Senior Lexi Keberle serves against No. 12 Virginia on Sunday, April 11, 2021 at J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center. Keberle won the deciding singles match 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 to help the No. 6 Wolfpack to a 4-3 win.

The NC State women’s tennis team beat the No. 12 Virginia Cavaliers 4-3 in a thrilling match on the outside courts at J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center in the team’s regular-season finale Sunday, April 11.

The Wolfpack (16-4, 10-3 ACC) found itself tied 3-3 with the Cavaliers (13-5, 9-4 ACC) after the doubles round and the first five singles matches to finish, and it was senior Lexi Keberle who clinched the match with a hard-fought three-set match win.

“I’m feeling pretty good that I was able to pull that through for my team,” Keberle said. “Virginia obviously has a very talented team, and the fact that we were able to dig deep together and pull through is a really great feeling.”

It didn’t take long for the Pack to clinch the doubles point as the doubles teams of senior Jaeda Daniel/fifth-year Adriana Reami and freshmen Amelia Rajecki/Abigail Rencheli each won their matches 6-1 to give the Pack a 1-0 lead to start the match. Fifth-year Anna Rogers and junior Alana Smith were in a 4-4 tie when play was stopped.

“I felt like we came out really well in doubles,” said head coach Simon Earnshaw. “Straightaway we were clean and aggressive… I felt coming into the match, we probably had an advantage in doubles.”

Rencheli was the first to the finish line in singles with a 6-1, 6-4 victory to put the Pack up 2-0. Then, Reami dropped her singles match 4-6, 3-6 to put the Cavaliers on the board, making the score 2-1.

Daniel was the next to finish with a 6-3, 6-3 win to put the Pack up 3-1, before Rogers dropped her match 2-6, 6-3, 2-6, making the score 3-2. That turned all the attention to Smith on court two and Keberle on court six with the Pack needing one victory to clinch the match.

Smith battled back from a deficit in the third set of her match, but was unable to pull off the comeback, falling 6-3, 2-6, 5-7. That tied the score 3-3 and turned all the attention to Keberle.

Each of Keberle’s first two sets were decided by a score of 7-5 with each player winning one set apiece, setting up a winner-take-all third set. Despite trailing 3-1 early in the set, Keberle battled back, winning the next four games and later clinched the match with a 6-4 third-set win. After the winning point, Keberle was mobbed by her teammates in celebration.

“That’s definitely why people play college athletics,” Keberle said. “To feel that moment when your team comes together is really a unique and special experience.”

When NC State and Virginia met last season, Keberle lost her singles match to the same opponent she beat on Sunday, so her win came with a little taste of revenge.

“I had that in my mind for sure that I wanted to get revenge on her,” Keberle said. “That was a big motive.”

The win was the Pack’s sixth over a ranked squad this season and ninth win out of the last 10 matches. Heading into postseason play, the Pack could very well be playing its best tennis of the season.

“I think we’re playing the best tennis we’ve played the whole year,” Earnshaw said. “We’ve been way more consistent… We keep telling the girls, if we keep trying to do the right things for long enough, eventually things start to go in your direction, and I think we’ve seen that.”

Next up, the Pack heads to the ACC Tournament in Rome, Georgia from April 21-25. With the win today, NC State should hold onto one of the top four spots in the conference standings, which would give it a double-bye.

Senior Sports Writer

I'm Ben Ellis. I am in the NC State Class of 2023 majoring in history. I've been writing for Technician since November of 2019.