No. 10 women’s tennis faced two top-10 ACC opponents at the North Carolina Invitational this weekend, falling to both No. 1 North Carolina and No. 8 NC State. In their first match up, the Cavaliers faced the Tar Heels, and despite holding their own in the doubles matches, they were ultimately defeated by strong singles play by North Carolina.
“It was a long time coming, and it was great to get back out on the courts and compete as a team,” Virginia Coach Sara O’Leary said. “We challenged the ladies to play two high-level teams, and I thought they took that opportunity and responded well. While we were able to identify areas for improvement, I’m encouraged by the way we competed and am excited to build off this weekend.”
The Cavaliers proved to be capable opponents for the Tar Heels in the two rounds of doubles matches, with each team winning one round. Virginia found success in the doubles matches with junior Sophie Munera and sophomore Natasha Subhash attaining a 6-3 victory and junior Amber O’Dell and freshman Hibah Shaikh winning in a decisive 6-1 match.
However, in the losses column, the No. 31 ranked pairing of senior Vivian Glozman and senior Rosie Johanson fell 6-2. Additionally, Glozman and Shaikh lost 6-2, and Johnason and O’Dell were defeated by a score of 6-4. Nonetheless, the interchanging of doubles partners will certainly serve Virginia well as it looks to solidify its pairs early in the season.
The Tar Heels and Cavaliers then headed into the singles matches, where North Carolina gained the upper hand, winning four out of the six matches. Highlights for the Cavaliers’ singles matches included Shaikh’s victory over No. 53 senior Allie Sanford in three sets 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, and Glozman’s defeat of junior Sophia Patel in two sets 6-4, 6-2.
Nevertheless, the heartbreak of the day for Virginia came with No. 49 Tar Heel graduate student Makenna Jones’ upset over No. 11 Subhash, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (7) in two sets that were both decided by tiebreakers.
The following day, Virginia faced off against NC State. The Cavaliers trailed early, losing two of the three matches in the first round of doubles, with their sole victory coming from O’Dell and Shaikh, 6-4. In the next round of doubles matches, the Cavaliers fared even worse, losing all three matches.
The singles matches proved little better for the Cavaliers, as NC State continued to dominate Virginia, winning four out of the five matches. The only singles match won for the Cavaliers came from No. 91 Munera’s victory over freshman Amelia Rajecki, 6-2, 7-6 (5), concluding a tough weekend for the team.
Next weekend, the Cavaliers hope to turn things around when they travel to the 2021 ITA Kickoff Weekend hosted by Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. Virginia will play Tennessee Saturday and either No. 13 Ohio State or Washington Sunday, depending on the outcomes of the matches.