It was up to Caroline Price to seal the win for the North Carolina women’s tennis team.
After two hours of play, Price was minutes away from earning the team’s victory — the only thing standing in her way was the pain in her back.
Price walked off the court in the middle of her match and lay on the ground waiting for the assistance of her trainer. Moments later, she was up and ready to defeat her opponent. Price won 6-3, 6-4, which clinched the victory for the No. 3 ranked team.
The Tar Heels defeated No. 62 Denver 4-0 on Saturday and No. 31 Memphis 4-1 on Sunday in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association kick-off weekend. The two victories qualify UNC for the ITA Indoor National Championship Feb. 7-10 in Charlottesville, Va.
Though Price was in pain after the longest match of the season, she said she was more enthusiastic for her team’s opportunity to defend its title as ITA Indoor National Champions.
“I’m just excited. I think we have an ‘x’ on our back, but we have a new team. We’re deep, and we’re strong,” Price said. “I think we are ready. We’ve been working really hard, and we want to show the girls again why we won it last year.”
Coach Brian Kalbas said he thinks his team is prepared for the tournament, as long as his players are healthy. He said Price’s performance on Sunday was an indication that she is willing to fight for a victory even with pain.
“She wanted to show me that she could do it,” Kalbas said.
“So her playing four matches is a really great thing and maybe proved me wrong.”