Despite having to readjust to the indoor game after three matches under the sun, No. 1 UNC made quick work of Virginia Tech. The undefeated Tar Heels started hot and stayed that way, receiving strong contributions from the back end of the lineup en route to a sweep of the Hokies in Chapel Hill on Sunday, to push UNC's win total to 16 on the season.
The young duo of first-year Elizabeth Scotty and sophomore Cameron Morra started off doubles play with a swift win for UNC (6-1), which was punctuated in the final game by a spike at the net from each of the two women that their opponents could only watch go soaring over their heads off the bounce.
A few minutes later, seniors Sara Daavetilla and Alexa Graham won their match in eight games to earn the doubles point for the Tar Heels.
First-year Anika Yarlagadda blew through her opponent, 6-0, 6-2, to finish the first singles match.
While Daavetilla dominated her singles match in straight sets (6-1, 6-3), her doubles partner struggled early. Graham dropped 3-0 in the first set, but she quickly turned the match around, tying the set at 3-3. After dropping a fourth game, she won three in a row to capture the first set, 6-4. She then won the second set 6-3 to secure the fourth win and the victory for the Tar Heels.
Who stood out?
In her first year of action for the Tar Heels, Yarlagadda has had her share of struggles. Her previous two matches both went to three sets, and she won one, against Virginia.
In her singles match on Court Five, away from the eyes of most of the crowd and even her head coach, the Michigan native quickly settled in. She won her first ten games on the day and dropped just two games overall on her way to a 6-0, 6-2 victory, giving UNC a 2-0 lead long before any other singles match would finish.
When was it decided?
The first set of each in each of the six singles matches went in the Tar Heels’ favor. Morra was on the verge of closing out her match (6-3, 5-2, unfinished) when Graham picked up UNC’s deciding win. Junior Alle Sanford and first-year Kacie Harvey each had a set to their name in their own matches. As some of the top players struggled early in their matches, the back half of the singles lineup picked up the slack for the Tar Heels to secure quick wins in their first sets. If Graham hadn’t won her match so soon, others certainly would have closed it out for UNC.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels’ home winning streak now sits at 32 matches after they secured their fourth win in ACC play and 16th win overall. They demonstrated why they are the top ranked team in the country with a dominant performance in a conference tilt.
When do they play next?
Sunday’s match served as a tune-up for an important home matchup with fellow top-10 squad and ACC foe Georgia Tech Friday afternoon in Chapel Hill.
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