No. 3 North Carolina has staked its claim as the top women’s tennis program in the nation with its second ITA National Team Indoor Championship in the last three years, winning 4-1 over No. 9 Georgia in Monday’s finale from the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va.
Senior Caroline Price, who came so close to giving UNC the NCAA title last May, earned the winning point on court three, outlasting Kennedy Shaffer in three sets – 6-1, 2-6, 7-5. Tied 40-40, Price broke Shaffer when her forehand came up short by hitting the net, setting off a jubilant celebration for the Tar Heels.
“They’re just amazing fighters,” said North Carolina head coach Brian Kalbas. “It looked like we were in control and then Georgia turned it around and it looked like we were in trouble in some spots. You could see the momentum switching. 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.”
North Carolina (9-0) led 3-0 after straight-set victories from Hayley Carter and Whitney Kay on courts two and four, respectively, displaying the same form that helped the Tar Heels cruise into the finals with three lopsided victories on consecutive days over Oklahoma State, Miami and second-seeded Florida.
Carter rolled to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Ellen Perez, while Kay, the junior that clinched the 2013 indoor title over UCLA, earned a 6-4, 6-3 win on Monday against Silvia Garcia.
It was nearly a third-consecutive shutout victory by the Tar Heels when eighth-ranked Jamie Loeb served for championship on court one, but the 2014 ITA National Player of the Year lost the point and the second set to No. 19 Lauren Herring.
Read more at GoHeels.com.
Published Feb. 9, 2014.