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The Daily Tar Heel

No. 1 UNC women's tennis advances to NCAA Quarterfinals after win over Florida

UNC first-year Reese Brantmeier hitting the ball during a match against the Florida State University Seminoles at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center on Friday, March 31, 2023. The Tar Heels won 6-1.

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. 

What happened?

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. 

Who stood out? 

Brantmeier excelled in both doubles and singles on Friday. 

Replacing Crawley at the No. 1 singles spot for the team, Brantmeier dictated the pace of her match and put the first point on the scoreboard with a 6-3, 6-1 victory.  Making big serves and hitting well-placed returns allowed the first-year to win the 2-2 breakpoint in the first set of her singles match and dominate the rest of her match-up. 

When was it decided?

Crawley’s match officially decided the outcome in North Carolina’s favor, but the team’s overall singles dominance never allowed the Gators to build significant momentum. 

After falling in the tie-breaker for doubles, Crawley struggled in the opening game of her singles match-up, and she did not score a single point in the first game. However, the North Carolina junior quickly found her rhythm and focused on cross-court shots to wear down her opponent. 

Why does it matter?

Overcoming the loss in the doubles point was the key for UNC to survive the round. The Tar Heels won every first set, refusing to back down after the early deficit.

For the 12th time in program history, North Carolina advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament and the Tar Heels maintained a perfect record at home. 

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will travel to Orlando, Florida for the quarterfinals on May 17 to take on the winner of No. 9 Pepperdine and No. 8 Texas, who play at 10 a.m. on May 13.


@dthsports |

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