Price, Sankey Win Patterson Medals

Congratulations to Caroline Price and Joey Sankey, star UNC athletes who have just earned this year’s Patterson Medals, the most prestigious athletic honor awarded by the university.

Price is the first women’s tennis player to win the Patterson Medal. She led the Tar Heel women’s tennis team to its winningest four-year stretch ever, with two ITA Indoor National Championships in 2013 and 2015 and a runner-up finish in the 2014 NCAA championship. As an individual, Price was an All-American in singles as a sophomore, an All-American in doubles as a junior, and a first-team All-ACC selection in 2015. She ranks second all-time in singles victories at UNC with 128.

Joey Sankey is only the second men’s lacrosse player to win the honor and the first since 2005. With 229 points, he’s Carolina’s all-time leading scorer. He was a third-team All-America as a sophomore and junior and second-team All-America this year; he’s also a three-time All-ACC pick, plus earning Academic All-ACC honors and USILA Scholar All-America honors for his work in the classroom.

The Patterson medal has been awarded since 1924. It’s based primarily on athletic accomplishment, but sportsmanship and leadership are also considered.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/price-sankey-win-patterson-medals/

National Title Runs Begin In Chapel Hill

It will be a busy weekend for many UNC spring sports with NCAA Tournaments getting underway right here in Chapel Hill.

In tennis, second-seeded North Carolina begins its national title quest as a host for the the first and second rounds of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship at Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.

The 27-1 Tar Heels will hope to advance out of a regional that features Dartmouth, Quinnipiac and William & Mary right here in Chapel Hill.

First up, Carolina will take on Quinnipiac at 12 p.m. Saturday.

Brayden Schnur pumps himself up (UNC Athletics)

Brayden Schnur pumps himself up (UNC Athletics)

As for the men’s tennis team, the No. 13 Tar Heels will also be hosting NCAA action at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center, but they’ll serve it up Friday at 1 p.m. against William & Mary in round one.

The 21-10 Tar Heels will be hoping to bounce back from a tough loss to Virginia in the ACC Tournament semifinals.

As for the UNC lacrosse teams, the third-seeded Tar Heels, 12-3 overall, will welcome winners of the Patriot League, Colgate, to Chapel Hill Sunday for a game slated for 5:15 p.m.

Head coach Jenny Levy’s women’s lacrosse team, which lost a heartbreaker to Syracuse in the ACC Tournament championship game, will get its NCAA Tournament campaign started Sunday at 1 p.m. at UNC’s Fetzer Field.

The No. 2 Tar Heels will take on the winner of the Florida-Stanford first round game to be contested Friday.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/national-title-runs-begin-in-chapel-hill/

Tar Heel Tennis To Host NCAA Tourney Openers

The Tar Heel men’s and women’s tennis teams found out their NCAA Tournament fates Tuesday evening.

For the 13th time in the last 14 seasons, the women will host a home regional – this time as the No. 2 national seed.

Head coach Brian Kalbas’ Tar Heels dropped their first match of the season last weekend in the ACC Tournament and will look to rebound in their NCAA Tournament opener May 9 against Quinnipiac, the MAAC champions.

Should UNC prevail in the opening match, it will face the winner of the contest between William & Mary and Dartmouth the following day.

As for the men’s tennis squad, they’ve been handed a No. 13 seed nationally and will also be hosting here in Chapel Hill May 8. Meeting the Tar Heels in their regional will be William & Mary, Mississippi State and Denver.

For the complete women’s bracket, click here.

For the complete men’s bracket, click here.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heel-tennis-to-host-ncaa-tourney-openers/

ACC Tournament Season In Full Swing

It’s the spring ACC Tournament season. And many UNC programs have high hopes on conference title trophies and banners.

The No. 2 UNC women’s lacrosse team got the postseason off to a flying start Thursday with an 18-12 victory over Virginia Tech at Klockner Stadium in league quarterfinal action.

The top-seeded Tar Heels held a tenuous 8-7 lead at halftime but scored 10 goals on 14 second-half shots to pull away after the break.

UNC won its sixth game in a row and improved to 7-0 in the ACC quarterfinals all-time while maintaining their perfect mark against Virginia Tech. The Tar Heels have advanced to Friday’s 1 p.m. semifinal against Notre Dame.

The No. 2 UNC men’s lacrosse team gets its ACC Tournament campaign underway Friday night at 8 p.m. at PPL Park in Pennsylvania. Carolina will face No. 4 Syracuse in a rematch of UNC’s thrilling regular season win.

