BLACKSBURG, Va. – The NC State women’s tennis team won seven of nine total matches between doubles and singles play and picked up its second ACC win of the season with a 6-1 win over Virginia Tech Friday afternoon.
The Wolfpack fell behind early in doubles, after the duo of senior Tatiana Illova and junior Joelle Kissell fell, 8-5, in the No. 1 spot to the Hokies’ Illinica Stoica and Kelly Williford.
With its back against the wall, the Pack fought back and leveled the race for the doubles point, when the sophomore duo comprised of Nicole Martinez and Elisha Handeoutlasted Carol Kahoun and Raluca Mita, 8-6, at the No. 2 spot. The victory improved the tandem’s record to 10-5 overall and 9-3 in dual matches this season.
The decisive doubles match came down to the back-and-forth battle on court three, where senior Chloe Smith and sophomore Sophie Nelson pulled out a 9-8 (5) win against Tea Ivanovic and Isel Martinez-Marcos to clinch the doubles point and give the Wolfpack a 1-0 lead in the overall match.
The Pack is a perfect 11-0 this season when it wins the doubles point.
NC State (11-5, 2-4 ACC) kept the momentum rolling into singles play, as Hande cruised past Ivanovic, 6-3, 6-1, at the No. 6 spot for her team-leading 18th win of the season, before the 92nd-ranked Illova downed Mita, 6-2, 6-4, to increase the Wolfpack lead to 3-0 over the Hokies.
Freshman Rachael James-Baker followed with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Martinez-Marcos in the No. 3 spot to clinch the overall match and put the Wolfpack ahead permanently. The Plantation, Fla., native has now clinched four of NC State’s 11 victories this spring.
Virginia Tech collected a win at No. 1 singles, where Stoica outlasted the 35th-ranked Kissell, 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (9), but Martinez increased the Wolfpack advantage to 5-1 when she closed out Williford, 7-6 (1), 6-4, in the No. 4 spot.
Smith, playing in the No. 5 spot, fought through a tough battle against Kahoun, but picked up a 7-5, 7-6 (5) win to put the final touch on NC State’s 6-1 victory over Virginia Tech. With the victory, the Naples, Fla., native improved to 11-3 in dual singles matches this season.
The Wolfpack will return to action Sunday, April 7, when it travels to 18th-ranked Virginia at noon.
Tennis Match Results
No. 1 Ilinca Stoica/Kelly Williford (VT) def. Tatiana Illova/Joelle Kissell (NCSU) 8-5
No. 2 Nicole Martinez/Elisha Hande (NCSU) def. Carol Kahoun/Raluca Mita (VT) 8-6
No. 3 Chloe Smith/Sophie Nelson (NCSU) def. Tea Ivanovic/Isel Martinez-Marcos (VT) 9-8(5)
Order of finish: 1,2,3*
No. 1 Ilinca Stoice (VT) def. #35 Joelle Kissell (NCSU) 6-3, 4-6, 1-0(9)
No. 2 #92 Tatiana Illova (NCSU) def. Raluca Mita (VT) 6-2, 6-4
No. 3 Rachel James-Baker (NCSU) def. Isel Martinez-Marcos (VT) 6-4, 6-1
No. 4 Nicole Martinez (NCSU) def. Kelly Williford (VT) 7-6(1), 6-4
No. 5 Chloe Smith (NCSU) def. Carol Kahoun (VT) 7-5, 7-6(1)
No. 6 Elisha Hande (NCSU) def. Tea Ivanovic (VT) 6-3, 6-1
Order of finish:6,3,2*,1,5