No. 3 Texas falls to No. 4 NC State despite strong showing by Sabina Zeynalova

Maneuvering+around+the+court%2C+freshman+Sabina+Zeynalova+faces+off+against+NC+State%E2%80%99s+senior+Nell+Miller.+Zeynalova+won+her+singles+match+in+two+sets+with+scores+of+6-0+and+6-1.

Mariah Barsotti/The Daily Texan

Maneuvering around the court, freshman Sabina Zeynalova faces off against NC State’s senior Nell Miller. Zeynalova won her singles match in two sets with scores of 6-0 and 6-1.

Angelina Attaway, Sports Reporter

No. 3 Texas women’s tennis fell short to No. 4 NC State 4–3 on Sunday at the Texas Tennis Center.

After losing to Oklahoma in the quarterfinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship last weekend, shattering their 30-match win streak, the Longhorns fell from a No. 1 ranking down to No. 3.

At 12 p.m., doubles matches got underway. Three Longhorn duos met the Wolfpack at the net and exchanged a series of rapid strikes. Texas was unable to keep up and lost the doubles point to NC State, making the match score 1–0. Singles play began shortly after, quickly becoming the main attraction of Sunday’s match. 

Sophomore Charlotte Chavatipon fought hard against NC State’s Priska Nugroho from the jump. However, her serves and fiery backhanded strokes were not enough to keep up with the opposition’s forceful attack, as Chavatipon was handed a 6-2, 6-1 loss. Texas now trailed behind the Wolfpack 2-1, due to an earlier singles victory by freshman Sabina Zeynalova. 

Freshman Vivian Ovrootsky lingered behind in her match against NC State’s Sophie Abrams on court 5. Her defensive stamina was evident throughout, but Ovrootsky ultimately fell short to Abrams with a 6-4, 6-3 loss. NC State racked up their third point of the afternoon, with the Longhorns still at one.

Zeynalova stepped up to a leadership role when she arrived on court 4 with a vengeance Sunday afternoon. Zeynalova’s skills didn’t waver as she dominated the court, uplifting the tone of Texas’ matchplay for her fellow teammates. It was evident to see how Zeynalova became more and more confident in herself, as repeated success with volleys on the baseline progressed into more attacks at the net. Zeynalova was quick to hand NC State their first loss after a 6-0, 6-1 blowout against Nell Miller, giving Texas its first point of the day. 

Similarly, sophomore Malaika Rapolu conquered NC State’s Amelia Rajecki on court 6. The two were neck and neck for most of the match, but Rapolu racked up Texas’ second point with a 7-5, 6-2 victory. 

All eyes were on court 2, watching sophomore Kylie Collins, ranked No. 26 in singles, as she fought through her match. Despite a series of crucial key points and long-winded rallies, Collins fell short on an intense match point, losing 6-3, 6-4. NC State claimed its fourth point, sealing the win against Texas. 

The remaining match on court 1 continued to play out, where Peyton Stearns, ranked No. 42 in singles, battled Jaeda Daniel of NC State, going 6-4, 3-6 in the first two sets. The persistent sophomore won 6-4 in the third set and gave Texas its final point. The curtains closed on the Longhorns’ match with a 4-3 loss against the Wolfpack. Despite the loss, Zeynalova and Rapolu still brought the heat with an unwavering attack on the offensive end. 

The Longhorns will go head-to-head with Stanford this Friday in Palo Alto, California.