May 12, 2018 10:56:29 PM
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The No. 31 Mississippi State women's tennis team couldn't overcome an early deficit Saturday in a 4-0 loss to top-ranked and second-seeded North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Championships at Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.
"We put up a great fight, but North Carolina was the better team today," said MSU coach Daryl Greenan, whose team ended the season 16-11. "We started off strong in doubles but didn't capitalize on a few opportunities, and you can't afford that against a team like UNC. They carried the momentum and looked very confident in singles. We did an excellent job of battling and seemed to be slowly climbing back into the match. It ended up being too little too late, but I am extremely proud of our girls' effort. I will be forever thankful for our team's commitment and effort this year. We had some awesome highlights and it was a lot of fun. This team and season will always hold a special place in my heart."
The Tar Heels won the doubles point. UNC's second-ranked Jessie Aney and Alexa Graham downed No. 49 Madison Harrison and Khrystyna Vozniak 6-2 on court 1. At No. 3, the Tar Heel duo of Marika Akkerman and Makenna Jones outlasted Sara Lizariturry and Anastasia Rentouli 6-3 to clinch the doubles point. The teams were tied 4-4 on court 2 when play was suspended.
The Tar Heels continued their momentum in singles, taking five of the first six sets and ultimately taking the first three matches to finish. But the Bulldogs gave a late push before UNC was finally able to get the clinching point.
First off the courts, UNC's 26th-ranked Alle Sanford posted a 6-1, 6-2 triumph against Janina Braun on court 2. The Tar Heels' second-ranked Jones beat Harrison 6-2, 6-0.
MSU was up a set in one of the remaining four matches, but it fought hard in an effort to rally. UNC finally got the point it needed, when No. 95 Graham held off freshman Magda Adaloglou 6-3, 7-5 on court 4.
The remaining three matches were suspended with Rentouli leading 7-5, 3-4 on court 3 against No. 46 Sara Daavettila. At No. 5, MSU's Vozniak led Aney 3-6, 6-4, 2-1. On court 6, Lizariturry was down a set but up 3-2 in a second-set tiebreaker when play was suspended.
The MSU women's tennis squad made a program-record, fourth-consecutive NCAA appearance and upset two top-15 teams this season, including the NCAA's No. 1 national seed -- Southeastern Conference champion Vanderbilt. MSU also won a program-best five-straight matches in the SEC in March.
MSU's victory against William & Mary on Friday, Greenan now has the most head coaching wins in program history.
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