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.
🏆🎾 TICKET PUNCHED!
— NCAA Tennis (@NCAATennis) May 29, 2016
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.
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.
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.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/hayley-carter-named-top-seed-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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
The Tar Heel women’s tennis team is the number three seed in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
It is the 14th time in 15 seasons UNC will host a regional, as they welcome East Tennessee State, Northwestern and Ole Miss.
UNC will take on East Tennessee State May 13 at 1:00 p.m.
After making an appearance in the Elite 8 last year, the Tar Heels are looking to return to 2014 form, when they made it to the national championship final.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-womens-tennis-earns-another-ncaa-national-seed
The UNC women’s tennis team won the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship on Sunday.
The No. 2 Tar Heels went undefeated through the regular season conference slate and entered the tournament in Cary as the top seed. But Carolina faced tough competition with victories over No 28 Wake Forest and No. 16 Virginia before meeting seventh-ranked Miami in the finals.
ACC Champs! pic.twitter.com/KrKFKik9Tc
— UNC Women's Tennis (@UNC_wtennis) April 24, 2016
UNC won the doubles point for an early lead, but Miami came back to tie it up at one. The match was tied at 2-2 when UNC finished off two singles wins for the 4-2 overall victory.
This was the first ACC for the women’s tennis team since 2011 and the seventh conference crown in program history.http://chapelboro.com/featured/unc-womens-tennis-wins-acc-championship
For the third time in three years, Hayley Carter has been named an All-ACC women’s tennis player.
But this year she took home a bigger prize, also being named the ACC Player of the Year.
The junior has been the number one ranked player according to the ITA since March 8 and has a 40-4 singles record.
This is the third consecutive year a Tar Heel has been named the ACC’s top player, with Jamie Loeb taking in the previous two seasons.
Carter’s doubles partner, Whitney Kay, also made first team All-ACC. It was the senior’s first time receiving the honor.
Freshman Jessie Aney was the final Tar Heel on the list, making third team All-ACC.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/hayley-carter-named-acc-player-of-the-year
The UNC women’s tennis team finished off an undefeated conference season on Sunday with a win over No. 16 Georgia Tech.
The second-ranked Tar Heels knocked off the host Yellow Jackets by a 4-3 margin.
This is the second consecutive year that UNC finished the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule undefeated.
Georgia Tech jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before North Carolina clawed back to even the match at 2-2. The match eventually went to 3-3 with UNC senior Ashley Dai down a set. Dai mounted 6-3 and 6-2 victories to take the final two sets and claim her match and the overall victory for the Tar Heels.
UNC now goes into the ACC Championships at the Cary Tennis Center as the number one seed for the fourth consecutive year. UNC will receive a double bye and play in the quarterfinals at 10 o’clock Friday morning.
Meanwhile, the UNC men’s tennis team finished off the regular season schedule with a dominating 6-1 win at Duke on Sunday.
The fifth-ranked Tar Heels finished the regular season with a 24-3 record and a 9-3 mark in conference play.
UNC will go into the ACC Championships as the No. 4 seed, meaning the Tar Heels will receive a double bye and will begin tournament play at four o’clock Friday afternoon.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-womens-tennis-finish-second-straight-undefeated-acc-season