March 25, 2012
The eighth-ranked Virginia women's tennis team suffered its second consecutive 4-3 loss, falling to No. 11 North Carolina on Sunday. The Cavaliers fall to 12-4 overall (3-2 ACC) with the loss.
“Give North Carolina credit, they played well today,” said head coach Mark Guilbeau. “I don’t want to make an excuse, but it was difficult for us without Chili (Li Xi), who was playing as well as anyone on the team before she got hurt. We had a bad start to doubles but fought back and could have pulled out that point. In singles, that was as good as we have played all season at 1, 2 and 3, but our depth isn’t where it needs to be right now. We will learn from this weekend and move forward as a team.”
Virginia fell behind early by losing the doubles point. The Cavaliers had a slow start, losing either the first three or four games of each match, and the Tar Heels took advantage of that at No 3 where Caroline Prince and Gina Suarez-Malaguti topped Caryssa Peretz and Molly O’Koniewski, 8-1.
The Cavaliers rallied from the early deficits to draw even at the top two positions. At No. 1, Hana Tomljanovic and Erin Vierra erased a 6-1 deficit to draw even at 6-6, but UNC’s Lauren McHale and Shinann Featherston won the final two games to hold on for an 8-6 win and clinch the doubles point. Emily Fraser and Lindsey Hardenbergh rallied from down a late break and saved a match point to come back for an 8-7(3) win over Tessa Lyons and Haley Hemm at No. 2.
North Carolina doubled its lead in singles as Lyons completed a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 6 over O’Koniewski. Virginia’s first point of the match came at No. 1 where Fraser downed Zoe De Bruycker 6-2, 6-1. The Tar Heels posted straight set wins at No. 5 and No. 4 to clinch the victory as Suarez-Malaguti defeated Peretz and Price downed Vierra.
The Cavaliers won the final two matches on the courts to make the final score 4-3. Tomljanovic defeated No. 26-ranked McHale in three sets at No. 3 for the highest ranked win of her career. Hardenbergh edged Featherston in a third-set match-tiebreaker at No. 2 to conclude the match.
Virginia returns to action on March 31 as it visits NC State. Match time in Raleigh is noon.