RALEIGH, N.C. – Long Beach State came into Sunday’s dual match with an 8-1 record and a winner of six straight, but NC State was unfazed as it pushed its unblemished record to 6-0 with a 6-1 victory at the J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center.
The Wolfpack came out aggressive in doubles play, as the duo of junior Joelle Kissell and senior Tatiana Illova broke a 5-5 tie to take the final three games to win No. 1 doubles, 8-5, over Klaudia Malenovska and Sarah Cantlay. The pair improved their record to 5-1 this season.
Moments later, the tandem of senior Chloe Smith and sophomore Sophie Nelson, who trailed 2-0 at the outset of the No. 3 doubles match, rallied back to close out an 8-4 victory over Anne-Sophie Willems and Hazuki Onaga and clinch the doubles point for NC State.
In dual matches, Smith and Nelson improved their record to 6-0 as a doubles tandem.
Singles play began with the 40th-ranked Kissell taking the first set of No. 1 singles, 6-0, before Malenovska grabbed an early 3-2 advantage in the second set. Kissell responded by winning the next four games, remain unbeaten (6-0) in dual singles matches and gave the Wolfpack a 2-0 lead in the overall match.
The 49ers (8-2) responded on court three, where Cantlay defeated sophomore Nicole Martinez, 6-3, 6-4, to cut NC State’s lead in half, but Illova closed out the No. 2 singles match, 6-2, 6-3, against Ebba Unden and give the Pack a 3-1 advantage.
In the No. 4 singles match, freshman Rachael James-Baker breezed through her first set, 6-2, and jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the second. Long Beach State’s Eva Rodriguez countered, tying the set at 3-3, but James-Baker wouldn’t let the straight-set victory slip away, as she went on to take the set, 7-5, and clinch the third match of her rookie campaign.
Playing in the No. 6 spot, Smith powered her way to a 6-3, 7-6 (6) win over Willems to remain unbeaten, 6-0, in dual singles matches. At No. 5 singles, sophomore Elisha Handeousted Karolina Rozenberg, 7-5, 7-6 (4).
Hande improved to 5-1 in dual singles matches and leads NC State with 14 wins this season.
The Wolfpack returns to the courts Saturday, March 2, for its first ACC match of the season when it travels to Winston-Salem, N.C., to face Wake Forest at noon.
No. 73 NC State 6, No. 46 Long Beach State 1
1. #40 Joelle Kissell (NCSU) def. Klaudia Malenovska (LBSU) 6-0, 6-3
2. Tatiana Illova (NCSU) def. Ebba Unden (LBSU) 6-2, 6-3
3. Sarah Cantlay (LBSU) def. Nicole Martinez (NCSU) 6-3, 6-4
4. Rachael James-Baker (NCSU) def. Eva Rodriguez (LBSU) 6-2, 7-5
5. Elisha Hande (NCSU) def. Karolina Rozenberg (LBSU) 7-5, 7-6 (7-4)
6. Chloe Smith (NCSU) def. Anne-Sophie Willems (LBSU) 6-3, 7-6 (8-6)
1. Joelle Kissell/Tatiana Illova (NCSU) def. Klaudia Malenovska/Sarah Cantlay (LBSU) 8-5
2. Elisha Hande/Nicole Martinez (NCSU) vs. Ebba Unden/Karolina Rozenberg (LBSU) 6-5, unfinished
3. Chloe Smith/Sophie Nelson (NCSU) def. Anne-Sophie Willems/Hazuki Onaga (LBSU) 8-4
Long Beach State 8-2; National ranking #46
NC State 6-0; National ranking #73
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (1,3,2,4,6,5)