Women’s tennis falls to No. 1 North Carolina

Fourth-year junior Daevenia Achong returns the ball during her and fifth-year senior Eden Richardson’s doubles match versus sophomore Fiona Crawley and Elizabeth Scotty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on March 25, 2022.
Fourth-year junior Daevenia Achong returns the ball during her and fifth-year senior Eden Richardson’s doubles match versus sophomore Fiona Crawley and Elizabeth Scotty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on March 25, 2022. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Fourth-year junior Daevenia Achong secured her second top-25 victory of the month, but it wasn’t enough, as No. 9 Miami fell to top-ranked North Carolina, 6-1, Friday evening at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.

A 2021 NCAA Tournament Final Four team, the Tar Heels feature five singles players in the top 35, all above No. 46 Eden Richardson, UM’s top-ranked athlete.

North Carolina has allowed more than one point on only two occasions this season. While Miami (11-3, 6-2 ACC) continued that trend, the final margin was misleading. On most courts, matches were tight and could have easily gone the other way.

In doubles, the Tar Heels (18-0, 7-0 ACC) handily won, boasting the No. 1 duo in the country.

Top-ranked Fiona Crawley and Elizabeth Scotty shot out to a 4-1 lead, before Miami’s No. 20-ranked pair of Achong and fifth-year senior Eden Richardson took the next two out of three games. Down 5-3, Crawley and Scotty’s blend of power and quickness proved too much, as they took the match, 6-3.

On Court 2, third-year sophomores Diana Khodan and Maya Tahan, ranked No. 62, were down an early break but came back to level the score at 3-3. However, Cameron Morra and Alle Sanford won three games in a row to clinch the doubles point for the Tar Heels.

Third-year sophomore Maya Tahan returns the ball during the eighth game of her and doubles partner third-year sophomore Diana Khodan’s match versus senior Cameron Morra and senior Alle Sanford of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on March 25, 2022.
Third-year sophomore Maya Tahan returns the ball during the eighth game of her and doubles partner third-year sophomore Diana Khodan’s match versus senior Cameron Morra and senior Alle Sanford of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on March 25, 2022. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

The match on Court 3 was left unfinished, with sophomores Audrey Boch-Collins and Isabella Pfennig on a four-game winning streak after going down 5-0 against Carson Tanguilig and Reilly Tran.

In singles, North Carolina quickly extended its lead to 2-0 on Court 6, as Anika Yarlagadda downed Khodan 6-1, 6-2.

No. 52 Achong garnered Miami’s lone point of the night versus No. 16 Scotty. After taking the first set, 6-4, on deuce to break Scotty’s serve, Achong eked out another tight second set for a 6-4, 7-5 triumph, marking the second-highest-ranked victory in her collegiate career.

From there, the Hurricanes wouldn’t win again.

On Court 5, Tahan battled with No. 33 Tanguilig, but narrowly lost 6-7 (5-7), 4-6. Shortly after, No. 64 Pfennig, who jumped 48 spots in this week’s rankings, fought a tough second set after being dominated in the first. In the end, No. 10 Tran won in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6 (7-1), putting North Carolina up 4-1 to continue its undefeated season.

The remaining matches were played out.

After a back-and-forth two sets, No. 34 Crawley breezed through the third-set tiebreaker to take the match 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-5), over Boch-Collins.

On Court 1, Richardson, five days removed from a top-5 triumph that earned her ACC Player of the Week honors, valiantly fought No. 12 Morra till the end, eventually succumbing 3-6, 6-4, 4-6.

With the loss, Miami moves to 14-20 against the Tar Heels all-time. Friday marked the first time the Canes didn’t score at least three points in a match this season.

Head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews speaks to fifth-year senior Eden Richardson and doubles partner fourth-year junior Daevenia Achong after they lost four straight games in their doubles match versus sophomore Fiona Crawley and Elizabeth Scotty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on March 25, 2022.
Head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews speaks to fifth-year senior Eden Richardson and doubles partner fourth-year junior Daevenia Achong after they lost four straight games in their doubles match versus sophomore Fiona Crawley and Elizabeth Scotty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center on March 25, 2022. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

“UNC was too good for us tonight,” Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “We need to recover and get ready for a great opportunity against Duke at home Sunday.”

The Hurricanes face the No. 10 Blue Devils – their third straight top-11 opponent – at 11 a.m. Sunday morning at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center,