Five from UNC Tennis Earn Academic Honor

Five UNC tennis players have recently earned an academic honor from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Four members from the UNC women’s tennis team earned ITA Scholar-Athlete status – junior All-America Hayley Carter, senior Ashley Dai, senior Whitney Kay and freshman Jessie Aney.

It was Carter’s third time receiving the recognition and the first time for her three teammates.

The Tar Heels women’s team also received the ITA All-Academic Team award by recording a cumulative grade-point-average of 3.20 or better.

Meanwhile, rising sophomore Blaine Boyden was named an ITA Scholar-Athlete from the men’s team.

Both programs had tremendous seasons with Carter spending most of the year as the top-ranked singles player in the country. The women’s team finished the season as the fourth-ranked team in the country, while the men’s side finished the season ranked No. 5.

Being an ITA Scholar-Athlete requires that the student-athlete be a varsity letter winner, have a GPA of at least 3.50 and have been enrolled at their present school for at least two semesters.

UNC’s Hayley Carter Named Women’s Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year

UNC junior Hayley Carter has been named the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Commissioner John Swofford announced on Thursday.

Carter was the 2016 ACC Player of the Year and ACC Women’s Championship MVP for her performance on the court for the Tar Heels this season. Carter earned the No. 1 seed in the singles bracket of the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the title match. Carter and senior captain Whitney Kay made up the No. 1 seed in the doubles bracket; the duo made it to the semifinals in the doubles bracket.

Kay and freshman Jessie Aney joined Carter on the All-Academic Team.

Carter was named All-America in both singles and doubles by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

An economics major from Hilton Head, South Carolina, Carter was also selected to the 2016 Academic All-America Division I Women’s At-Large First Team, announced June 9 by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). She was the only tennis player named to the 15-member first team.

Both UNC Tennis Teams Finish in Top 5, Seven Tar Heels Named All-Americans

The season may not have ended exactly according to script for the UNC men’s and women’s tennis teams, but their work was certainly rewarded in the year-end polls.

After setting a school record with 31 wins–including 21 straight before its Round of 16 loss to Virginia in the NCAA Tournament–the women’s squad (31-3) was ranked No. 4  in the final Oracle/ITA Collegiate Women’s Tennis Rankings released on Wednesday.

The men’s team finished out the season ranked fifth after making a third straight NCAA Quarterfinal appearance–where the Tar Heels were sent home by Georgia.

Hayley Carter was UNC’s highest ranked individual, ending the year as the No. 2 women’s player in the nation.

She posted a 49-5 singles record and advanced to the NCAA Singles Championship Final last weekend–where she came up short against Virginia’s Danielle Collins.

Ronnie Schneider earned All-American honors for advancing to the Round of 16 in last week's NCAA Singles Tournament. (Jeffrey A. Camarati/ UNC Athletics)

Ronnie Schneider earned All-American honors for advancing to the Round of 16 in last week’s NCAA Singles Tournament. (Jeffrey A. Camarati/ UNC Athletics)

Along with her teammate Whitney Kay, Carter was also was named an All-American in doubles competition. They combined for a 37-7 record on their way to the NCAA Doubles Semifinals–ending the year No. 3 in the rankings.

On the men’s side, senior Brett Clark and sophomore Robert Kelly earned All-America honors for their own performance as a doubles pairing.

Clark and Kelly were ranked No. 4 in the final rankings, but had a chance to be No. 1. Unfortunately, an injury to Kelly forced them to withdraw ahead of the NCAA Doubles Championship Final.

Their recognition gives the Tar Heels five All-Americans on the men’s side.

Ronnie Schneider finished the year ranked No. 23, but was honored for reaching the Round of 16 in the NCAA Singles Tournament, while Brayden Schnur (ranked No. 30) and Jack Murray earned the distinction for reaching the Quarterfinals in the NCAA Doubles Tournament.

Collins Defeats Hayley Carter in Straight Sets, Ends UNC’s Back-to-Back Title Hopes

Not only was Hayley Carter seeking her first national championship on Sunday at the Michael Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma–the UNC junior, ranked No. 1 in the nation, was hoping to give the Tar Heels back-to-back singles titles after Jamie Loeb won it all a year ago.

Unfortunately, Danielle Collins had other ideas.

The Virginia Cavaliers’ star defeated Carter in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, in the NCAA Women’s Tennis Final–putting on an absolute clinic in a matchup between the country’s top two players.

It’s the second career national championship for Collins, who also won as a sophomore in 2014.

For Carter, it’s a bitter pill to swallow after being atop the individual rankings since March 8. Her reign of nearly three months began shortly after she earned a straight set victory (7-6, 6-3) over Collins on March 4.

On top of that, it was Collins and Virginia that eliminated the Tar Heels from the NCAA Team Tournament just last week.

The match was just the third time all season Carter was defeated in straight sets–and first since November.

