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More National Glory For Tar Heel Women’s Tennis

Congratulations are in order for the No. 3 North Carolina women’s tennis team. The Tar Heels claimed their second ITA National Team Indoor Championship in the last three years, winning 4-1 over No. 9 Georgia in Monday’s championship match at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va.

UNC senior Caroline Price, who came oh so close to earning UNC the NCAA title last season, fittingly secured the winning point on court three, outlasting UGA’s Kennedy Shaffer in three sets – 6-1, 2-6, 7-5.

“They’re just amazing fighters,” UNC head coach Brian Kalbas says. “Caroline and Jamie (Loeb) and everybody just kept fighting and I’m just real proud of the effort. Fourth day, everybody’s tired. It’s just amazing to see what people can do when they push themselves to the limit.”

The UNC women's tennis team celebrated abother national championship Monday (UNC Athletics)

The UNC women’s tennis team celebrated another national championship Monday (UNC Athletics)

Price says she felt she had to come through for her team in the clutch this time around.

“I lost the national championship for us last year, it came down to my match,” Price says. “So in my mind I was like, ‘I’m a senior, I’m going to go for it because I’ve already lost it once.’ I didn’t want to go out losing and say I didn’t try to go for it.”

Looking forward to the rest of the season, Coach Kalbas says the sky’s the limit for this deep and talented squad.

“We have pretty much the nucleus of our team back from last year that got to the NCAA finals, so we’re an experience team, a talented team,” Coach Kalbas says. “We can continue to get better throughout the year.

Carolina will look to show off its outdoor skills in the coming weeks, beginning with N.C. State on Thursday, Feb. 19 at 3 p.m. in Raleigh.

 

Georgia vs North Carolina

Feb 09, 2015 at Charlottesville, VA

(Boar’s Head Sports Club)

 

#3 North Carolina 4, #9 Georgia 1

 

Singles competition 

  1. #8 Jamie Loeb (NC) vs. #19 Lauren Herring (UGA) 6-2, 5-7, 3-1, unfinished
  2. #31 Hayley Carter (NC) def. Ellen Perez (UGA) 6-3, 6-4
  3. #22 Caroline Price (NC) def. Kennedy Shaffer (UGA) 6-1, 2-6, 7-5
  4. Whitney Kay (NC) def. #83 Silvia Garcia (UGA) 6-4, 6-3
  5. Ashley Dai (NC) vs. #91 Hannah King (UGA) 4-6, 6-4, 2-5, unfinished
  6. Caroline Brinson (UGA) def. Kate Vialle (NC) 6-3, 4-6, 6-1

 

Doubles competition 

  1. #13 Ashley Dai/Kate Vialle (NC) vs. Lauren Herring/Ellen Perez (UGA) 4-4, unfinished
  2. Jamie Loeb/Caroline Price (NC) def. Kennedy Shaffer/Silvia Garcia (UGA) 6-2
  3. Hayley Carter/Whitney Kay (NC) def. Caroline Brinson/Hannah King (UGA) 6-2

 

Match Notes:

Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (2,4,6,3) 

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/national-glory-tar-heel-womens-tennis/

National Title On The Line For No. 3 Tar Heels

The No. 3 North Carolina women’s tennis team will play for another ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championship Monday after a dominating 4-0 shutout of second-seeded Florida in Sunday’s semifinal.

The Tar Heels, now 8-0, will face No. 8 seed Georgia on Monday at 11 a.m., in search of their second indoor national title in three years. The Tar Heels won their first national indoor championship in 2013.

Whitney Kay and Ashley Dai finished minutes apart on courts four and five, respectively, to send the Tar Heels into the title match against the Bulldogs, who trumped No. 5 California in the other semifinal match on Sunday at the Boar’s Head Tennis Center.

Armed with a deep and talented roster that includes former national champion and No. 1-ranked player in the nation, Jamie Loeb, the Tar Heels will be fully expecting to clinch the winner’s trophy Monday.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/national-title-line-no-3-tar-heels/

Overshadowed Spring Sports Share Same Lofty Goals

All eyes are generally fixed on the basketball hardwood this time of year in Chapel Hill, but a litany of other top-notch UNC sports programs are gearing up for their own chances at ACC and national glory.

***Listen to the story***

The No. 4 UNC women’s tennis team started off its dual match campaign with a pair of victories over in-state foes.

