The No. 11 Virginia women's tennis team advanced to the round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history after downing No. 25 NC State 4-2 in a second match Sunday. The Cavaliers (20-7) also secured their first ever 20-win season and will next meet sixth-seeded UCLA on Friday at Stanford.
"To see this team get through this stage and be able to celebrate this accomplishment, I couldn't be happier," said head coach Mark Guilbeau. "We can finally talk about the round of 16 and how exciting that is going to be. They are about to experience something that will help them understand why all the hard work is worth it."
Virginia jumped out to a quick start in doubles, up a break in two of the three matches, when severe weather hit the Snyder Tennis Center. After a nearly two-hour lightning and rain delay, play resumed indoors at the Boyd Tinsley Courts at the Boar's Head Sports Club. The Cavaliers continued their momentum after the break and secured the doubles point. Emily Fraser (Rye, N.Y.) and Hana Tomljanovic (Boca Raton, Fla.), who were tied 2-2 with Tatiana Illova and Lenka Hojckova at No. 2 outdoors, rolled off six straight games indoors for an 8-2 win. Lindsey Hardenbergh (Fairfax Station, Va.) and Erin Vierra (Norwell, Mass.) clinched the opening point with an 8-4 win at No. 1 over Sanaa Bhambri and Sandhya Nagaraj.
In singles, the Wolfpack (16-9) drew even in the match as Joelle Kissell topped Tomljanovic 6-4, 6-2 at the No. 4 position. Maria Fuccillo (Rockville, Md.) gave the Cavaliers the lead again, 2-1, with her 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 6 over Christy Sipes. At No. 2, Fraser fought off three first-set set points and used that momentum to cruise in the second set for a 7-6(2), 6-1 win over Nagaraj to make the score 3-1. Hojckova cut that lead in half when she won a pair of tiebreakers for a 7-6(1), 7-6(0) win over Caryssa Peretz (Cherry Hill, N.J.) at No. 5. Seconds later Hardenbergh clinched the Cavaliers' ticket to the round of 16 with her 7-5, 6-2 win over Bhambri at the top spot. With the win, Hardenbergh becomes the first Cavalier women's player to reach 40 singles wins in a season.
"Give NC State a lot of credit," said Guilbeau. "That was a tough, tough match. You could feel the heart and the fight our team had. Those first sets at No. 1 and No. 2, it wasn't by chance that those scores went 7-5 and 7-6 in our favor. That comes from two third-years who have put a lot of work in and they will get those results more often than not. They deserve it."
The Cavaliers will meet UCLA in the round of 16 on Friday at the Taube Tennis Center in Stanford, Calif. The match is scheduled for 9 a.m. PT (noon ET).
#11 Virginia 4, #25 NC State 2
1. #32 Hardenbergh/Vierra (UVa) def. #17 Bhambri/Nagaraj (NCSU) 8-4
2. #20 Fraser/Tomljanovic (UVa) def. Illova/Hojckova (NCSU) 8-2
3. Fuccillo/Peretz (UVa) led Kissell/Miller (NCSU) 7-6 DNF
1. #27 Lindsey Hardenbergh def. #28 Sanaa Bhambri (NCSU) 7-5, 6-2
2. #60 Emily Fraser (UVa) def. #85 Sandhya Nagaraj (NCSU) 7-6(2), 6-1
3. #101 Erin Vierra (UVa) vs. Tatiana Illova (NCSU) 6-1, 3-6, 3-3 DNF
4. Joelle Kissell (NCSU) def. #118 Hana Tomljanovic (UVa) 6-4, 6-2
5. Lenka Hojckova (NCSU) def. Caryssa Peretz (UVa) 7-6(1), 7-6(0)
6. Maria Fuccillo (UVa) def. Christy Sipes (NCSU) 6-3, 6-3
Order of Finish: