In the first match for the ITA Kickoff Weekend, the No. 2 North Carolina women’s tennis team (8-0) bested Maryland (3-1), 4-0, on Friday afternoon in Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.
Each UNC doubles team faced a close battle to open the match. No. 1 junior Fiona Crawley and sophomore Carson Tanguilig defeated Maryland's Marta Perez Mur and Minorka Miranda by a score of 6-4 to win UNC’s first match. No. 5 graduate student Abbey Forbes and No. 48 junior Reilly Tran clinched the doubles point soon after with their own 6-4 victory over Selma Cadar and Mary Brumfield.
Only one Tar Heel lost their first set in singles. Singles victories by No. 58 senior Elizabeth Scotty, Tran and Crawley ended the match and earned the Tar Heels their final three team points.
Tran was the first UNC player to finish her match with a decisive 6-1, 6-0 victory over Brumfield on court six — bringing North Carolina out to a 2-0 lead over the Terrapins.
Crawley dominated her matchup against Maryland’s senior Selma Cadar, only giving up a total of two games in both sets in her 100th career win as a Tar Heel. Shortly thereafter, Scotty clinched the match point with a score of 6-2, 6-3.
Who stood out?
Tran’s victories in doubles and singles were key to the outcome of the match. During the opening games of the match-up, Tran and Forbes pulled away with an early lead. When Maryland began to gain momentum, the duo found a way to finish out the set and secure the doubles point for the Tar Heels.
With Scotty and first-year Reese Brantmeier in the middle of a tough tiebreak, and No. 8 Tanguilig battling it out against Perez Mur, the timing of the Tran/Forbes victory allowed UNC to scrape by with the team point.
In singles, Tran never allowed her opponent to gain momentum and only gave up one total match point in both sets.
When was it decided?
On court five, Scotty’s win ultimately decided the match in favor of UNC.
Why does it matter?
With Friday’s win, the North Carolina team continues its hot start and extends its win streak to eight.
The Tar Heels are three-time defending champions of the ITA Kickoff Weekend, which determines who advances to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in February. The Tar Heels will advance to the weekend’s championship match tomorrow to defend their title.
Friday was the first test of the season for UNC's doubles teams. In the first seven games of the season, the Tar Heels dominated the doubles matches, rarely dropping more than 2 games in a set. Against Maryland, all three doubles pairs faced highly contested matches.
Surviving this test and securing the doubles point allowed the team to get off to a strong start and assisted the eventual win.
When do they play next?
UNC will return Saturday for the championship match at 3:30 p.m. to face off against Charlotte.
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