As No. 21 UNC junior Fiona Crawley walked off stadium court at Cary Tennis Park, she had every right to feel confident.
“We're already making Carolina history," she said.
After slamming LSU’s No. 24 ranked Kylie Collins 6-3, 6-2 in the final round of the ITA Women's All-American singles championship, Crawley became only the second UNC women's tennis player to ever attain the title. Not only was she the first Tar Heel to achieve this feat since Jaime Loeb in 2013, but in doing so, she has successfully cemented her place as the leader of North Carolina's women's tennis team.
“Winning this tournament is just a great accomplishment for her, so [I’m] really proud of her,” head coach Brian Kalbas said.
Crawley started off fall play with a bang — clinching the singles title at the Fall Ranked Spotlight at the end of September. This week's victories contribute to an outstanding singles record of over 90 wins and only 8 losses in her time at North Carolina.
“This program, it means so much to me and I love my coaches and my team so much," Crawley said. "Every time that I wear Carolina (blue) I just try to represent it for what it is, which is incredible. I hope that everybody can have the college experience that I'm having."
Throughout the week-long tournament, Crawley played with poise and maturity — only dropping one singles set out of the 11 that she competed in. In the final round, she set a dominant tone from the start, winning every point in the first game.
After the first game, Crawley and Collins appeared evenly matched, and each point was defined by long, fast-paced rallies. Ultimately, Crawley's consistency and even-tempered mentality allowed her to gain the upper hand as she forced Collins to repeatedly make accuracy errors.
However, Crawley was not the only North Carolina player who stood out this week, as three out of four players in the singles semifinals were Tar Heels. Senior Anika Yarlagadda, who was unranked coming into the tournament, also turned in a commanding performance.