Syracuse Suffers 6-1 Loss to Top-Ranked UNC
By Gill Gross
The Orange (9-2, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) fell short for the second time this season against the University of North Carolina (14-1, 3-0 ACC) by a score of 6-1 on Sunday in Chapel Hill. The defending national champion Tar Heels are ranked No. 1 in the country.
Syracuse struggled in doubles, dropping the point for the first time since Feb. 9 against UConn. It was also the first time all season No. 19 Gabriela Knutson/Miranda Ramirez lost a doubles match. The pairing was riding a seven-match win streak before they were defeated 6-2 by No. 9 Jessie Aney/Alexa Graham.
SU head coach Younes Limam moved his typical second-doubles pairing Sofya Golubivskya/Anna Shkudun down to third-doubles to maximize the chances of winning two doubles matches. That pitted Dina Hegab/Masha Tritou against UNC’s No. 20 Sara Daavettila/Alle Sanford. The Tar Heel’s pairing won convincingly 6-0. Golubovskya/Shkudun were up 4-1 when their match was stopped.
In singles, UNC’s depth gave the Orange problems. Libi Mesh drew a tough matchup against No. 32 Jessie Aney at fifth-singles and lost 6-2, 6-3. Dina Hegab fought valiantly but came up short at sixth-singles, 6-4, 6-3.
Anna Shkudun offered no challenge for No. 93 Alexa Graham, losing 6-2 6-0.
Miranda Ramirez’s tough weekend continued in a 6-1, 6-0, loss to No. 28 Sara Daavettila.
The bright spots for the Orange came at third and first-singles. Sofya Golubovskya faced her toughest test to date against No. 15 Makenna Jones. The freshman impressed until the match was sent to a super tie-break, which Golubovskya lost 10-4.
No. 18 Gabriela Knutson was even more impressive against No. 8 Alle Sanford. Knutson prevailed in her first match against a top-10 opponent this season, 7-6, 7-6. The match is Knutson’s second win against a ranked opponent this season. It is expected that the junior will move up the ITA rankings after this weekend.
Syracuse gets next weekend off before heading to Florida Atlantic University on March, 13. Knutson will likely face off against the No. 3 player in the country, Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov.