Akli Earns Top-15 Win as Gamecocks Fall to No. 3 NC State
Columbia, S.C. – No. 20 Ayana Akli earned an upset win over No. 13 Alana Smith of NC State in South Carolina’s 1-6 loss to the third-ranked Wolfpack on Saturday. The Gamecocks put up a valiant fight in doubles but ultimately dropped the point and five of six singles matches.
In doubles, NC State took the first win of the day at doubles #2, but the newly paired team of freshman Alice Otis and senior Elise Mills responded with a win at the #3 position. The Gamecock pair pulled off an impressive come-from-behind win after going down 1-3 early in the set. Otis and Mills fought back to keep themselves in the match and eventually regain the lead for the 6-4 win.
The doubles decision came down to the top court where Akli and sophomore Gracie Mulville were battling against the nation’s No. 8 pair Amelia Rajecki and Nell Miller. The Gamecock pair earned a break midway through the match but was unable to capitalize at match point which opened the door for the Wolfpack to regain the lead and take the win 7-5 to claim the doubles point.
Play moved to singles where the highly touted NC State team proved their strength, taking straight-sets wins on Courts 2 and 5 to go up 3-0 before Akli gained the South Carolina’s lone point.
The Silver Spring, Maryland, native was dominant in her first set, taking it 6-1 before coming back to win the second 6-4. Akli’s win over No. 13 Smith is her highest ranked win of the season. The win marks Akli’s first career win from the No. 1 position as a Gamecock.
No. 97 Sophie Abrams secured the win for the Wolfpack on Court 4 and No. Abigail Rencheli extended their lead with a win on Court 3.
The last match on was between Otis and Miller, a freshman and fifth-year senior. The Gamecock jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first set and went on to take the set 6-3. Miller evened the match with a 7-5 second set and the decision came down to a third set tiebreaker. The more experienced Miller was able to secure the win in the final set 1-0(4).
South Carolina women’s tennis will be in action next in Charlottesville, Virginia, for the ITA Kickoff Weekend. The Gamecocks will take on Northwestern on Fri., Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. and will face either Virginia or Washington State on Saturday. The winner of the weekend will advance to the ITA Indoor National Championships in Seattle, Washington.
For all the latest South Carolina women’s tennis information, continue to follow GamecocksOnline.com or the team on social media (@GamecockWTennis).
#3 NC State Wolfpack 6, South Carolina 1
Doubles (order of finish: 2,3,1)
- #8 Amelia Rajecki/Nell Miller (NCST) def. Ayana Akli/Gracie Mulville (SC) 7-5
- Sophie Abrams/Alana Smith (NCST) def. Allie Gretkowski/Ana Cruz (SC) 6-4
- Alice Otis/Elise Mills (SC) def. Abigail Rencheli/Anna Zyryanova (ST) 6-4
Singles (order of finish 2,5,1,4,3,6)
- #20 Ayana Akli (SC) def. #13 Alana Smith (NCST) 6-1, 6-4
- #23 Amelia Rajecki (NCST) def. Gracie Mulville (SC) 6-4, 6-1
- #25 Abigail Rencheli (NCST) def. Elise Mills (SC) 6-2, 6-3
- #97 Sophie Abrams (NCST) def. Ana Cruz (SC) 6-1, 6-3
- Gina Dittmann (NCST) def. Misa Malkin (SC) 6-1, 6-1
- Nell Miller (NCST) def. Alice Otis (SC) 3-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-4)