Following Tuesday’s narrow 4-3 win over Elon, Appalachian State University won more comfortably, 7-0, over non-conference opponent UNC Asheville at Yonahlossee Racquet Club on Wednesday. Appalachian State (6-3, 1-0 SoCon) retains an unbeaten 5-0 mark at home, while
UNCA (4-8, 0-1 Big South) suffers its second-straight shutout.
The victory also marks Appalachian's third home sweep of the season. In five matches, the Black and Gold have outscored opponents 30-5 in team points in Boone.
The match began with Appalachian’s No. 3 doubles pair of senior Blakeley Bean (Alpharetta, Ga./South Forsyth) and sophomore Jessica Thaggard (Acworth, Ga./Etowah) jumping out to a 4-1 lead before closing out the match in an impressive 8-2 fashion.
At No. 2 doubles, ASU seniors Gisela Fernandez (Guadalajara, Mexico/TEC Monterrey) and Gabriela Celi (Orlando, Fla./Lake Howell) broke their opponents’ serve in the first game of the match. Leading 5-4, the Mounataineers won three-straight games to close out an 8-4 victory to clinch the doubles point.
In the top doubles match, Appalachian State juniors Ellie Linsell (Southampton, England/Cheam) and Jennifer Ansari (Greensboro, N.C./Walter Hines Page) found themselves down a pair of break points, 2-5, but rallied to win four straight games to take a 6-5 lead. With momentum behind them, the ASU duo calmly held serve and used an 8-6 win to sweep the doubles.
In singles action, Ansari made short work of her No. 2 opponent, cruising to a 6-1 win in the first set. The Mountaineer broke out of a 3-3 tie midway through her latter set and wasted no time picking up the 6-1, 6-4 victory to extend ASU’s lead to 2-0.
At No. 3 singles, Celi had trouble getting past her Bulldog foe in the opening set, but after the pair split 11 games on serve, the first break fell in Celi’s favor for a 7-5 set. In her second set, Celi piled on the pressure and notched a 7-5, 6-1 win.
Appalachian’s top singles player, Linsell, pulled out a 6-3 first set, but UNCA’s Zoe Hamel rebutted with a 6-3 win of her own. In the decisive set, Hamel led 5-4, serving for the match, but Linsell recovered and won three straight games, including two breaks, to clinch a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win and secure an insurmountable 4-0 lead for ASU.
Freshman Gabby Gabriel (Weddington, N.C./Providence Day) earned her third-straight two-set victory in her No. 5 match. She broke open a 4-0 lead to start the opening set and preserved a 6-1 win. Though she dropped the opening game of the second set, Gabriel dominate in six-consecutive games, earning a 6-1, 6-1 win.
No. 4 singles saw Appalachian’s Thaggard lose serve in the opening game, but the App broke back and held to break again in the final game of a 6-4 set. Her Bulldog opponent stole a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Thaggard broke twice and won four straight for a 4-3 advantage, and she tallied a final break point to seal the match, 6-4, 6-4.
In the day’s final match on the courts, Appalachian’s Fernandez competed in her first singles match of the season. After ASU took the first two games, UNCA’s Amie Cloer leveled the match at 2-2. Fernandez broke later in the set and took it, 6-4. In the second set, Fernandez stole two breaks, leaping out to a 3-0 lead, and she had no trouble serving out the match for a 6-4, 6-2 win.
The Mountaineers now begin a six-match road trip, extending across four states. This weekend, Appalachian travels to North Carolina Central on Saturday at 2 p.m. before making a stop at College of Charleston on Sunday at 10 a.m.