UNC head coach Joe Breschi’s Tar Heels will be searching for their 13th ACC title.

The No. 1 UNC women’s tennis team, meanwhile, is looking to stay undefeated as its get its ACC Tourney matches started down the road at the Cary Tennis Park Friday afternoon.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/acc-tournament-season-in-full-swing/

The Rammys: Top Tar Heels Honored, Spiffy Uniforms Unveiled

The best and brightest in Carolina athletics were recognized Monday night inside Carmichael Arena. Once again, the blue carpet was rolled out for The Rammys and this time, new uniforms came with it.

It was a star-studded evening full of memories, highlights and laughs.

***Listen to the story***

The new-look Rammy trophy designed by former UNC gymnast Zoya Johnson (UNC Athletics)

The new-look Rammy trophy designed by former UNC gymnast Zoya Johnson (UNC Athletics)

UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham took to the Alexander Julian argyle-themed stage to highlight the community, athletic and academic achievements of the last year.

Kennedy Meeks in action (Nick Vitali)

Kennedy Meeks in action (Nick Vitali)

Jones Angell, the Voice of the Tar Heels, quipped a few jokes in his emcee duties and sophomore men’s basketball forward Kennedy Meeks brought the house down with his rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’.

The famous Chapel Hill IP3 pizza was delivered to the hungry audience and the UNC coaches got their groove on to the popular song ‘Shake It Off.’

But through it all, the glittering gold Rammy trophies were the most coveted prize for the hundreds of Tar Heel student-athletes in attendance.

Male Breakthrough Athlete went to UNC football walk-on Mack Hollins, who came out of nowhere to electrify the Kenan Stadium crowd last fall.

Mack Hollins burst on the scene in 2014 (Chatsports.com)

Mack Hollins burst on the scene in 2014 (Chatsports.com)

His female counterpart was star volleyballer Ece Taner, who grabbed the gold for her outstanding contributions to Joe Sagula’s ACC championship-winning team.

The awards for ACC Scholar Athletes went to field hockey’s Loren Shealy and senior baseball pitcher Benton Moss.

Benton Moss (UNC Athletics)

Benton Moss (UNC Athletics)

Freshman hoopster Justin Jackson took home the Rammy for Outstanding Newcomer, while teammate Marcus Paige earned Best Play honors for his thrilling buzzer beater against Louisville.

Best Upset went to the men’s lacrosse squad. Coach Joe Breschi’s bunch is currently ranked in the top five in the nation.

The night’s biggest winners, however, were tennis phenoms Jamie Loeb and Brayden Schnur. Each took down the top prize as Most Outstanding Athletes.

2015 UNC Football uniforms (UNC Athletics)

2015 UNC Football uniforms (UNC Athletics)

But the biggest news of the night may have been the unveiling of the new #OurBlue Nike uniforms. In an effort to rebrand and add consistency to the uniforms of all 28 sports, UNC teamed with Nike to release the new gear.

“We are excited to once again partner with Nike, one of the most recognizable brands in the world, to help us refresh and refine our marks and logos,” AD Bubba Cunningham says. “The changes are subtle, but they celebrate our history and create consistency as we further seek to distinguish our brand.  This is our blue and we’re proud of it.”

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/the-rammys-top-tar-heels-honored-spiffy-uniforms-unveiled/

Tar Heels Round Out Exciting Regular Season

A busy Tar Heel sports weekend secured a couple exhilarating ACC titles, produced heartbreak on the lacrosse field and saw history made on the Chestnut Hill tennis courts.

***Listen to the story***

Indeed, it was a wild few days for Carolina athletics starting with one for the record books Friday at Boston College.

Brian Kalbas has all the pieces to contend for a national championship (UNC Athletics)

Brian Kalbas has all the pieces to contend for a national championship (UNC Athletics)

The No. 1 Tar Heel women’s tennis team put the finishing touches on an undefeated regular season by beating the Eagles, 5-2, and in the process, became the first ACC school in history to make it through the treacherous league slate unscathed.

Despite Jamie Loeb’s shocking three-set upset at No. 1 singles, Carolina showed off its depth by fighting past the pesky Eagles with commanding victories at No. 2, 3, 4 and 5 singles.

UNC head coach Brian Kalbas says the Tar Heels have been on a mission this season.

