The NC State women’s tennis team began its season by taking the trip down Tobacco Road to Durham for the Duke Winter Classic Sunday and Monday. After not playing any competitive matches since early March of 2020, it was apparent the Wolfpack took a minute to loosen back up to look like the juggernaut that tore through its competition last year.
The first day’s events started out with singles matches against Duke. Fifth-year senior Anna Rogers, senior Lexi Keberle and freshman Abigail Rencheli all grabbed two-set victories over their Blue Devil opponents. However, some of NC State’s most highly touted tennis players surprisingly lost in the early goings of Sunday’s action. Junior Alana Smith, senior Jaeda Daniel, and fifth-year senior Adriana Reami all bowed out in straight sets.
But after starting out the first day of the Winter Classic with mixed results, the Wolfpack picked up some steam in doubles play. The duos of Rogers and Smith, and Reami and Daniel picked up where they left off last season and defeated their opponents. Keberle and Rencheli joined the rest of the Pack in winning their doubles match, giving NC State three doubles victories on the day.
NC State finished the day with singles matches against Tennessee and had better success against the Volunteers. Rencheli earned her second singles victory of the day and her collegiate career, beating Daria Kuczer 6-1, 7-5. Sophomore Lana Mavor joined Rencheli in beating her Volunteer opponent, and NC State grabbed a third singles win over Tennessee after senior Liz Norman came back to beat Tenika McGiffin in three sets.
The next day began with two rotations of doubles play, and NC State cemented its doubles supremacy in unconventional fashion. While Rogers and Smith, arguably the best doubles partnership in the country last season, were able to defeat their opponents from Tennessee, they ran out of gas in their second doubles match of the day against Duke’s Karolina Berankova and Chloe Beck in a 6-3 set. Instead, it was the duo of Reami and Daniel, also one of the best in the country last season, as well as the new pairing of Rencheli and Keberle, who won the day for the Wolfpack, defeating their respective doubles opponent.
After doubles play, the Winter Classic was concluded with two rotations of singles matches. NC State split the first rotation 2-2, with Mavor walking away with a victory over Duke’s Hannah Zhao 6-4, 6-2, and freshman Amelia Rajecki getting the first singles victory of her collegiate career. The second rotation was more kind to the Wolfpack, however, with Rogers, Rancheli, and Daniel earning wins in nail-biting three-set matches.
Most of the rest of NC State’s schedule will be released at a later date, but one thing is set in stone: NC State will play host to Wake Forest, Central Florida and Northwestern during the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, set to take place over Jan. 22-25.