A native of Hilton Head, South Carolina, Carter finishes the season with a record of 49-5.

Hayley Carter Advances to NCAA Women’s Tennis Final

Although she’s received many different accolades in her illustrious career, UNC women’s tennis star Hayley Carter has yet to win a national championship.

That may be changing soon.

The No. 1 ranked player in the nation, Carter reached the doorstep of her first title on Sunday–defeating No. 8 Sinead Lohan of the Miami Hurricanes 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 in their NCAA Tournament Semifinal match at the Michael Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Carter–a three-time All-American who entered the tournament 44-4 for the Tar Heels in 2016–staged a tremendous rally after finding herself on the brink of elimination midway through the match.

After taking the first set with ease, Lohan took a 5-4 lead in the second–needing to win just one more game to advance.

It was an unusual spot for Carter, the 5-foot-11 junior, as she had yet to even be threatened–let alone play in a three-set match–during her tournament run.

Showing nerves of steel, though, she fought back to win the second set–before cruising to a third set victory that clinched her spot in the next round.

Now, she finds herself just one win away from the biggest moment of her career.

Up Next:

The championship match will pit Carter against No. 2 Danielle Collins of Virginia–a former national champion.

They have played each other three times already this season, with Carter holding a 1-0 record. The other two matches were suspended due to the team match finishing first.

Match Notes:

  • It was just Carter’s second three-set win of the year.
  • A two-time All-American as a sophomore, Lohan falls in the semifinals this year after bowing out in the quarterfinals as a freshman.

Hayley Carter Named Top Seed In NCAA Tournament

UNC junior Hayley Carter has been named the top seed in the singles bracket of the 2016 NCAA women’s tennis tournament.

Carter will face Lauren Chypyha of Wisconsin in the Round of 64. She has a 44-4 singles record this season, and has been the top-ranked player in the nation since March 8.

In the singles tournament she will be joined by teammates No. 57 Jessie Aney and No. 41 Whitney Kay

Kay is slated to take on Georgia’s 28th-ranked Kennedy Shaffer and Aney will battle No. 32 Astra Sharma of Vanderbilt in her NCAA singles debut.

Carter and Kay are also part of the top-ranked doubles team and will take on Nour Abbes and Miki Kobayashi from Washington.

Virginia Stuns UNC Women’s Tennis in NCAA Tournament

For three months, a span that includes 21 matches and a perfect 17-0 ACC record, the No. 3 UNC women’s tennis team has consistently found a way to top its competition.

That narrative came crashing to a sudden halt Thursday morning in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the Michael Case Tennis Center–when the No. 14 Virginia Cavaliers shocked the Tar Heels 4-2 in the NCAA Tournament round of 16.

The nation’s No. 12 player, Virginia’s Julia Elbaba, put the finishing touches on the upset by defeating No. 41 Whitney Kay, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3, in a three-set thriller.

They battled for over three hours, but head coach Brian Kalbas’s Tar Heels came up just a bit short on a day that required a number of clutch performances.

Danielle Collins, a former NCAA champion in singles competition, played a large role in Virginia's doubles victory. (

Danielle Collins, a former NCAA champion in singles competition, played a large role in Virginia’s doubles victory over UNC. (

After losing the doubles point for just the third time all year, UNC (31-3) recovered to take a 2-1 lead during singles competition with strong play from Ashley Dai and Marika Akkerman.

Akkerman finished first with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Erica Susi, while Dai defeated Cassie Mercer 6-2, 6-3 shortly after.

The Cavaliers (19-10) then tied it up 2-2 with a 6-3, 6-1 victory by Meghan Kelley over the Tar Heels’ Kate Vialle.

Each of the other three singles matches, though, needed three sets to decide a winner.

UNC freshman Jessie Aney, ranked No. 57, won her first set, 6-3, against Virginia senior Stephanie Nauta. Nauta recovered, however, and took the match by winning each of the next two sets 6-0, 6-0.

This left the Tar Heels’ fate in the hands of their two best players–Kay and No. 1 Hayley Carter.

Each would need to pull out wins for UNC to advance, while Virginia needed to win just one of the final two matches to punch its ticket to the quarterfinals.

Locked in a battle between the country’s top two players, Carter was leading her match with No. 2 Danielle Collins, 6-4, 2-6, 5-4, when Elbaba finished off Kay and clinched the team victory for Virginia.

Trailing 4-3 in the final set against Elbaba, Kay had three opportunities for a break point–which would have tied the set 4-4.

Momentum swung back Virginia’s way, however, as Elbaba recovered to win both the game and the match for her team.

The Tar Heels could only watch as their opponents–who they had previously beaten twice this season–celebrated on the court afterwards.

