No. 3 Tar Heels Take Care Of Hokies, 6-1
CHAPEL HILL --- No. 3 North Carolina won its 18th straight Atlantic Coast Conference match Sunday, besting No. 55 Virginia Tech, 6-1, at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center. Shinann Featherston, Jelena Durisic, Gina Suarez-Malaguti, Lauren McHale and Tessa Lyons were singles winners for the Tar Heels, who now set their sights on Wednesday's showdown with fellow ACC unbeaten Duke.
Carolina (18-3, 7-0 ACC) got all it could handle from the visiting Hokies in a tight doubles point that required extra games on both courts one and two.
Virginia Tech (9-11, 1-6 ACC) took the initial lead thanks to an 8-6 win at No. 3 doubles from Shannon Betts and Katie Blow.
On court two, Martha Blakely and Courtney Rauscher were in command early, jumping out to a 6-3 lead over Durisic and Jennifer Stone. The Tar Heel duo would erase the deficit, getting back on serve at 6-all. After trading holds, Carolina got the key break and served out the match to win, 9-7.
No. 6 Featherston and McHale were locked up in a tight one at the top of the lineup with No. 76 Yasmin Hamza and Holly Johnson. Neither team led by more than one game throughout the match, but the top-10 Tar Heel pair proved to be too much, as Featherston's powerful overhead finally sealed the win and the doubles point, 9-7.
UNC quickly moved ahead 3-0 with a pair of dominant wins from the middle two positions. At No. 3, Durisic won her seventh straight over an ACC opponent with an effecient 6-0, 6-2 triumph over Tea Ivanovic. Suarez-Malaguti dropped just one game in her court four win over Johnson, 6-1, 6-0.
With matches on courts one, five and six all in doubt, Featherston eased the pressure by clinching the dual at No. 2. The junior from Rockaway Park, N.Y., ran away from Blakely in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, to give Carolina its 11th win in a row.
With the dual decided, UNC got its final two wins courtesy of third-set tiebreaks. No. 125 McHale outlasted Betts at No. 5, 6-2, 3-6, (10-7), while Lyons finished off Martinez-Marcos at No. 6, 3-6, 6-3, (10-6).
Virginia Tech got its lone point of the day on court one, as Hamza upset No. 15 Zoe De Bruycker, 7-5, 6-4.
Up next for Carolina is a visit from local rival No. 4 Duke on Wednesday, April 6. The match, which will feature the final two ACC unbeatens, is set for 3 p.m. Admission is free.
No. 3 North Carolina 6, No. 55 Virginia Tech 1
1. #6 Featherston/McHale (UNC) def. #76 Hamza/Johnson (VT), 9-7
2. Durisic/Stone (UNC) def. Blakely/Rauscher (VT), 9-7
3. Betts/Blow (VT) def. Suarez-Malaguti/De Bruycker (UNC), 8-6
Order of finish: 3, 2, 1*
1. Yasmin Hamza (VT) def. #15 Zoe De Bruycker (UNC), 7-5, 6-4
2. #81 Shinann Featherston (UNC) def. Martha Blakely (VT), 6-3, 6-2
3. Jelena Durisic (UNC) def. Tea Ivanovic (VT), 6-0, 6-2
4. Gina Suarez-Malaguti (UNC) def. Holly Johnson (VT), 6-1, 6-0
5. #125 Lauren McHale (UNC) def. Shannon Betts (VT), 6-2, 3-6, (10-7)
6. Tessa Lyons (UNC) def. Isel Martinez-Marcos (VT), 3-6, 6-3, (10-6)
Order of finish: 3, 4, 2*, 6, 5, 1