ORLANDO, Fla. – The No. 1 North Carolina women’s tennis team (34-1) defeated the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (26-5) 4-0 in the NCAA Semifinals on Friday.
Ending their doubles drought, UNC earned the team doubles point. Junior Fiona Crawley and graduate student Abbey Forbes outlasted long rallies and won out in key deuce points to pull away with a decisive 6-1 win. Clinching the point, on court two, senior Elizabeth Scotty and sophomore Carson Tanguilig dominated at the net and serve to grab a 6-2 victory.
For singles play, No. 8 first-year Reese Brantmeier and No. 1 Crawley came out hot, picking up a quick first set. A persistent, unrelenting Crawley prevented her opponent from gaining any momentum, and she became the first UNC singles player to finish with a final score of 6-1, 6-2.
Despite a contested second set, Brantmeier pushed through to win a key breakpoint at 4-4. With that momentum, the first-year exited victorious with a 6-2, 6-4 win. Sending UNC to the championship title game, Scotty’s 6-4, 6-4 singles win clinched the match victory.
Who stood out?
In doubles, Forbes was a quick point-getter at the net, allowing the North Carolina No. 1-seed to win every deuce point. She continued to hold her ground in the backcourt, switching up her strokes from hard-hit returns to high lobs. Coupled with Crawley’s precision, the UNC doubles pair never let up and assisted in giving the Tar Heels an early advantage.
Despite dropping a first set, 2-6, Tanguilig wore down her opponent in the second, winning six straight games and forcing a third set tie-break. Even though her singles match ultimately went unfinished, the UNC sophomore’s fierce comeback led her to significantly lead the tie-break before the ending of the match.
When was it decided?
Scotty’s win officially clinched the match for North Carolina. The senior came out on top in important deuce points that ultimately allowed her to build a lead. Surviving long rallies and taking advantage of open down the line shots, Scotty won a key deuce point at the 5-4 mark in the first set to clinch the set and prevent her Georgia opponent from tying it.
Her patience and carefully-timed shots continued to work to her advantage in the second set, allowing her to earn the match victory for herself and her teammates.
Why does it matter?
This is the third time the Tar Heels have faced-off against the Bulldogs this season and finishes with a perfect 3-0 record versus Georgia.
Grabbing the doubles point after two straight games of the doubles teams falling short allowed UNC to ride their momentum from the early lead into singles. Paired with their typical singles dominance, all pieces of the equation earned the team a ticket to the title match.
When do they play next?
North Carolina will advance to the NCAA Championship match on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. to play hometown rival N.C. State.
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