Other than Hess-Olesen, who captured the regional championship and will be playing in the Intercollegiate Indoor Championship starting Nov. 8, the team will not play another match until January. Paul views this break as an opportunity.
“Fall tennis is for us to get an idea of where we are,” Paul said. “As we end tournament play it’s time for them to go to work on their own on some things they need to work on and that they’ve learned from their fall match play.”
While official practice ends Friday, the players won’t be taking a break in preparing for the spring season.
Senior William Parker, who posted a 2-1 singles record and lost both of his doubles matches this weekend, believes the break will provide good time to fine-tune the team.
“We just have to stay motivated,” Parker said. “We can’t take time off. We have to work on performing as a team as a whole. We’ve had some really great individual performances this semester but we can still do better performing together as a team.”
Paul also thinks that team play is an important factor in preparing for the spring season.
“Everything we’re doing [in the fall] is gearing to our team match season anyway,” Paul said. “We’re trying to become the best team we possibly can, so that’s the purpose of the fall season.”
Parker believes that the fall season has served that role well and that the team is moving in the right direction.
“Everyone on the team has improved a lot since September,” Parker said. “We might not have had our best results last weekend. I thought we had a good regionals and we’re definitely better than where we were in September, so if we can keep that improvement up through the end of this year and going into January we’ll be in good shape.”
During the break players will participate in captain’s practices and gym sessions to prepare for the spring season. Freshman Brett Clark, who won his only singles match of the weekend and lost his only doubles, feels that the team must maintain a strong work ethic and level of intensity in coming months.
“We’ll still train just as hard,” Clark said. “The level of self-discipline that we have to have as a team comes from our senior leadership which is very good.”
The break also gives a chance for players to recuperate after a long fall campaign. A few players developed minor injuries during the fall, but the coaches are working to prevent those injuries from escalating.
“These were sort of some nagging injuries this weekend that we didn’t want to press and give the kids more injury to correct,” Paul said. “We didn’t want to injure them or take a chance on getting them injured.”
Clark believes that this off-season serves as not just a time to heal and improve physically, but also as a testament to a mantra the coaches have tried to instill in the players.
“The main thing that our coaches are trying to get across to our whole team is that UNC is always going to be the team that competes the hardest, tries the hardest and plays the hardest,” Clark said. “If we carry that into the spring I think we’ll do just fine.