Last weekend, the Tar Heels decisively served past both Elon and Appalachian State, dropping only one match in the process.

The Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center will play host to one of the nation’s top players. Sophomore Jamie Loeb, currently ranked No. 8 in the nation in singles, spent much of her freshman year sitting atop the rankings after a superb 53-4 season individually.

UNC winning ITA Indoor National Title. (UNC Athletics)

UNC winning ITA Indoor National Title. (UNC Athletics)

After falling just short of a national championship in Athens, Georgia a year ago, the Tar Heels, armed with a deep and talented lineup that also includes No. 22 Caroline Price and No. 31 Hayley Carter, could go one better in 2015.

Head coach Brian Kalbas’ Carolina squad will return to action on Jan. 24-25 to face Minnesota and Boston College or LSU.

As for their male counterparts, they’ll be aiming for big things this year as well. The Tar Heel men start off their campaign in the No. 6 position nationally in the preseason rankings released just last week.

UNC returns five starters from last year’s record-breaking team that reached the NCAA quarterfinals. In addition, Carolina also welcomes back senior Esben Hess-Oleson, who sat out last season with an injury, but made significant contributions in previous years.

The Tar Heels return to the courts to open their regular season with home doubleheaders on Jan. 16 and 19.

On the lacrosse field, UNC will yet again be among the nation’s best.

The women’s team begins the year No. 2 in the preseason polls and leads a loaded field in the ACC with five league schools represented in the top seven of the rankings.

With a national championship the goal, it appears the Tar Heels may actually have the talent to do it, with ten UNC women earning spots on the 2015 Face-Off Yearbook preseason All-America team, published by Inside Lacrosse.

UNC Men's Lacrosse claimed the 2013 ACC Championship. (UNC Athletics)

UNC Men’s Lacrosse claimed the 2013 ACC Championship. (UNC Athletics)

As for the men’s lacrosse squad, they check in a few notches lower than the women, but not by much. The Tar Heels were voted as the sixth-best team in the NCAA by the nation’s coaches.

But Carolina will get its chance to prove if it should be placed higher with games against all of the top five-ranked teams looming on its schedule.

Coach Joe Breschi’s team opens its season Feb. 7 at home against Furman.

Although overshadowed by their more famous classmates on the basketball court, at a place like UNC, every sports program seemingly shares the same collective goal – to win a national championship.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/overshadowed-spring-sports-share-lofty-goals/

Tar Heel Jamie Loeb Claims American Collegiate Invitational

Carolina women’s tennis phenom Jamie Loeb is continuing her dominant form into her sophomore year at Chapel Hill. Most recently, Loeb collected some more hardware at the American Collegiate Invitational, held at the site of the U.S. Open.

***Listen to the story***

UNC All-American Loeb was thrilled to add the inaugural American Collegiate Invitational title to her ever-expanding trophy case last Saturday.

Loeb says the new tournament is a wonderful experience for top college players to get a taste of the U.S. Open experience at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.

“I’m really excited and really proud to be the first one to win this tournament. It’s a great experience and awesome how they’ve provided this tournament for collegiate players, giving us more awareness and opportunities,” Loeb says.

Loeb with the trophy (UNC Athletics)

Loeb with the trophy (UNC Athletics)

The local product turned Tar Heel waltzed through the field without dropping a set and beat an in-conference ACC rival in Virginia junior Julia Elbaba in the final match.

But Loeb says the match was a difficult one, featuring a 7-5 first set that took over an hour to complete.

“In the first set, I was struggling a little bit. Physically, I was getting tired. The heat was getting to me a little bit. But I knew I had to power through. Overall, it was pretty tough for both of us,” Loeb says.

The Invitational included eight men and eight women selected from the best players from across the nation. The winners in both divisions are guaranteed a wild card into the qualifying draw of the 2015 U.S. Open.

Jamie Loeb (Sportimeny.com)

Jamie Loeb (Sportimeny.com)

Loeb has that to look forward to next summer, but for now, she’s just enjoying her latest achievement. She says it’s special to have so much support from family and friends.

“I’m so happy all my family, coaches and friends could be here. It was awesome having their support. The crowd got behind both of us. It was awesome in general. I’m really happy everyone was here,” Loeb says.

