Guilia Pairone smashed a ball to the right side and let out a scream.
Her opponent never even moved.
The senior finished off her singles match with the confidence that the entire No. 10 Michigan women’s tennis team (2-1) exemplified in a 4-0 win over No. 24 Florida (1-2) on Tuesday.
The Wolverines set the tone in the doubles. Sophomore Anca Craciun and junior Alyvia Jones quickly jumped out to a 4-0 lead and had a bounce in their step as they dominated the Gators. In the fifth set, Jones blasted two aces to put the duo on the brink of victory. After dropping the next set, it was Craciun’s turn to serve. She launched one down the middle that Florida’s Marlee Zein mishit and it gave them a 6-1 win in their first ever match together.
“I think both of us were serving really well,” Craciun said. “Once we started getting those easy free points we just kind of loosened up.”
They then turned their attention to the next court over, where Pairone and senior Chiara Lommer looked to secure the doubles point for Michigan. Leading 5-3, Lommer took a deep breath and served the potential match point. She laid it down the left side and the return sailed long, giving the duo the 6-3 win. Lommer let out an emphatic scream and confidently walked forward to shake hands with her opponents, knowing she had put her team in prime position to win.
“I thought we played a really good match,” Pairone said. “I was setting (Lommer) up really well and she was closing off all of the points.”
After grabbing the doubles point, the Wolverines moved to the singles matches and continued to make short work of the Gators.
Freshman Nicole Hammond powered her way to a win in straight sets over Florida’s Ida Jarlskog and quickly gave Michigan a second point.
“She strikes the ball so well, so it’s hard to hang with her,” Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein said. “She made very few unforced errors.”
On the other side of the arena, Pairone and Craciun carried the momentum from their doubles performance. Pairone came out firing against the Gators’ McCartney Kessler and raced out to a 4-1 lead. After trading games, Kessler sent a shot long and Pairone pumped her fist as she took the first set, 6-2.
“I knew how to play with her,” Pairone said. “I was very positive and I knew what to do.”
On the next court over, Craciun was performing with equal confidence against Florida’s Tsveta Dimitrova. She took the first set, 6-1, after Dimotrova sent her return into the net. Craciun calmy walked to her bench to prepare for the next set.
Pairone, though, was anything but calm.
She let out fiery screams after every game and was extremely animated.
“I always have a lot of energy,” Pairone said. “I’m very loud so that’s just who I am.”
She took a 5-1 lead before dropping the next set. It was clear that would be the last time she lost. She laid down some sizzling shots to win the match 6-1, 6-2. After securing the victory, she ran to the bench, dropped her racket and turned to watch her teammate finish off the Gators.
Craciun won two key deuce points to go up, 5-1, but then dropped the next set.
The entire team looked on as Craciun geared up for the final serve of the match. Craciun watched the return sail wide and the match was over.
“I was just looking around at my team,” Craciun said. “I knew they were there for me.”
And after securing the win, Pairone was the first one there to leap into Craciun’s arms.