The No. 1 North Carolina women’s tennis team bounced back in dominant fashion against Virginia Tech on Sunday, earning a 7-0 win that came just one day after its first ACC loss of the season to Georgia Tech at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.
In doubles play, Alle Sanford and Marika Akkerman were the first to clinch their set, a 6-3 win. No. 2 Jessie Aney and Alexa Graham quickly followed with a 6-3 victory of their own, earning the day’s doubles point to jump ahead 1-0. Makenna Jones and Sara Daavettila’s doubles match did not finish.
“Our doubles was not pretty at all,” head coach Brian Kalbas said. “We had to grind some points out, and we were able to do that. If you lose the doubles point, you can’t really have one off match (in singles).”
Singles matches turned out to be much of the same for the Tar Heels (17-2, 6-1 ACC). Graham opened up singles scoring with an impressive 6-1, 6-3 win, bringing her spring record to a still-perfect 18-0.
Next to finish was No. 18 Jones, who pitched in with a ho-hum 6-2, 6-3 win. The match was Jones’ first time this season playing on Court One for North Carolina — a spot formerly occupied by No. 20 Sanford.
“I actually didn't know until right before I was going to go on the court, so I didn’t really have a ton of time to prepare,” Jones said. “In situations like that, I try to take it the same as I’ve been before and not be like, ‘This is so much bigger,’ because I feel like that would be more pressure and cause unnecessary thoughts. So I kind of just do what I’ve been doing and it'll be good enough, and go out there and play.”
Additional wins were provided by Chloe Ouellet-Pizer, 6-3, 6-3; Daavettila, 7-5, 6-1; Aney, 7-5, 6-2; and Sanford, who won 6-4 before dropping North Carolina’s only set of the day, 6-3. Sanford would go on to win the tiebreaker to complete the Tar Heel shutout.
The team was able to overcome fatigue and adversity in the win, playing matches in two consecutive days — which is unusual in ACC play.
When asked about overcoming the back to back, Daavettila kept it simple: “Usually we take ice baths after the matches, and just make sure we get a good dinner and a lot of rest. That’s pretty much all we can do.”