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Athletics

Back-to-back national champions

Top-seeded Carolina beat No. 3 Texas to claim its fifth ITA National Team Indoor championship in the last nine seasons

Graphic with several images of Carolina tennis players
Carolina has won ITA National Team Indoor championships in 2013, 2015, 2018, 2020 and 2021.

STILLWATER, Oklahoma – North Carolina would not be denied in winning back-to-back ITA National Team Indoor Championships for the first time in program history.

Trailing 3-2 in the match, the top-seeded Tar Heels found themselves in a deep hole on the two remaining courts they had to win. As champions do, North Carolina (7-0) rallied behind wins from Fiona Crawley and Elizabeth Scotty for a remarkable 4-3 victory over No. 3 Texas on Sunday night from Oklahoma State’s Greenwood Tennis Center to record the fifth indoor national championship in the last nine seasons.

Carolina has won indoor national crowns in 2013, 2015, 2018, 2020 and 2021. Only Stanford (10) and Florida (7) have won more indoor championships.

The match started at 10:35 p.m., over three hours late after three consolation matches took longer than expected to complete.

Texas didn’t let the long wait affect them and quickly grabbed early leads on all three doubles courts. Freshmen Lulu Sun and Kylie Collins picked off the third-ranked Tar Heel duo of Sara Daavettila and Alexa Graham on court one by a 6-2 margin. The Longhorns other freshmen tandem of Charlotte Chavatipon and Peyton Stearns clinched the opening point on court three with a 6-2 win over Alle Sanford and Reilly Tran.

Carolina flip-flopped two of its senior All-Americans on courts one and two, and that decision paid dividends when No. 3 Alexa Graham picked up a 6-3, 6-2, victory on court two over No. 94 Lulu Sun to knot the match up at 1-1.

Texas regained the lead briefly with a win on court five, but No. 4 Sara Daavettila answered back with a win over Stearns, the top-rated newcomer according to the ITA’s preseason rankings, on court one.

Daavettila’s 6-3, 6-4 victory not only snapped a streak of nine-straight singles wins for Stearns, but left the Tar Heel fifth-year standout with an unblemished 15-0 record all-time in this event.

Court three went in favor of the Longhorns to give them a 3-2 lead. In a battle of top-six ranked players, No. 5 Anna Turati defeated Carolina’s No. 6 Cameron Morra, 6-3, 7-5.

Carolina had to win the final two matches on courts four and six to defend its 2020 title won last year in Chicago.

Carolina freshman No. 120 Fiona Crawley dropped the opening set, and trailed 4-1 in the third, before showing incredible poise in storming back to post a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over senior Fernada Labrana.

The championship-deciding point would come from either Tar Heel sophomore No. 79 Elizabeth Scotty or Texas freshman No. 125 Charlotte Chavatipon.

Chavatipon won the first set and looked in control of the second set as well, but Scotty fought back and forced a second-set tiebreaker that she won 7-3.

In the last set, Scotty fell behind 2-0, before winning the final six points to secure the win that finished just before 2 a.m. Monday in the east coast.

The victory increased Carolina’s winning streak to 25 matches, the second-longest in program history.

Read more on GoHeels.com.