CORAL GABLES, Fla. --- No. 1 North Carolina moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference Friday with a rousing 5-2 win over No. 10 Miami at the Schiff Tennis Complex. Whitney Kay clinched the match with a straight-set victory on court four, and Caroline Price improved to 19-0 on the season as the Tar Heels won their 20th dual match of the spring.
Carolina (20-2, 6-1 ACC) needed a tiebreak in the deciding doubles match to take the always-important first point of the day. The two teams split a pair of relatively one-sided matches on courts one and two before the Tar Heels mounted an incredible comeback on court three.
Miami (15-4, 6-2 ACC) raced out to a 6-2 lead and looked poised to win its 10th straight doubles point after an 8-0 win on court two. But the UNC tandem of Gina Suarez-Malaguti and Tessa Lyons spoiled a number of Hurricane match points and ultimately forced a tiebreak. Fittingly, the two hour match would go beyond the necessary distance, with Suarez-Malaguti and Lyons prevailing, 11-9, to seal the point.
The Hurricanes responded in singles with a quick point from Melissa Bolivar on court six, but the top of the Carolina lineup proved too strong for the hosts.
No. 42 Price restored the Tar Heel lead with her 19th consecutive singles win. After moving up to court three for the first time in league play, the Buford, Ga., sophomore dismissed No. 81 Kelsey Laurente in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1.
No. 7 Suarez-Malaguti then made it 3-1 with an impressive 6-3, 6-3 victory over No. 79 Stephanie Wagner on court one. The native of nearby Pembroke Pines, Fla., won her sixth straight singles match and her fourth in a row over a ranked opponent to improve to 11-4 in dual match play and 5-1 in the ACC.
Just as she has so often in 2013, Kay provided the knockout blow to seal the overall win. After edging Monique Albuquerque in a tight opening set, the Alpharetta, Ga., freshman dropped just one game in the second set to win, 7-5, 6-1, and give Carolina its 20th win of the year.
Miami got its second point of dual on court five as No. 121 Clementina Riobueno topped Lauren McHale in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. With the overall match already decided, No. 48 Zoe De Bruycker and Lina Lileikite decided their No. 2 singles match with a third-set match tiebreak, and De Bruycker prevailed, 3-6, 6-2, 10-8.
Carolina will now travel across the state to Tallahassee to take on No. 30 Florida State Sunday at noon. The Seminoles fell to No. 9 Duke, 4-3, on Friday.
No. 1 North Carolina 5, No. 10 Miami 2
1. #52 Whitney Kay/Caroline Price (NC) def. #39 Lina Lileikite/Stephanie Wagner (UM), 8-4
2. Clementina Riobueno/Monique Albuquerque (UM) def. Ashley Dai/Zoe De Bruycker (NC), 8-0
3. Tessa Lyons/Gina Suarez-Malaguti (NC) def. Kelsey Laurente/Melissa Bolivar (UM), 9-8
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3
1. #7 Gina Suarez-Malaguti (NC) def. #79 Stephanie Wagner (UM), 6-3, 6-3
2. #48 Zoe De Bruycker (NC) def. Lina Lileikite (UM), 3-6, 6-2, 10-8
3. #42 Caroline Price (NC) def. #81 Kelsey Laurente (UM), 7-5, 6-1
4. #34 Whitney Kay (NC) def. Monique Albuquerque (UM), 7-5, 6-1
5. #121 Clementina Riobueno (UM) def. Lauren McHale (NC), 6-4, 6-2
6. Melissa Bolivar (UM) def. Tessa Lyons (NC), 6-2, 6-2
Order of Finish:
6, 3, 1, 4, 5, 2