“This is the kind of team I don’t think would benefit from a loss going into the postseason. I really think this team benefits from winning and getting that motivation that we could do something special,” Coach Kalbas says.

UNC will now turn its attention to Cary Tennis Center for the start of the ACC Tournament this weekend. The Tar Heels will be the No. 1 seed and heavy favorites to take the title for the fifth time in seven years.

But the sweetness of victory is often born out of the bitterness of defeat. The Carolina men’s lacrosse team suffered the latter Saturday afternoon.

The Tar Heels surrendered three goals in the final 1:15 of the contest to fall short in heartbreaking fashion.

What’s worse, the 15-14 defeat to No. 1 Notre Dame in South Bend handed the ACC regular season championship to the Fighting Irish.

The second-ranked Tar Heels have some time to regroup before meeting Syracuse Friday in the ACC Tournament semifinals at PPL Park at 8 p.m. in Chester, PA.

Their female counterparts, however, were not to be denied the title of champions.

Sammy Jo Tracy gets all fired up (UNC Athletics)

Sammy Jo Tracy gets all fired up (UNC Athletics)

Friday night at Duke’s Koskinen Stadium, the No. 2 UNC women’s lacrosse team downed its hated rival, 12-6, to claim the ACC regular season title for the sixth time and improve to 13-2 overall, 6-1 in league action.

Sammy Jo Tracy wasn’t the only Tar Heel to record a hat trick against the Blue Devils. Aly Messinger joined her teammate in that accomplishment.

Caylee Waters started the game in goal for Carolina and picked up the win thanks to three saves and only giving up four scores.

Head coach Jenny Levy’s Tar Heels open up their ACC Tournament campaign Thursday as the top seeds.

With the regular season now in the books for most spring teams in Chapel Hill, the excitement and promise of the postseason awaits – where dreams become reality.

And these successful Tar Heel players and coaches will be dreaming of hardware – ACC and national championship trophies.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-round-out-regular-season-with-excitement/

No. 1 Tar Heel Women Serving For History

Brian Kalbas’ No. 1 Tar Heels are on the doorstep of history. No women’s tennis team has ever gone undefeated in the ACC regular season. Armed with a deep and talented lineup, Carolina is determined to become the first to do so Friday in Chestnut Hill.

***Listen to the story***

Not everything, though, has been clean sailing. For the first time this season, UNC dropped the opening doubles point Wednesday against arch-rival Duke. Panic could have settled in.

But for this group of Tar Heels that UNC head coach Brian Kalbas calls “special”, that wasn’t going to happen.

Jamie Loeb is one of the premier college players in the nation (UNC Athletics)

Jamie Loeb is one of the premier college players in the nation (UNC Athletics)

“After the doubles, I looked at the players’ faces and eyes – you could tell they weren’t panicked, upset or unnerved by the situation. It was just a matter of going out there, getting off to a good start and putting in some good execution in the start of the singles,” Coach Kalbas says.

Tennis is such an individual sport. So how does this affect the way Coach Kalbas handles his duties?

“Each person needs something a little different. Some need strategy, some need some emotional stability, some can do things on their own and others need you to talk to them. You have to get a good understanding of what they need,” Coach Kalbas says.

Right now, every member of the lineup seems to understand their roles. Coach Kalbas says his team’s depth and experience is paying dividends.

Multiple players have come up with match-clinching victories and earned ACC Player of the Week honors.

UNC winning ITA Indoor National Title. (UNC Athletics)

UNC winning ITA Indoor National Title. (UNC Athletics)

However, most of the attention goes to No. 1 Jamie Loeb. Loeb splashed onto the national tennis stage as a freshman a year ago when she came out of nowhere to seize a singles national title in the fall of 2013 against a stacked field.

But there’s been no sophomore slump for Loeb – a gritty competitor who Coach Kalbas says is getting sharper and sharper with each point.

“She’s really playing unbelievable right now. She’s really turned it on the past few weeks. She’s beaten some good players – Wagner from Miami, her rival Elbaba from Virginia and Capra from Duke. She’s had to be really playing extremely well and very focuses. She’s done an amazing job at that,” Coach Kalbas says.

Coming up just short in a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to UCLA in the 2014 NCAA championship match may have been the best thing that could have happened to the Tar Heels.

Coach Kalbas says the defeat has added fuel to the fire to this year’s charge.

“I think it’s had a major effect. I think we’ve been focused throughout the year, not taking any match for granted, respecting each opponent and what they potentially could do against us,” Coach Kalbas says.

