Sophomore Abigail Rencheli yells as she celebrates a point during the match against Notre Dame on Saturday, April 16, 2022 at Dail Outdoor Tennis Stadium. Rencheli won her singles match 2-0. The Wolfpack won 7-0.

Starting on Monday, May 23, graduate student Jaeda Daniel and sophomore Abigail Rencheli began their respective runs in the 2022 NCAA singles tournament, representing the NC State women’s tennis team. 

After losing to No. 4 Duke in the quarterfinal of the team championships, the No. 6 ranked Wolfpack squad had more opportunities to add to NC State’s historic 2022 season, as well as bolster personal resumes with the singles and doubles tournaments in Champaign, Illinois. 

Daniel, who finished the team season ranked No. 11 in the nation, made her final career appearances before completing her eligibility at the end of the 2022 season. However, it was the No. 48 ranked Rencheli who found the most success in the singles tourney. The sophomore defeated multiple opponents, including the defending champion in heroic fashion, to advance to the quarterfinal round of the singles bracket. 

To start her run, Rencheli easily defeated Loudmilla Bencheikh of Alabama in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, to advance. However, the next three matches would prove much more challenging for the sophomore. 

In the second round, with All-American status on the line, Rencheli put on a heroic comeback victory against Thasaporn Naklo of Iowa State. Undaunted by four match points, Rencheli made a stand with her back against the wall late in her second set after dropping her first. After clutching out the second set, Rencheli rolled through her third, winning 6-7 (3-7), 7-5, 6-0 to achieve All-American status, becoming just the sixth in program history to do so. 

The All-American wasn’t quite finished in the singles tournament or with her daring performances, however. In the round of 16, she faced the defending champion and No. 1 seeded Emma Navarro of Virginia, who has consistently been one of the best players in the country for the past two seasons. Once again though, Rencheli was unfazed by the adversity and upset Navarro in three heated sets, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. 

Like her last match, Rencheli lost her first set, but won the next two to complete the historic upset over the defending champion and favorite to win it all in the 2022 NCAA Championships. 

However, Rencheli’s stellar run would end in the quarterfinal round when she faced Connie Ma of Stanford. Despite fighting off a match point in the set, Rencheli ultimately lost 6-2, 7-6 (6). 

Nevertheless, Rencheli still found tremendous success in the singles tournament. Her run was tied for the best in program history, and as a sophomore, she will no doubt continue to be an integral part of the Wolfpack’s success for years to come with the stellar play she displayed in Champaign. 

However, Rencheli wasn’t the only All-American for NC State this season. After earning a top-16 draw, Daniel began competing in her run in the singles championships. 

In the first round, Daniel defeated Ayana Akli of South Carolina in three sets to advance. Daniel only lost five games after dropping six straight, winning 0-6, 6-2, 6-3. With the quick turnaround in her match against Akli, both Daniel and Rencheli made program history when two members of the team made the second round of the singles championships. 

However, Daniel faced a familiar face in Elizabeth Scotty from UNC-Chapel Hill. Daniel lost 6-1, 6-3 to the rival school’s representative, ending her tournament run and singles career with the Wolfpack. However, Daniel’s success in singles shouldn’t go understated for the Wolfpack as she put together an impressive singles career for the Pack with 62 wins in three seasons. 

The NC State women’s tennis squad was once again able to add to its incredible season with its two singles leaders showing out in the 2022 NCAA Championships. While Daniel made her mark on the program, Rencheli and the rest of the team will be eager to continue competing as the team prepares to finish the doubles tournament and move into the next season and beyond.