Braves Blank Fayetteville State In Opener
PEMBROKE – Home-standing UNCP breezed through the doubles competition, and then yielded just four games in sweeping through singles play, as the Braves posted a win in their 11th-straight season-opening match with a 9-0 shutout of Fayetteville State on Tuesday afternoon at the Varsity Tennis Courts.
The triumph gave the Braves (1-0) a 13-1 record all-time in season openers, while also helping the Black and Gold stay perfect in its nine-game-old series with their region rivals. It also marked the third-straight year that UNCP has shut out Fayetteville State (0-1).
Taking a 2-0 team lead into competition after forfeit victories in both the No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles matchup, the Braves proved they did not need to be spotted any advantage. Mia Winterbottom and UNCP newcomer Madeline DiNunzio teamed up at No. 2 doubles to post an 8-1 win over Tiane Ellis and Danielle Boone, while Jenna McGary and newcomer Hannah Herlocker posted an 8-3 triumph on court No. 1 over FSU's Varia Love and Brittney Williams. The doubles sweep, inevitably, gave the hosts a 4-0 lead on the team scoreboard heading into singles play.
Christian Minnick registered a 6-0, 6-0 win over Boone at No. 5 singles to clinch the team victory, but UNCP kept the momentum going with straight-set wins the rest of the way out. Herlocker did not surrender a game in besting Chioma Okwara 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3 singles, with DiNunzio registering a similar 6-0, 6-0 win over Ellis on court No. 4.
Winterbottom rebounded from an early 1-0 deficit in the first set to defeat Williams 6-2 and 6-0 at No. 2 singles, and McGary finished off the shutout with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Love in the featured singles match on court No. 1.
UNCP will be back in action again on Saturday when the Braves open Peach Belt Conference play against 30th-ranked Georgia College (1-0) in a noon matchup in Pembroke.