STANFORD, Calif. --- No. 4 North Carolina rallied from a 3-0 deficit but came up one point short in a 4-3 loss to No. 5 Baylor in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships Sunday evening at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Center. Carolina got singles wins from Zoe De Bruycker
, Gina Suarez-Malaguti
and Tessa Lyons
but could not overcome losing the doubles point and suffering an injury to Shinann Featherston
Carolina (26-6) got behind an early break on courts two and three and, unlike Friday's dramatic doubles win over Vanderbilt, was unable to stage a comeback. Diana Nakic and Sona Novakova defeated De Bruycker and Suarez-Malaguti, 8-2, before Taylor Ormond and Jelena Stanuvik topped Lyons and Jelena Durisic
, 8-4, to claim the first point.
Baylor (29-3) quickly made it 3-0 with wins on courts two and three. No. 49 Nina Secerbegovic was first to finish on court two, beating Durisic in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2. The Lady Bears got their third point shortly thereafter when Featherston, who trailed Nakic, 3-6, 2-3, on court three, was forced to retire to due an injury.
The Tar Heels weren't ready to go quietly, however, and Suarez-Malaguti got the ACC champions on the board with a 7-6, 6-2 victory over Karolina Filipiak on court five.
De Bruycker then make it 3-2, winning an epic first-set tiebreak over No. 14 Novakova before holding on for a 7-6 (8), 6-4 win on court one. The victory was De Bruycker's fourth in a row in the postseason and second straight over a top-20 opponent.
With Baylor clinging to a 3-2 advantage, all eyes turned to courts four and six for the deciding matches.
Lyons, who had a match point spoiled in a second set that she ultimately lost in a tiebreak, regrouped for a 6-1, 6-7, 6-4 victory over Ormond on court six to tie the dual at 3.
split her first two sets with Stanivuk on court four before falling behind 5-2 in the final set. The Englewood Cliffs, N.J. sophomore saved three match points in the eighth game before finally falling in three sets to Stanivuk, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.
The loss ends Carolina's dual season at 26-6, a mark that ties for the third-most victories in school history.
While the team competition is now over for UNC, a trio of Tar Heels will continue in the individual events. De Bruycker will compete in the singles championship as a No. 9-16 seed, while Featherston and McHale will feature in the doubles event as a No. 5-8 seed. Singles play is set to begin on Wednesday, May 25, with doubles commencing a day later. Draws for both events will be released following the conclusion of the team compeition.
No. 5 Baylor 4, No. 4 North Carolina 3
1. No. 7 Featherston/McHale (UNC) vs. No. 70 Secerbegovic/Filipiak (B), 7-6
2. Ormond/Stanivuk (B) def. Durisic/Lyons, (UNC) 8-4
3. Nakic/Novakova (B) def. De Bruycker/Suarez-Malaguti (UNC), 8-2
Order of finish: 3, 2
1. No. 13 Zoe De Bruycker
(UNC) def. No. 14 Sona Novakova (B), 7-6 (8), 6-4
2. No. 49 Nina Secerbegovic (B) def. No. 108 Jelana Durisic (UNC), 6-1, 6-2
3. No. 47 Diana Nakic (B) def. No. 74 Shinann Featherston
(UNC), 6-3, 3-2, ret.
4. No. 112 Jelena Stanivuk (B) def. Lauren McHale
(UNC), 5-7, 6-2, 6-2
5. Gina Suarez-Malaguti
(UNC) def. Karolina Filipiak (B), 7-6 (3), 6-2
6. Tessa Lyons
(UNC) def. Taylor Ormond (B), 6-1, 6-7 (), 6-4
Order of finish: 2, 3, 5, 1, 6, 4