The No. 6 NC State women’s tennis team put on a strong showing in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Championships, beating William & Mary 4-0 on Saturday, May 7.
NC State was able to put an exclamation mark on the first round with its usual doubles dominance and some strong singles wins that helped the Pack cruise past the Tribe. With the win, the Wolfpack earned a third straight appearance in the second round of the NCAA Championships, where the team will look to capitalize on the momentum from this strong start.
Before the tournament could start, however, NC State made a statement in the national singles and doubles rankings. Four Pack members earned spots in the top 100 singles rankings, while the duo of sophomores Abigail Rencheli and Amelia Rajecki claimed the No. 24 spot in the doubles rankings.
Most importantly, however, graduate student Jaeda Daniel and senior Nell Miller claimed the No. 1 doubles ranking in the nation. Together, Daniel and Miller have been consistently excellent in doubles and now round out the Wolfpack’s dominant doubles lineup with the No. 1 rank.
“Yeah, it's pretty incredible,” said Miller. “I mean, Jaeda is a very big part of that. I mean, I’ve got to put everything into Jaeda there for that. But, it's pretty good, a really good achievement and it's great to be a part of it and we worked hard for it.”
With the best doubles team in the nation heading its lineup, the Wolfpack unsurprisingly took the doubles point against William & Mary. It was the No. 24 pairing of Rencheli and Rajecki who quickly won 6-2, while the third doubles pairing for the Pack took the next win when freshman Priska Nugroho and sophomore Sophie Abrams won 6-4 to take the 1-0 lead.
NC State’s singles lineup came to play against William & Mary as well. Three Wolfpack members cruised to impressive wins that provided a great boost of confidence and momentum to start the NCAA Championships.
It was No. 48 Rencheli who started the singles hot streak off with her nearly flawless 6-0, 6-1 win on court two. After earning the No. 1 ranking in doubles, Miller also showed what she could do in singles as she won 6-0, 6-2 on court four to put the Pack in position to clinch at 3-0.
To close out the singles round and the Pack’s 4-0 win, Nugroho finished the third impressive singles win of the day. Like Rencheli and Miller, Nugroho kept errors to a minimum and wasted no time in beating her opponent with a score of 6-1, 6-2.
Wolfpack 4, Tribe 0That'll do it! Priska wins 6-1, 6-2 to close out our win. pic.twitter.com/fLiitmi6O5— #6 NC State Women's Tennis 🐺🎾 (@PackWTennis) May 7, 2022
With such a strong start in singles for the Wolfpack, this team will look to carry on its stellar play in both singles and doubles deep into the tournament.
“I think it’s a great start,” said Miller. “It's just a great start in the right direction for everyone with what we want to achieve moving forward and I think it just gives a great shape as to what we can do and how this tournament is going to go for us.”
If the Pack wishes to advance further, however, it’ll need to use every part of its lineup to find success from here on out in the tournament. NC State will match up with No. 22 Tennessee in the second round, and while the Wolfpack beat the Volunteers early on this season, the two teams will have a competitive battle for a chance to advance in the NCAA Championships.
“I told the girls, in some ways, it's good to play good teams at this time of the year,” said head coach Simon Earnshaw. “We're gonna have to play well, and if we're going to move forward, we're going to need to play well moving forward as well.”
NC State will face Tennessee on Sunday, May 8, at 2 p.m. as the women’s squad continues to host in the NCAA Championships.