The No. 1 North Carolina women’s tennis team (32-1) defeated the No. 16 Florida Gators (18-8) 4-1 on Friday at Chewning Tennis Center, and will advance to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.
In a hard-fought battle for the doubles point, UNC fell short, only winning one of three doubles matches.
Sophomore Carson Tanguilig and senior Elizabeth Scotty struggled to find rhythm early in their match-up, falling 3-6 and giving Florida an early advantage. On court three, first-year Reese Brantmeier and junior Reilly Tran won a key breakpoint to go up 4-3. The pair did not relent their lead for the remainder of the match, tying up the score for the doubles point with a 6-3 win.
After struggling early against No. 21 pair sophomores Alicia Dudeney and Bente Spee, UNC graduate student Abbey Forbes and junior Fiona Crawley changed up their strategy. With a focus on hitting lob shots and slowing down the pace of the match, Forbes and Crawley earned a 5-3 lead.
However, the UNC team struggled to finish out the match, making costly mistakes and hitting long returns that allowed Florida to force a tie-break.
Forbes and Crawley’s mistakes continued to plague them in the tie-break, and the pair fell 4-7. To remain in the tournament, the Tar Heels needed to win four singles matches to overcome the early deficit.
With their tournament hopes on the line, Brantmeier and Tran put up the first two singles points, with senior Anika Yarlagadda following quickly behind. Minutes later, Crawley clinched the match with 6-2, 6-3 win.