Cary, NC – No. 28 South Carolina women’s tennis suffered a tough 4-0 loss to No. 1 North Carolina in the NCAA Round of 32 on Sunday. After the Tar Heels took the doubles point, the Gamecocks fought on each court in singles before North Carolina took the match.
In doubles, No. 65 Megan Davies and Gracie Mulville dominated in their match against Cameron Morra and Reilly Tran. The Gamecock pair were down 1-2 before they took off to win the next five games and complete the 6-2 victory. They were the only South Carolina duo to win in singles as North Carolina took the doubles point.
Singles was competitive, and No. 57 Ayana Akli won her first set against No. 30 Elizabeth Scotty. Akli built to a dominant 5-0 lead before Scotty could fight back to win three games of her own. The Gamecock junior earned the 6-3 win and was the lone Gamecock to take her first set of lei. Scotty went ahead 5-3 in the second set when play was suspended.
The Tar Heels took the first point in the No. 4 spot in which Elise Mills faced No. 55 Fiona Crawley. Mills came back from an 0-3 deficit to close in 3-5 in the first set, but Crawley quickly won the next game. The Tar Heel went on to take the second set 6-0 and awarded the second point to North Carolina.
Freshman Misa Malkin played a close first set against No. 51 Carson Tanguilig. The pair traded game wins back-and-forth to reach three games all before Tanguilig could go ahead 5-3. Malkin secured one more game, but Tanguilig took the set 6-4. The second set featured a Malkin comeback to close in 2-3, but the Tar Heel persevered to win the set 6-2 to give the Tar Heels the 3-0 lead.
In the No. 6 spot, Mulville battled against Anika Yarlagadda. The Gamecock freshman dropped the first three games but never gave up her fight. She climbed back from a 2-5 deficit to 4-5 before Yarlagadda closed the first set 6-4. Mulville used her momentum to go ahead 4-2 in the second set, but her Tar Heel opponent pushed right back. Yarlagadda won the next four games to clinch the win for North Carolina and send the Tar Heels to the Sweet 16.
Graduate student Davies did not finish her match, but she competed in every point against No. 35 Reilly Tran. Davies started off 0-2 but quickly fought back to even things at 2-2. She continued to do so to reach four games all before Tran could secure the 6-4 first set. The second set was as close as the first with Davies behind 3-2 when play was suspended. Davies finished her time with the Gamecocks with 95 singles wins and 99 doubles wins to her name di lei.
In the top spot, No. 6 Sarah Hamner also played a close match against No. 5 Cameron Morra. The Gamecock and Tar Heel took turns taking the lead and catching up until the first set reached five games all. Morra took the next two games to win the first set 7-5 and built a steady 4-1 lead in the second set. Hamner began to come back 4-2 when the match was decided.
With the loss to North Carolina, the Gamecocks concluded the season 15-11. Hamner and Akli will compete later this month in the NCAA Singles Championships which is set to begin Monday, May 23, in Champaign, Ill.