NEW HAVEN, Conn. – No. 2 North Carolina’s quest for a third ITA Women’s Tennis Team Indoor National Championship came up short in Monday’s title match against top-ranked Florida, 4-2.
The Tar Heels (8-1) had an uphill battle from the start after losing the doubles point for the first time this spring. The Gators sealed the crucial opening point on court two when No. 22 Ingrid Neel and Ana Danilina closed out UNC’s 42nd ranked duo of Jessie Aney and Cassandra Vazquez by a 6-2 margin.
Competing on court five for Florida was Brooke Austin, the two-time SEC Player of the Year. She made it 2-0 with a 6-1, 6-1, win over Chloe Ouellet-Pizer.
UNC’s second-ranked Sara Daavettila cut the Tar Heel deficit in half with a comfortable, 6-1, 6-2, win over No. 23 Anna Danilina on court two.
No. 30 Kourtney Keegan earned a comeback win over Carolina’s Cassandra Vazquez – 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 – on court six to make it 3-1 in favor of the Gators.
48th-ranked freshman Alexa Graham won in straight sets for the Tar Heels, 6-3, 7-6 (1), over No. 19 Josie Kuhlman to extend the match.
Courts one and three would decide who brought home the hardware. On court one, No. 5 Hayley Carter appeared in position to win a three-setter, leading 4-0 in the third over No. 40 Belinda Woolcock. However, Florida freshman and 45th-ranked Ingrid Neel was too much for No. 17 Aney on court three.
Neel won the first set, but Aney stormed back with a dominating second set victory. In the third set, Aney was moments away from clawing out of an early hole but Neel hung on for a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, win to give Florida (8-0) the title.
Carolina is back in action on Tuesday, Feb. 21 with a doubleheader with Elon (2 p.m.) and Appalachian State (6 p.m.) at Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.
#5 Hayley Carter (UNC) vs. #40 Belinda Woolcock (UF) 7-6 (1), 1-6, 4-0, unfinished
#2 Sara Daavettila (UNC) def. #23 Anna Danilina (UF) 6-1, 6-2
#45 Ingrid Neel (UF) def. #17 Jessie Aney (UNC) 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
#48 Alexa Graham (UNC) def. #19 Josie Kuhlman (UF) 6-3, 7-6 (1)
Brooke Austin (UF) def. Chloe Ouellet-Pizer (UNC) 6-1, 6-1
#30 Kourtney Keegan (UF) def. Cassandra Vazquez (UNC) 4-6, 6-0, 6-1
Order of Finish: 5, 2, 6, 4, 3
Carter/Daavettila (UNC) vs. #18 Austin/Keegan (UF) 4-4, unfinished
#22 Neel/Danilina (UF) def. #42 Aney/Vazquez (UNC) 6-2
#17 Kuhlman/Woolcock (UF) def. James-Baker/Ouellet-Pizer (UNC) 6-0
Order of Finish: 3, 2