Caroline Price returns easily to UNC tennis after injury

Coming back from an injury is never easy, but on Wednesday, North Carolina women’s tennis sophomore Caroline Price made it look that way.

Price won two doubles matches against Elon and UNC-Greensboro and one singles match against Elon.

After being sidelined for a large portion of the fall, Price saw her first action of the year in a doubles match against UNC-G.

“I’ve never really been so happy to play tennis before,” said Price, who admitted to being a little out of shape due to her injury. “It was great to be able to run around.”

Alongside teammate Whitney Kay, Price easily beat her Spartan competition 8-2.

“We hadn’t played (together) since October,” Kay said. “So it was good to get back on the court with Caroline.”

After winning her second doubles match of the day — this time an 8-1 win against Elon — Price’s focus turned to her first singles match of the year against Elon junior Frida Jansaker.

Price started the match strong, winning the first four games, breaking Jansaker’s serve twice and winning the set 6-2.

But the second set wasn’t won as easily.

Price’s poor conditioning from lack of play kicked in, and she found herself in a 2-1 hole before her next service.

Coach Brian Kalbas noticed Price’s fatigue and made a point to say something.

“He was like, ‘I see that you’re getting kind of tired,’” Price said. “I’m really competitive, so I wanted to prove him wrong.”

And she did just that.

Price broke Jansaker’s serve one more time and only gave up one point in the last three games that she served. She finished with a 6-2, 6-4 win in straight sets.

But the most impressive play of Price’s run came on a point in which she was forced to be quick on her toes.

On a serve that Price thought was unreturnable, she was surprised when her opponent found a way to sneak the ball just over the net.

Admittedly unprepared for the ball that was making its way toward her, Price sprinted forward and sliced a shot that landed just in bounds, helping Price to a key game victory late in the match.

“I knew I wanted to hit it over there,” Price said. “I got lucky that I have really long arms.”

Kalbas said he was glad to see Price back in action.

“It was good to see what she was capable of doing,” Kalbas said. “I motivated her, challenged her and she finished strong.”

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