and four three-set matches.

There was not a cloud in the sky when Julie Rotondi's 6-1, 6-2 victory gave UNC its first singles point, but with the Tar Heels leading 2-1, it began to rain.

And the forecast for the Tar Heels was bleak.

Marlene Mejia, the team's top player, was in the midst of her second set. She had already lost the first set to Florida State's Alida Gallovits, who surged back from a 5-4 deficit.

Kate Pinchbeck was beginning her third set in a tumultuous match against Samantha Schoeffel.

On the lower courts, Kristin Koenig and Kendrick Bunn had each lost their first sets.

With one set won out of the four remaining matches, UNC moved the competition indoors.

UNC coach Roland Thornqvist said the move improved the team's morale. He said it gave the other players a chance to get more involved in their teammates' matches.

"I told the girls who weren't playing to get out there more and cheer," Thornqvist said. "I think the girls who played inside really fed off that."

Mejia agreed that her confidence improved once she was inside.

Mejia said she was frustrated by her inability to take advantage of a great start in the first set, which allowed her opponent to gain momentum.

"Once we got inside I settled into my game and started playing better and more efficiently," she said.

With added foot speed and better judgement of her shots in the backcourt, Mejia finished Gallovits off 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

On center court, Kate Pinchbeck continued battling against Schoeffel.

Pinchbeck coached herself through the final set, reminding herself to keep focused and play smart.

"I knew that eventually I was the steadier player," Pinchbeck said. "I just had to wait out her good shots."

Indeed, her opponent did have outbursts of powerful play, but they ended as quickly as they began.

In the first set, Schoeffel recovered from being down 5-0 to pull within 5-4. After that scoring streak, Schoeffel quieted down, and Pinchbeck held serve to win the first set.

Schoeffel won the second set 6-2 in another spasm of strong play.

But in the third set Pinchbeck fought back hard. Her accuracy and agility were as piercing to Schoeffel's spotty game as the lightning was to the gray skies outside.

Pinchbeck, now 7-1 in her last eight singles matches, defeated Schoeffel 6-4 with a series of shots that grazed the lines and were too close for Schoeffel to call out.

The clinching win belonged to Bunn, who took the final two sets and picked up the victory 3-6,

6-3, 6-1.

Koenig also won her last two sets to end the match 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Thornqvist said he was pleased with the team's comeback. Just 10 days before, the Tar Heels had lost four three-set matches to Tennessee.

But Thornqvist wasn't surprised. He said there is a reason that his team is usually on the winning side in long matches.

"They do a good job fighting and they play smart," Thornqvist said. "Those are the two ingredients you need in a long match. You need to have a lot of heart, and you need to play smart. And that's what we do."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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