Tough matchups ahead in ACC play

Freshman Wendy Zhang prepares to return a ball during Friday’s game against Florida Gulf Coast University. This game was the first of the women’s tennis team’s three game home stretch; they will take on Wake Forest on Friday. Gian Piero // Contributing Photographer

The Hurricanes women’s tennis team has gained momentum after last week’s 6-1 victory over Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU).

A change-up in singles and doubles combinations proved the potential and chemistry that this group holds. It will be necessary for the Hurricanes to utilize these strengths with Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play starting up this weekend.

After a handful of out-of-conference wins, combined with a difficult tournament against the country’s top-ranked opponents, the No. 9 Hurricanes must be prepared for the most important stretch of their season.

Regardless of ranking, conference matchups consistently provide tough competition, especially when five of the teams are in the top 25,  the most out of any conference.

“It seems like once you start ACC play, everything is just kind of a blur,” said Head Coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews. “If you’re not ready to play, you’re going to have your tail handed to you, and the girls know that, and the level has to be high beginning Friday, but I think we’re ready. I think we’re ready, and it’s only going to make us better.”

No. 10-ranked Stephanie Wagner, who is also No. 7 when paired with Lina Lileikite in doubles, leads a group of four other singles players, all of whom are ranked in the top 90 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).

Rising freshman Sinead Lohan moved up to No. 45 on the singles list last week. Veteran duo Clementina Riobueno and Monique Albuquerque were also ranked at No. 17.

The Hurricanes will take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at home 4 p.m. Friday.