“All teams are going to hit that bump in the season where it’s like, things aren’t going to go your way, and you’re not going to hit as great. So it’s nice just to get out there and keep going at it and keep getting better as a team.”
North Carolina’s pitching staff played an influential role in the team’s success through its first 35 games, ranking first in the ACC in ERA as of April 17.
But for the Tar Heels to find success down the stretch, they’ll look for consistency on offense.
With ACC play in full swing, UNC will have multiple chances to prove it’s ready for a postseason return with tough games against Louisville and N.C. State on the docket in May.
Lacrosse trams take different paths
Despite both being ranked for a majority of 2016, the North Carolina men’s and women’s lacrosse teams have been trending in different directions since March.
The women’s team opened the season with three straight wins before dropping back-to-back contests against Florida and Maryland, marking the first time in 10 years the Tar Heels dropped consecutive home games.
But since then, UNC has won nine straight matches — including six against top-10 ranked opponents — behind an offense that ranked eighth in the country as of April 17.
Meanwhile, the men’s lacrosse team has struggled to find the same sort of consistency.
After defeating then-No. 8 Johns Hopkins on Feb. 28, the Tar Heels lost back-to-back games — including a 13-12 overtime defeat against then-No. 1 Denver at Fetzer Field.
And despite opening ACC play with an overtime win at Duke and a dominating home win over Virginia, UNC was left searching for answers after a 13-7 loss to Syracuse less than two weeks before the ACC Tournament.
“We’re just looking for that consistency because we are playing such talented teams,” said men’s lacrosse coach Joe Breschi after the loss to the Orange on April 16. “You’ve got to be ready to play every week, and the margin of error is just paper thin.”
Tennis teams hope to remain hot
The North Carolina men’s and women’s tennis teams have both dominated for much of the spring and hope to turn their regular-season success into postseason wins.
The men’s team started the season with a 15-0 record, earning the Tar Heels their first No. 1 ranking in program history. The stretch was highlighted by wins over six top-12 teams and the claiming the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Indoor Championship.
UNC’s first loss of the season came in its ACC opener at Florida State, and despite dropping back-to-back matches against Wake Forest and Notre Dame, North Carolina entered the ACC Tournament as the No. 4 seed.
While the men’s team struggled at times during conference play, the women’s team found even more success.
After falling to Michigan on Feb. 20, the Tar Heels started ACC play with a thrilling 4-3 win over Miami, marking the first of 16 straight victories by UNC.
North Carolina concluded the regular season with a 7-0 win at Clemson on April 15, handing the team its fourth consecutive ACC regular-season title.
“It’s hard to be this consistent and this successful every year. I can’t take any credit whatsoever,” said women’s tennis coach Brian Kalbas after UNC defeated the Tigers on April 15. “The players are the ones that do all the hard work, and this is one of the hardest-working teams I’ve ever had.”