Everyone loves a good underdog story.
On Saturday, sophomores Kara Miller and Gala Mesochoritou were underdogs who earned the No. 20 Michigan women’s tennis team its only two points in a 5-2 loss to No. 2 North Carolina.
Miller, ranked No. 17 in the nation, was coming off her first dual-match win her last time out against Georgia Tech. She looked to carry the momentum from that win into her No. 1 singles match against the Tar Heels’ Cameron Morra— the fifth-ranked player in the nation.
Miller came out firing. Maintaining a constant pressure throughout the first set, she was able to secure a 6-0 sweep to take a lead. She faltered in the second set, though, as Morra came back and took an early 3-0 lead. Trying to mount a comeback, Miller was able to take the next two sets, yet ultimately fell 6-2. But in the third set, she was able to bounce back, powering her way to a 6-1 win and securing the upset victory.
“She lost a little bit of momentum right in the middle there,” Michigan coach Ronni Bernstein said. “She competes so hard and after losing the second set, she regrouped and played a great third set. Really great.”
Despite having a fantastic first set, Miller really showcased her skills in the third set. Morra, carrying the energy from her second-set win and shaking off the tough first-set loss, delivered a barrage of powerful slams, each one getting faster than the previous. The pressure didn’t get to Miller, though, as she kept her composure and consistently matched Morra’s intensity.
On the opposite side of the complex was sophomore Gala Mesochoritou at No. 6 singles, who continued to prove that the ACL injury she suffered in 2021 was not going to hold her back. Her elite performance reminded everyone of the level she played at before her injury, when she went undefeated in 17 singles matches.
“Gala at 6, coming back from what she’s been through, was a fantastic lift for us,” Bernstein said.
Mesochoritou took the match in straight sets, ending with a 6-3 first set win and a hard-fought 7-5 second-set win. This win secured the Wolverines’ first point and provided a much-needed morale boost for the rest of the team.
Although Michigan fans didn’t see the upset they craved, they got a fantastic showing from two young, promising athletes. Despite being the underdogs in their respective matches, they persevered and proved that there’s a bright season ahead for the Wolverines.