As for the Tar Heels, they’ll get their fall season underway this weekend in the Ranked +1 Tournament held at the Cary Tennis Park from Sept. 12-14.

With top-ranked Loeb and another four of her teammates all listed in the preseason ITA rankings, Carolina figures to have a legitimate chance for a run at a national championship that just eluded their grasp a year ago in a 4-3 loss to UCLA in the title match.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heel-jamie-loeb-claims-american-collegiate-invitational/

Jamie Loeb Named Player Of The Year

North Carolina’s Jamie Loeb has been named the 2014 ITA National College Player of the Year, the ITA announced on Wednesday.

Loeb, a freshman, wrapped up an impressive season with a 53-4 singles record, including a 19-1 mark in the fall. Her 53 wins are the most in program history for the North Carolina women’s tennis program. The Ossining, New York, native won singles titles at the 2013 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships and Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships.

She has been ranked in the No. 1 spot in the ITA Division I National Singles Rankings since February 11, and is the first female from North Carolina to be the top-ranked singles player. Loeb was named an ITA All-America in both singles and doubles and is the 2014 ITA National Rookie of the Year.

Loeb led her team to a runner-up finish at the 2014 NCAA Team Championships, the first national championship match in program history.

UCLA’s Marcos Giron was named the Men’s National Player of the Year, while Alabama’s Erin Routliffe and Maya Jansen were named the ITA National Women’s Doubles Team of the Year, and Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese of Tennessee were honored on the men’s side.

The ITA College Player of the Year Awards are given to the male and female singles players who have had the most outstanding year in Division I college tennis. The collegiate players will be honored on Saturday, July 12 in Newport, RI at a special Awards Luncheon during the Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend, and immediately prior to the 2014 International Tennis Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/jamie-loeb-named-player-year/

Coach Brian Kalbas Building Powerhouse Tennis Program At Chapel Hill

The record-setting 2013-2014 season for the national runner-up Carolina women’s tennis team has come to close, but with a youthful squad and an infusion of fresh incoming talent, the Tar Heels have a bright future.

***Listen to the story***

Head Coach Brian Kalbas cannot say enough positive things about the milestones recorded by his Tar Heels this season. And who can blame him? Carolina completed the NCAA Tournament run of its life.

“We had never beaten Stanford in our program’s history. They were defending champions. To beat Stanford the way we did it, was really monumental for our program. Getting to the finals was a first for us. When you look back on it, it was a truly special run to the finals for our team,” Coach Kalbas Says.

But Coach Kalbas knew he had the makings of a special team way back last fall. He says it just took the team a while to mesh and find its identity.

“I knew we had, especially at the beginning of the year, we had the ingredients of a special team. You just didn’t know when it was going to come together. I think it took a while for our team to find the niche between a talented freshman class and a senior class that had come through for us in the past,” Coach Kalbas says.

Once all the players grew comfortable in their positions on the squad and the team dynamics were settled, Carolina locked in and suddenly had the makings of a national championship contender. Coach Kalbas credits the late season surge to the spike in play at the bottom of the singles lineup from senior warriors like Tessa Lyons.

“At the end of the year, when it really mattered, the depth was a strength of ours – winning at No. 5 and No. 6 against UCLA. Every point in the NCAA Sweet 16, quarters, semis – we won some big matches at the bottom of our lineup,” Coach Kalbas says.

Carolina’s freshman sensation, Jamie Loeb, who was named the ITA’s top singles player of the year Wednesday, finished with a dominant 53-4 record this season.

But what’s even scarier for future Loeb opponents is that Coach Kalbas believes there are “a lot” of areas in her game that can improve.

“I think there is still a lot of motivation. She’s the kind of person that always wants to get better. There are a lot of areas in her game to get better. As a coaching staff and program, we feel we can do a lot of those things to make her a more complete player. That’s what’s really special about her -she has room to improve and has the desire and work ethic to do it,” Coach Kalbas says.

Coach Kalbas (UNC Athletics)

Coach Kalbas (UNC Athletics)

A strong incoming recruiting class, ranked No. 6 by TennisRecruiting.net, should only further enhance Carolina’s depth. Coach Kalbas says the program is on the upward swing.

“When you bring in those kinds of players with those kinds of aspirations, you have a strong, quality work ethic and professionalism like Jamie [Loeb] and Hayley [Carter] have given to our program this year. It’s really exciting what’s happening with our program right now,” Coach Kalbas says.

