TALLAHASSEE, Fla. --- No. 1 North Carolina won five of six singles matches and moved into sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 5-2 victory over No. 30 Florida State Sunday at the Indoor Tennis Facility. The Tar Heels rallied after dropping the doubles point for just the fifth time this season and improved to 21-2 on the year and 7-1 in league play.
Florida State (12-7, 4-5 ACC) ran out to a 1-0 lead thanks to doubles wins on the top two courts. Amy Sargeant and Mia Vriens won an early break from De Bruycker and Ashley Dai on court two and held on for an 8-6 victory. Francesca Segarelli and Daneika Borthwick then sealed the point with an 8-4 win over No. 52 Caroline Price and Kay on court one. Suarez-Malaguti and Lyons led 6-4 on court three when play was halted.
But the depth of the Carolina singles lineup stepped up and staged a comeback that could prove to be critical in the ACC regular season race.
McHale got the Tar Heels on the board with her 6-4, 6-0 win over Kerrie Cartwright on court five. Her seventh-ranked classmate Suarez-Malaguti then gave UNC its first lead of the day with a straight-set win over No. 118 Segarelli on court one, 6-0, 7-5. The victory was the seventh in a row for the reigning ACC Player of the Week and her second of the weekend in her home state.
No. 34 Kay made it 3-1 by holding off Vriens in a second-set tiebreak on court three. The Alpharetta, Ga., freshman won 6-1, 7-6, to push the Seminoles to the brink. FSU got its final point when Sargeant dealt No. 42 Price her first dual match loss of the spring on court four, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
Lyons eliminated any doubt about the overall result, however, winning the final six games on court six to clinch the dual with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 victory over Kristina Schleich. No. 48 De Bruycker was the final point for the second time on the weekend, outlasting No. 53 Bortwich in a match tiebreak, 7-5, 4-6, 10-5.
The win over the Seminoles coupled with Virginia's 4-3 loss to Clemson Sunday puts Carolina back in control of its own destiny for the ACC regular season title. The Tar Heels host No. 9 Duke Wednesday afternoon at 3 in their final home match, and it will be Senior Day for De Bruycker, McHale and Suarez-Malaguti. Admission for all fans is free of charge and hot dogs will be given away to spectators as well.
No. 1 North Carolina 5, No. 30 Florida State 2
1. Francesca Segarelli/Daneika Borthwick (FSU) def. #52 Caroline Price/Whitney Kay (NC), 8-4
2. Amy Sargeant/Mia Vriens (FSU) def. Ashley Dai/Zoe De Bruycker (NC), 8-6
3. Gina Suarez-Malaguti/Tessa Lyons (NC) led Kerrie Cartwright/Kristina Schleich (FSU), 6-4, unfinished
Order of finish: 2, 1
1. #7 Gina Suarez-Malaguti (NC) def. #118 Francesca Segarelli (FSU), 6-0, 7-5
2. #48 Zoe De Bruycker (NC) def. #53 Daneika Borthwick (FSU), 7-5, 4-6, 10-5
3. #34 Whitney Kay (NC) def. Mia Vriens (FSU), 6-1, 7-6
4. Amy Sargeant (FSU) def. #42 Caroline Price (NC), 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
5. Lauren McHale (NC) def. Kerrie Cartwright (FSU), 6-4, 6-0
6. Tessa Lyons (NC) def. Kristina Schleich (FSU), 6-3, 4-6, 6-0
Order of finish: 5, 1, 3, 4, 6*, 2