Brian Kalbas has all the pieces to contend for a national championship (UNC Athletics)

Brian Kalbas has all the pieces to contend for a national championship (UNC Athletics)

Up to this point, Carolina is unblemished, sporting a 25-0 record overall and a 13-0 mark in league play. However, that begs the question – would a loss before the NCAA Tournament benefit the Tar Heels?

“This is the kind of team I don’t think would benefit from a loss going into the postseason. I really think this team benefits from winning and getting that motivation that we could do something special,” Coach Kalbas says.

But for now, the ultra-focused Tar Heels have their rackets aimed at Boston College. A win Friday would stamp the Carolina women’s tennis program’s place in history.

“Our team is very record-oriented. They know that no ACC team has gone undefeated during the regular season, so they’re very motivated to do that when we play BC,” Coach Kalbas says.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/no-1-tar-heel-women-serving-for-history/

Tar Heel Tennis, Lacrosse Blossoming This Spring

Although surrounded by less hype and fanfare than their more famous basketball and football counterparts, UNC’s spring sports teams excel at the highest level year in and year out. 2015 is shaping up to be no exception.

***Listen to the story***

It’s the rackets and sticks that have been making the loudest noise in Chapel Hill these days.

Out on the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center courts, the Tar Heels are serving up a storm that is led by the ladies.

UNC Women's Tennis Star Jamie Loeb (UNC Athletics)

UNC women’s tennis star Jamie Loeb (UNC Athletics)

The No. 2 UNC women are fresh off an indoor national championship title and are now looking to sweep through the outdoor season. The Tar Heels are unblemished to date, sporting a 23-0 record overall and an 11-0 mark in ACC action.

Led by top 20 national singles players in sophomore duo Jamie Loeb and Hayley Carter, head coach Brian Kalbas’ players are an imposing force to look at across the net.

Coach Kalbas recently eclipsed the 500-win mark in his career, but he credits the talent on the court for achieving that milestone.

“When you win that many matches, it’s because you have good players. They play well and make you look good,” Coach Kalbas says.

Loeb won an individual national title in her maiden season at Carolina, but has been met with more resistance in her second season. Tennis can be a streaky sport.

Coach Kalbas breaks down the strategy in one of Loeb’s most recent tough battles.

“Anytime the girl hit a really good shot, Jamie would cut it off and force her to hit another great shot. The girl wasn’t coming to the net very much. If Jamie would handle her pace, push her back and get on the offense herself, which she started to do in the second and third set – it was really impressive,” Coach Kalbas says.

As for the Tar Heel men, they’ve gone on more of an up-and-down ride this spring. Saddled with a 16-8 record and 5-3 mark in league play, UNC’s No. 2 singles player Ronnie Schneider says the key to postseason success will be getting all the Tar Heels back fully healthy.

Ronnie Schneider strikes a backhand (UNC Athletics)

Ronnie Schneider strikes a backhand (UNC Athletics)

“Our health is probably the most important thing for our team right now. When we put guys on the court, they’re playing well. It’s just that we’ve got to get our top six guys healthy. If we can get healthy now, by the time those two tournaments [ACC and NCAA] hit, we’ll be playing our best tennis,” Schneider says.

Out on the lacrosse field, head coach Joe Breschi has to be pleased with his men’s team thus far. The Tar Heels check in at No. 4 in the national polls and are coming off an impressive road win over No. 6 Virginia in Charlottesville.

Senior Jimmy Bitter, who scored two goals in the win over the Wahoos, says the composure of goalkeeper Kieran Burke gives UNC added confidence.

The men's lacrosse team will hope to repeat 2013's ACC title (Courtesy GoHeels.com)

The men’s lacrosse team will hope to repeat 2013’s ACC title (Courtesy GoHeels.com)

“Kieran Burke is an amazing goalie. No matter what point in the game it is, he’s always level-headed,” Bitter says.

Not to be outdone, the Tar Heel women’s lacrosse team is ranked No. 2 nationally and in search of a national title of their own this spring.

In UNC’s most recent win over fellow top-ten member Louisville, Molly Hendrick netted a career-high five goals to spur on the 18-5 rout of the Cardinals.

So the trees and bushes aren’t the only thing blossoming around Chapel Hill right now – so too are the national championship aspirations of Tar Heels on the tennis courts and lacrosse fields.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heel-tennis-lacrosse-blossoming-this-spring/

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/