Next up for the Tar Heels is a summer of rehabilitation, regrouping and competition. Whitney Kay and Caroline Price are nursing some nagging injuries while Loeb is aiming to improve her ranking on the professional circuit.

But when the Tar Heels reconvene in the fall, Coach Kalbas and the Tar Heels will be primed to take it one step further in 2015 by hoisting up a national championship trophy.

“They can get back to 100 percent, physically. We can really build towards a strong year next year,” Coach Kalbas says.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/coach-brian-kalbas-building-powerhouse-tennis-program-chapel-hill/

UNC Tennis Stars Loeb, Carter Progressing In NCAA Tourney

UNC women’s tennis stars Jamie Loeb and Hayley Carter are still making national noise on the courts of Athens, Georgia.

Fresh off a national runner-up finish in the team competition, two of the top singles competitors in the NCAA are progressing along nicely in the singles championship.

Top-seeded Loeb improved to 52-3 on the year with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Zoe Scandalis of USC Thursday in second round action.

Loeb will next take on Breaunna Addison of Texas Friday with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line. Addison will be a formidable challenge as she is one of only three players to beat Loeb this season.

As for No. 7 Carter, she also won in straight sets 6-2, 6-2 over Arizona State’s Desirae Krawczyk. Jenny Jullien of St. Mary’s will be her Friday challenger.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-tennis-stars-loeb-carter-progressing-ncaa-tourney/

WTen Comes Up Just Short

The North Carolina women’s tennis team fell to UCLA in a 4-3 decision Tuesday afternoon in Athens, Georgia, coming up just short of the program’s first national championship.

With the defeat, the Tar Heels finished the season at 29-6. That mark serves as the best record in the program history for Head Coach Brian Kalbas’ squad.

Perhaps the shocker of the day was at No. 1 singles, where Carolina’s Jamie Loeb lost 6-2, 6-2 to UCLA’s Robin Anderson. Loeb’s 25-match winning streak was snapped to a player she had previously beaten twice last fall en route to individual tournament titles.

Despite the setback, the Tar Heels battled on to tie the match with straight set wins from Hayley Carter and Kate Vialle that tied the match at 2-2.

The match hinged on three final matches. Each of the courts was sent to a third set, but it was UNC’s Caroline Price who couldn’t hold on at court three, despite a valiant effort against Kyle McPhillips that saw her fight off three championship points.

When Price’s final forehand sailed long, UCLA earned its second national title.

Although the team championships are finished, individual glory is still at stake for many of the Tar Heels. Top seed Loeb, 50-2 on the year, will be looking to rebound from Tuesday’s disappointment while Carter will also feature in the singles draw.

Singles play begins Wednesday afternoon with doubles action starting up Thursday.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolina-comes-just-short-first-national-title-bruin-battle/

Tar Heel Women To Play For Program’s First National Title

The seventh-seeded North Carolina women’s tennis team, 29-5 on the season, defeated defending national champion Stanford 4-3 Monday afternoon in the Final Four and will now play for its first national championship against fifth-seeded UCLA on Tuesday at 1 p.m.

A spot in the finals came down to the singles match on court one between the Tar Heels’ top- ranked Jamie Loeb and Stanford’s third-ranked senior Kristie Ahn.

Ahn outlasted Loeb in the opening set, winning in a tiebreak 7-6. But Loeb rolled by Ahn from there, double-bageling her in the final two sets 6-0, 6-0 to clinch the overall match victory for the Tar Heels and send Carolina to their first title match in program history.

The doubles point proved crucial yet again for the Tar Heels as the early 1-0 lead was necessary for a UNC team that dropped three singles matches to square proceedings up at 3-3 with the Loeb-Ahn match serving as the decider.

No. 2 UNC singles player Hayley Carter continued her dominant play by dismissing Stanford’s Krista Hardebeck 6-2, 6-1.

Carter now sports an impressive 46-6 record while Loeb’s win was her 50th of the season. The freshman duo has propelled the Caroline team to new heights this season and now, they sit on the doorstep of the ultimate prize, a national title.

