The win also pushed Kalbas’ winning percentage to 0.7963 percent, edging current Duke head coach Jamie Ashworth (0.7955) for the all-time winning percentage among ACC coaches.
But early on, it looked like Ashworth’s record was safe.
The match started out rocky for UNC (25-2, 11-1 ACC), as the Tar Heels lost the doubles point in a tiebreaker to the Blue Devils (17-4, 11-1 ACC). It was only the fourth time all season the team had started singles play with a deficit.
“I’ve been struggling the last couple matches, getting down early,” senior Hayley Carter said. “It’s something that I’m definitely going to work on during the next match. Just knowing that I’ve done well this year, I have the confidence to not get down on myself when I am down.”
Despite being down during the beginning of both single sets, as low as 4-1 at one point, the senior didn’t let it get to her. She fought hard, winning 7-5, 6-3. But it also clinched the record for Kalbas.
It was only fitting for Carter to secure Kalbas’ place in the history books, since he was a key reason why UNC’s all-time wins leader chose Chapel Hill in the first place.
“It was a full circle for me,” Carter said. “I was recruited pretty heavily by Duke. I almost chose Duke, and I decided at the last second to go with UNC.”
Instead of joining Ashworth’s squad, she aligned with the Tar Heels and embarked on a record-setting career. And she isn’t the only one who Kalbas lured to Chapel Hill.
“He’s the best college coach I know, which is the reason why I’m here,” first-year Sara Daavettila said. “He’s the main reason. He’s just unbelievable and one of my best friends.”
Unsurprisingly, Kalbas credited the team for his 352 wins over 14 seasons.
“It means you have really good players,” Kalbas said. “We’ve had really good teams, and we strive to not have a drop in the middle of our success from year to year. I’m really proud of the team and all the credit goes to the players.”