After pulling off back-to-back wins against Oregon and Texas during the ITA Kick-Off weekend, the No. 2 North Carolina women’s tennis team traveled to Orlando, Florida, build their momentum with a 4-0 victory over No. 12 Texas Tech.After pulling off back-to-back wins against Oregon and Texas during the ITA Kick-Off weekend, the No. 2 North Carolina women’s tennis team traveled to Orlando, Florida, build their momentum with a 4-0 victory over No. 12 Texas Tech.
Doubles competition yielded mixed results for the Tar Heels. Senior Hayley Carter and first-year Sara Daavettila were dominant in their matchup with Red Raiders senior Lynn Kiro and sophomore Alex Valenstein, as they cruised to an easy 6-2 victory. Redshirt-senior Rachael James-Baker and sophomore Chloe Ouelett-Pizer were not as fortunate, as they fell 6-4 against the Texas Tech duo of sophomore Felicity Maltby and junior Gabriela Talaba.
The battle for the doubles point ultimately came down between combination of sophomore Jessie Aney and junior Cassandra Vasquez, and the Red Raiders duo of juniors Sarah Dvorak and Sabrina Federici. Both sides battled hard, but Aney and Vasquez managed to pull ahead of the Red Raiders and won their match 6-4, obtaining North Carolina’s first point of the game.
From there, the Tar Heels battles for singles-play wins to complete the sweep of Texas Tech.
Who stood out?
Daavettila and Carter proved to be the standouts of doubles and singles competition. The two worked well together in order to outplay their opponents and secure an easy victory. In singles play, Carter showed her strength by defeating opponent Talaba 6-1 in the first set. Daavettila was also strong against her opponent Maltby, but the Red Raiders began to improve their performance and tighten the matches as singles play progressed.
When was it decided?
First-year Alexa Graham had the easiest match in singles competition, as she bested her opponent Alex Valenstein 6-3 and 6-4 respectively to put the Tar Heels up 2-0. The rest of the team struggled to fight off the hard-charging Red Raiders, and the final two game-clinching points came down to the performances of Daavettila and Carter. Both struggled to pull away in their respective second sets, yet they managed to obtain the wins they needed to give the Tar Heels a 4-0 victory.
Why does it matter?
The matchup against Texas Tech marked the final game before the ITA National Team Indoor Championship, and the performance exhibited by the Tar Heels cemented the team as an early favorite for the title. The Tar Heels battled hard for four consecutive days in the tournament in the 2015-16 season, but ultimately came up short with a 3-4 loss against California. The Tar Heels are hoping to avenge their loss from last season and improve on their current weak spots as ACC play draws nearer.
Where do they play next?
The ITA National Team Indoor Championship will take place in New Haven, Connecticut from Feb. 10 to Feb. 13. The field for the championship has yet to be announced, but it is expected that the Tar Heels will have another tough group of competitors to face if they want a shot at claiming the championship.
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