Match Notes:

  • The Tar Heels finish the year 1-2 in matches where they lost the doubles point.
  • Virginia’s Danielle Collins and Meghan Kelley–the No. 18 doubles team–knocked off UNC’s Hayley Carter and Whitney Kay–the No. 2 doubles team– by a score of 6-4.
  • Elbaba is the all-time leader in singles wins for Virginia, with over 130 in her career. She has also been named All-ACC First Team in each of the last four years.



UNC Women’s Tennis Slips Past Northwestern into Sweet 16

Having won 20 matches in a row entering Saturday’s second round of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Team Tournament, UNC found itself in an unfamiliar situation against Northwestern–needing one of its final two singles competitors to keep the season alive.

Luckily for head coach Brian Kalbas, some big heart showed up in the form of the team’s smallest player.

Senior Ashley Dai, who stands just 5-feet-2-inches tall, defeated the Wildcats’ Brooke Rischbeith 7-6, 3-6, 6-0 to give the Tar Heels a 4-2 victory at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill.

Had Rischbeith been able to win the third set against Dai, and thus the individual match, Northwestern would have been in prime position to take the overall team match.

The Tar Heels found themselves in a bit of an unfamiliar position late in the match against Northwestern. (Jeffrey A. Camarati/ UNC Athletics)

The Tar Heels found themselves in a bit of an unfamiliar position late in the match against Northwestern. (Jeffrey A. Camarati/ UNC Athletics)

Alicia Barnett held a 4-3 lead over UNC’s Jessie Aney in the third set of their singles competition, which was stopped only because Dai clinched the win for the Tar Heels.

UNC (31-2) earned the doubles team point with stellar showings from the teams of Aney and Kate Vialle–who won their match 6-0–and Hayley Carter and Whitney Kay–who won their match 6-3.

Not until singles competition did Northwestern mount a push, splitting the first four of those contests with the Tar Heels.

Carter (7-5, 6-4) and freshman Chloe Ouellet-Pizer (6-2, 6-2) each did their part for UNC, though, picking up points against a Wildcat team that played well above the 14-11 record it finishes the year with.

But it was Dai that came up big for the Tar Heels when it mattered most, sending them onto the next round with their national title hopes still intact.

Up Next:

UNC will be back in action on Thursday, May 19 when it takes on an ACC rival, Virginia, at 10:00 a.m.

The Tar Heels defeated Virginia 4-3 in Charlottesville back on March 3, and again in the ACC Tournament on April 23–but by a score of 4-1 in the second matchup.

Game Notes:

  • UNC has now set a new school record with 31 wins in a season. The Tar Heels 16-0 record at home this year also extends their home winning streak to 41 matches.
  • The match was just the 12th time in 33 outings that the Tar Heels allowed their opponents to score at least two team points.
  • On 14 occasions this season UNC has shutout its opponent.




UNC Women’s Tennis Knocks Off ETSU, Moves to Second Round in NCAA Tourney

The No. 3 UNC women’s tennis team began its run through the NCAA Tournament Friday afternoon, knocking off the East Tennessee State Buccaneers 4-0.

Playing in Chapel Hill at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center, the Tar Heels (30-2) extended their winning streak to 20 matches–as they haven’t lost since facing Michigan on the road back in early February.

Despite entering the day as champions of the Southern Conference, the Buccaneers (20-3) were simply no match against a talented UNC team that has been among the nation’s best all year.

The Tar Heels earned the doubles point by winning two out of the three doubles matches on the schedule, and were also ahead in the third match 5-4 when play was stopped due to UNC already having earned the team point.

Led by a pair of talented freshmen and one of the top players in the nation–5-foot-11-inch junior Hayley Carter–UNC then went on to dominate the singles portion of the match.

Carter defeated East Tennessee State’s Lyn Yee Choo in straight sets, winning the first set 6-3 and the second set 6-1.

As that was happening, Jessie Aney and Chloe Oullet-Pizer–the only freshmen on the UNC roster–won their matches in quick fashion as well.

Aney was the first to finish her match, as she beat Regina Nychytailova 6-1, 6-1. Carter finished her victory soon after, leaving Oullet-Pizer as the one who could clinch the win.

Once she finished off the second set of a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Ioanna Markesini, the Tar Heels and head coach Brian Kalbas were officially on to the next round

Up Next:

The Tar Heels will be back in action on Saturday at 3 p.m. for their second round match against Northwestern, which defeated Mississippi 4-0 earlier on Friday.

Game Notes:

  • When the match was clinched, UNC was ahead in all but one of the six singles matchups.



Carter Named Top Seed in Women’s Tennis Tournament

Hayley Carter will be representing the UNC women’s tennis team as the top overall seed in both the singles and doubles brackets of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships.

Carter’s doubles partner, Whitney Kay, and freshman Jessie Aney also received selections to the singles field.

UNC received the No. 3 overall seed in the NCAA Team Championship, which will begin on May 13 when the Tar Heels host East Tennessee State University.
The singles and doubles competition will follow the team bracket on May 25 – 30 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.