After a trip to the Final Four last season and a No. 6 preseason ranking, the North Carolina women’s tennis team has high expectations for this year.
The team did not disappoint in the first dual match of the spring season, a doubleheader against Winthrop and Elon at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center on Saturday, with the Tar Heels easily winning both matches 7-0.
“I was impressed with everybody on our team,” UNC coach Brian Kalbas said. “They stayed focused and organized with their game plans.”
The Tar Heels won two out of the three doubles matches against the 65th-ranked Winthrop Eagles to get the first point.
Shinann Featherston and Lauren McHale, the eighth-ranked doubles team in the country, defeated No. 87 Sandra Herrera and Giovanna Portioli, 8-5, in the top spot.
No. 80 Jelena Durisic and Tessa Lyons topped Andressa Garcia and Elizaveta Zaytseva, 8-0, at second doubles.
The only loss of the day came in third doubles with Yasmine Alkema and Julia Breuss squeaking by Haley Hemm and Zoe De Bruycker in a tiebreak, 9-8 (2).
The Tar Heels then swept the singles matches with the only close match involving No. 86 McHale, who rallied from a second set deficit to win in a tiebreak, 6-1, 7-6 (8).
“Winthrop is a very dangerous team, especially for your opening match,” Kalbas said. “They routinely win their conference and make the NCAA tournament so it was a good first match for us.”