CHAPEL HILL --- No. 8 North Carolina advanced to the 2013 ITA Kick-Off Weekend final with a 4-0 victory over No. 68 Auburn Saturday afternoon at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center. Caroline Price, Lauren McHale and Tessa Lyons were singles winners for the Tar Heels, who will face No. 46 VCU Sunday for a spot at next month's ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
UNC (3-0) had its hands full in doubles against the Tigers (0-1), who were making their spring dual debut. The No. 8 duo of Ashley Dai and Whitney Kay defeated Pleun Burgmans and Michala Kucharova at the top position, 8-3, but Jackie Kasler and Emily Flickinger evened the score with an 8-4 win over No. 51 McHale and Lyons.
That left court three to decide the point, with the senior duo of Gina Suarez-Malaguti and Zoe De Bruycker outlasting Paulina Schippers and Jennifer Pfeifler to clinch doubles.
No. 36 Price, who missed much of the fall with a variety of injuries, was first off in singles, impressing with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Pfeifler on court five. No. 111 McHale then pushed it to 3-0 in the dual with her 6-1, 6-4 win over Flickinger on court three.
From there, De Bruycker and Lyons were in a race to seal the dual, and the junior from Wallingford, Pa., finished just ahead of her senior teammate. No. 101 Lyons defeated Plamena Kurteva in straight sets on court six, 6-2, 6-3, to send the Tar Heels into the Kick-Off Weekend final.
In the day's first match, VCU won a tight doubles point and cruised in singles to best DePaul, 4-0. DePaul and Auburn will play a consolation match Sunday at 9 a.m. before the UNC-VCU final. The winner of the final will advance along with 14 other qualifiers and host Virginia to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va., Feb 8-11.
No. 8 North Carolina 4, No. 68 Auburn 0
1. #8 Ashley Dai/Whitney Kay (NC) def. Pleun Burgmans/Michala Kucharova (AU), 8-3
2. Jackie Kasler/Emily Flickinger (AU) def. #51 Lauren McHale/Tessa Lyons (NC), 8-4
3. Gina Suarez-Malaguti/Zoe De Bruycker (NC) def. Paulina Schippers/Jennifer Pfeifler (AU), 8-4
Order of finish: 1, 2, 3
1. #11 Gina Suarez-Malaguti (NC) vs. Pleun Burgmans (AU), 3-6, 3-4, unfinished
2. #28 Zoe De Bruycker (NC) vs. Michala Kucharova (AU), 6-4, 5-3, unfinished
3. #111 Lauren McHale (NC) def. Emily Flickinger (AU), 6-1, 6-4
4. #21 Whitney Kay (NC) vs. Jackie Kasler (AU), 6-4, 3-4, unfinished
5. #36 Caroline Price (NC) def. Jennifer Pfeifler (AU), 6-2, 6-3
6. #101 Tessa Lyons (NC) def. Plamena Kurteva (AU), 6-2, 6-3
Order of finish: 5, 3, 6