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics

Women’s Semifinal: #7 NORTH CAROLINA (29-5) def. #11 STANFORD (20-3), 4-3 – McWhorter Courts

Doubles (Order of finish: 2,3,1)

1. #3 Jamie Loeb/Hayley Carter (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #10 Kristie Ahn/Carol Zhao (STANFORD), 8-5
2. #13 Whitney Kay/Caroline Price (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #50 Taylor Davidson/Ellen Tsay (STANFORD), 8-2
3. Caroline Doyle/Krista Hardebeck (STANFORD) def. Ashley Dai/Tessa Lyons (NORTH CAROLINA), 8-4

Singles (Order of finish: 2,4,3,6,5,1)

1. #1 Jamie Loeb (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #3 Kristie Ahn (STANFORD), 6-7(4), 6-0, 6-0
2. #5 Hayley Carter (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #51 Krista Hardebeck (STANFORD), 6-2, 6-1
3. #59 Caroline Price (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #21 Carol Zhao (STANFORD), 6-4, 6-4
4. #50 Taylor Davidson (STANFORD) def. Whitney Kay (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-3, 6-2
5. #54 Ellen Tsay (STANFORD) def. Kate Vialle (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-2, 7-6(4)
6. #57 Caroline Doyle (STANFORD) def. Tessa Lyons (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-2, 6-3

 

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heel-women-play-programs-first-national-title/

Carolina Women’s Tennis Reaches Final Four, Defending Champs Await

The seventh-seeded North Carolina women’s tennis team battled past second-seeded Alabama, claiming a 4-2 win Saturday in Athens, Georgia to advance to the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship Final Four.

***Listen to the story***

With the victory, the Tar Heels improved to 28-5 on the season while the Crimson Tide finished at 25-5 overall.

Freshman Jamie Loeb, the No.1-ranked singles player in the nation, as has become customary, took care of her opponent with ease, dispatching Mary Anne Daines 6-2, 6-3.

But it was Carolina’s No. 2 singles player, Hayley Carter, who ultimately clinched the match with a thrilling three-set win, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. Watch Hayley Carter’s match-clinching point by clicking here.

Loeb says the team is aided by a fighting spirit in the ‘win or go home’ format of the NCAA Tournament.

“We showed up with a lot of passion and intensity, I think all of us really wanted it. We had a really good talk. I think that really motivated us,” Loeb says.

Carolina celebrates the NCAA quarterfinal victory! (GoHeels.com)

Carolina celebrates the NCAA quarterfinal victory! (GoHeels.com)

Head Coach Brian Kalbas says Tessa Lyons, at the No. 6 singles lot, certainly provided a positive boost to the team when she secured the opening set on her court.

Lyons says although the Tar Heels won an indoor national title last year, getting to the Final Four is its own special accomplishment.

“This is my first ever Final Four. We’ve won an indoor national championship, but this is a big prize,” Lyons says.

Carolina has earned a trip back to the Final Four for the first time since 2010. This year, they’ll be facing defending champion and eleventh-seeded Stanford on Monday at 1 p.m. The Cardinal sport a 20-2 record and are coming off an upset victory over the third-seeded Virginia Cavaliers.

The other national semifinal will pit two storied college tennis programs against each other as No. 4 UCLA meets No. 8 Florida.

One of the biggest storylines of Monday’s UNC-Stanford showdown will be on court one, where No.1 will meet No. 3. The singles match between No. 1 Loeb and No. 3 Kristie Ahn has the potential to set the tone for the day’s play. Ahn will be hoping to exact some revenge on Loeb this time around as the Carolina freshman took the pair’s only meeting last October.

Loeb will anchor the Tar Heel lineup with her trademark competitiveness and grit that few players have the tenacity to match. She says she’s learned to handle the pressure of being the player to beat every time she steps out onto the court.

“I’m used to playing under pressure. I just go out there and do what I need to do. I can’t really control certain things, but I just try to focus on myself and getting the job done,” Loeb says.

Despite the impressive run, Lyons says her team still has work left to do, especially with the defending champions next on deck. She fully expects another competitive fight.

“We can’t really celebrate. We got another match to play. We got to move on to the next match and get ready. I know it will be even tougher,” Lyons says.

Although Carolina comes into the Final Four with the least experience of the four programs, Coach Kalbas believes the doubles point could be the deciding factor. And that’s a specialty for the Tar Heels, who’ve only dropped four doubles points all year in 33 dual matches.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolina-womens-tennis-reaches-final-four-defending-champs-await/