Current Date: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 11:54:55 -0400
Following a dramatic weekend that included the postponement and rescheduling of its match against Boston College and a hotel lockdown, the No. 1 North Carolina women’s tennis team seemed unfazed in its victory Sunday against Maryland (6-15, 1-10 ACC).
“It was great to get away from Boston,” senior Gina Suarez-Malaguti said. “It wasn’t traumatic, but it was like a prison. We could see lines of cops going back and forth, and the helicopters they showed on TV could be seen from our bedroom window. It was a breather to leave, be outside again and play tennis.”
With the 7-0 win, UNC (23-2, 9-1 ACC) clinched at least a share of the ACC regular season title.
Coach Brian Kalbas said the team started off slowly in doubles due to a different lineup. Freshman Whitney Kay and sophomore Caroline Price sat out the match.
“Singles was a different story,” Kalbas said. “We started off strong and stayed strong. I liked the way we competed the whole time in singles.”
Suarez-Malaguti, Kate Vialle, Tessa Lyons, Lauren McHale, Ashley Dai and Zoe De Bruycker recorded the singles victories for the Tar Heels.
Suarez-Malaguti said it was a challenge to stay mentally sharp for the Maryland match given the roller coaster of emotions from UNC’s trip to the Boston area.
“We were a little soft in doubles and could’ve stepped up a bit,” Suarez-Malaguti said. “But in singles, I played some of the best tennis I’ve played in a while.”
McHale said Kalbas talked about blocking out the distraction from the weekend and focusing on the match at hand.
“We were motivated and pumped up for this match,” McHale said. “Our goal is to be ACC regular season champions, so (Kalbas) said in order for that to happen, we need to play our game and show everybody what we’re all about.”
The ACC regular season championship will be on the line Monday. UNC will travel back to Massachusetts to play the postponed Boston College match. With a win, the Tar Heels would secure the outright regular season title.
Kalbas said in the return trip, the Tar Heels would remain, as they were against Maryland, unfazed. He added that the team would not be returning to the same hotel as this weekend, and that he was appreciative of Boston College’s willingness to reschedule the match.
“We’re really excited,” McHale said. “We want to show we outright deserve it, and we’re going to go out there and win it, hopefully.”
Suarez-Malaguti said she’s looking forward to the opportunity to win the outright regular season title Monday.
“We’re super pumped because of the issues that have been going on,” she said. “We’re really hungry to finally get this done, seal the deal and get the regular season championship. The girls are not going to be complacent and won’t be satisfied to share the title with someone else.”
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