So the high school graduate from Edmondson, Australia, grabbed her tennis racket, said goodbye to her family -- which included her father, who coached her since she started seriously playing the sport -- and traveled through Europe, competing in a few tournaments.
Just as Pinchbeck started to realize this wasn't the life she had dreamed of, North Carolina women's tennis coach Roland Thornqvist contacted her.
That was three years ago.
Since then, the rising senior has found her niche on the UNC tennis team, and despite some setbacks, she continues to rise into the national spotlight.
Pinchbeck, who came into the season ranked 14th, finished with a record of 29-3 during the quarterfinals of the individual NCAA women's tennis championships on May 23. She lost to No. 1 seed Bea Bielik of Wake Forest, 6-2, 6-4.
"I knew it was going to be tough," Pinchbeck said. "I really did think I could do it because I was playing really well."
Pinchbeck chuckled as she recalled the intensity of the match, which pinned the 5-foot-2 athlete against Wake Forest's 6-foot junior Bea Bielik. "My serve was definitely not the weapon that hers was," she said. "I wasn't overly frustrated because I was still playing really well."
UNC coach Jen Callen said Pinchbeck, one of the team's captains, played a crucial role in the team's success this year. "She gets all the credit for this year because she has worked so hard and she was a great player last year," she said. "But I think that this year she started to realize her true potential and was more confident."
Pinchbeck attributed her success to the growth she's experienced both as a player and as a student at UNC. She says this season, especially with last year's change of head coaches from Thornqvist to Callen, gave the team an opportunity to meld.