On Friday, the No. 1 North Carolina women’s tennis team (27-2, 12-1 ACC) hosted and defeated No. 16 seed Florida (21-7, 12-3 SEC), 4-0, in the NCAA Super Regionals to advance to its 11th Elite 8 appearance.
Competing at Cary Tennis Park, UNC made quick work of the doubles competition. By taking the doubles point, the Tar Heels gained an early 1-0 lead over the Gators. The doubles duo of first-year Carson Tanguilig and senior Alle Sanford were first to finish on court two, with a score of 6-1. The No. 2 doubles pair of junior Elizabeth Scotty and sophomore Fiona Crawley soon followed, defeating the No. 26 doubles team of first-year Alicia Dudeney and graduate student McCartney Kessler, 6-1.
Junior Anika Yarlagadda, competing on court six, was the first Tar Heel to win her singles match. Yarlagadda made quick work of Florida’s Emma Shelton, 6-0, 6-2, to record the win. No. 30 Elizabeth Scotty was soon to follow, defeating No. 81 Marlee Zein on court two in straight sets. Scotty's 6-1, 6-3 win put UNC up 3-0. No. 55 Fiona Crawley ended the match for UNC with her 6-4, 7-5 win on court four over junior Carly Briggs. Her victory gave UNC the win, 4-0.
The remaining singles matches all ended in an unfinished third set. Senior Cameron Morra, UNC’s top-ranked singles player at No. 5, split sets with No. 12 Kessler, 3-6, 6-2. Sophomore Reilly Tran, ranked No. 35, split sets with Dudeney, 3-6, 5-4. No. 51 Tanguilig split sets with sophomore Sara Dahlstrom, 6-7, 5-4.
Who stood out?
As has been the case all season, the doubles teams of Tanguilig/Sanford and Crawley/Scotty led the early charge for UNC. Both dominating the competition with 6-1 wins, these pairs captured an early 1-0 lead over Florida by earning the doubles point. This was essential to the Tar Heels’ momentum, allowing UNC to enter its singles matches with confidence.
In singles competition, Yarlagadda’s quick work of Shelton gave UNC a definitive 2-0 lead. At this point, it was only a matter of time until UNC’s highly-ranked singles players went to work against the Gators to capture the final two points needed.
When was it decided?
The match was decided by Crawley, when her straight-sets victory over Briggs gave UNC the win. The remaining three singles matches for UNC were much more competitive, all splitting the first two sets, making the timing of Crawley’s court four win even more crucial for the Tar Heels.
Why does it matter?
Friday’s win sends UNC to the host site of the NCAA Championships, where the Tar Heels will be one of the final eight teams competing. This win also marks UNC’s 11th Elite 8 appearance in program history. In Champaign, Ill., UNC will look to avenge last year’s semifinal loss to Pepperdine.
When do they play next?
UNC will advance to Champaign, Ill. to compete in the Elite 8. Competition will take place at the University of Illinois’ Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex. The NCAA Team Championship will take place May 20 through May 22.