CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.– The No. 3 Tar Heel women’s tennis team prepares to defend its national championship from a year ago at the 2014 ITA National Team Indoor Championships this weekend.

And it’s a pair of freshmen leading the way for Carolina this season.

Jamie Loeb won the first two college grand slams in the UNC women’s tennis program’s history in her first semester on UNC’s campus. But what makes her such a special player? Head Coach Brian Kalbas weighs in.

“She hates to lose in practice. She hates to lose any points. She’s always striving to get better. She’s one that’s very talented, but she’s got a tremendous work ethic and she works really hard to improve. That’s what makes her kind of special,” Coach Kalbas says.

The dynamic duo of Loeb and Hayley Carter, who have amassed 23-1 and 23-4 records, respectively, continues to amaze Coach Kalbas. He says their performances have been extraordinary.

“It’s just amazing to have two freshmen come in and have such incredible success early on. I knew coming in that those two were very special. But what they’ve done in a short amount of time in college is pretty remarkable,” Coach Kalbas says.

Interestingly enough, Loeb and Carter actually team up as a doubles team, but Coach Kalbas says their friendly rivalry pushes both of their games to higher levels.

“They definitely push each other. They play doubles together. In practice, they make each other better. It’s tremendous to have freshmen who come in together and are so competitive. They want to beat each other up. It’s a healthy environment for those two,” Coach Kalbas says.

But Coach Kalbas says the Tar Heels are going to need to count on more than just Loeb and Carter to defend their national championship this weekend.

“In this type of format, playing three or four days in row, you are going to have to have everybody really counted on and competing and ready to go. It’s a grueling three or four days of tough competition every single day. We’re going to need our depth to really come through for us,” Coach Kalbas says.