CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. --- No. 8 North Carolina swept its way into the ITA National Team Indoor Championships quarterfinals with a 4-0 win over No. 13 Texas A&M Friday afternoon at the Boar's Head Sports Club. The Tar Heels snagged a tight doubles point and got singles wins from Lauren McHale, Caroline Price and Tessa Lyons and will face No. 4 USC Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
All three doubles courts were tight throughout and it would come down a tiebreak on court three to decide the point. After the No. 7 duo of Cristina Stancu and Stefania Hristov outlasted No. 8 Ashley Dai and Whitney Kay on court one, 8-5, UNC (6-0) was left needing both matches to win doubles.
Gina Suarez-Malaguti and Zoe De Bruycker made it one match each by outlasting Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Anna Mamalat on court two, 8-5, but McHale and Lyons trailed on court three. The Tar Heel duo faced a pair of match points down 6-7, but Lyons got a winner at 30-40 and then another on the no-ad point to force a tiebreak. Up 6-5 in the breaker, McHale hit a winner of her own to give Carolina the match and the point.
"I think winning doubles really helped us relax in singles," head coach Brian Kalbas said. "We came out really tight in doubles and played a little nervous and up-and-down, but we refocused well for singles."
The Tar Heels took five of six first sets in singles and flexed their lineup depth to sweep their way into the quarters.
No. 65 Lyons was first off, defeating Mamalat on court six, 6-3, 6-2. No. 111 McHale was next, running away from No. 82 Maria Ines Dehaza on court four, 6-4, 6-0.
No. 36 Caroline Price then clinched the match for Carolina, besting Hristov on court five, 6-2, 6-4.
"Our was proud of all of our players today, this was a much tougher match than the scores might indicate," Kalbas said. "For Pichi (Suarez-Malaguti) to take a 6-1 set off of one of the top players in the country was really impressive, and Whitney and Zoe both battled hard to win first sets. Our strength is in our depth and this team is so selfless, they are only interested in the success of the team, not any individual glory."
Carolina will now meet No. 4 USC in Saturday's quarterfinals. That match is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. Live scoring is available at VirginiaSports.com.
No. 8 North Carolina 4, No. 13 Texas A&M 0
1. #7 Cristina Stancu/Stefania Hristov (TAMU) def. #8 Ashley Dai/Whitney Kay (NC), 8-5
2. Gina Suarez-Malaguti/Zoe De Bruycker (NC) def. C. Sanchez-Quintanar/Anna Mamalat (TAMU), 8-5
3. #51 Lauren McHale/Tessa Lyons (NC) def. Maria Ines Deheza/Maria Paula Deheza (TAMU), 8-7 (5)
Order of finish: 1, 2, 3
1. #11 Gina Suarez-Malaguti (NC) vs. #3 C. Sanchez-Quintanar (TAMU), 4-6, 6-1, unfinished
2. #21 Whitney Kay (NC) vs. #45 Cristina Stancu (TAMU), 6-4, 4-5, unfinished
3. #28 Zoe De Bruycker (NC) vs. Nazari Urbina (TAMU), 7-6 (5), 1-1, unfinished
4. #111 Lauren McHale (NC) def. #82 Maria Ines Deheza (TAMU), 6-4, 6-0
5. #36 Caroline Price (NC) def. Stefania Hristov (TAMU), 6-2, 6-4
6. #65 Tessa Lyons (NC) def. Anna Mamalat (TAMU), 6-3, 6-2
Order of finish: 6, 4, 5