The No. 11 North Carolina women’s tennis team proved that they would not lose without a fight after five hours of play in the Ambler Tennis Stadium in Durham.
The No. 1 Duke team handed the Tar Heels (11-3, 3-1 ACC) their third loss of the season, and their second loss to the Blue Devils. Duke defeated UNC 4-2 in the semifinals of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Indoor Championship in February, and won 5-2 on Sunday.
The Blue Devils won the doubles point and took an early lead, which Carolina would not be able to recover from. Freshman Hayley Carter responded quickly on Court 2, defeating her opponent 6-0, 6-1 to tie the match 1-1. Duke eventually regained the lead defeating Tessa Lyons and Whitney Kay, for the 3-1 advantage.
The drama that unfolded on court three represented the Tar Heel’s fight to stay in the match. Junior Caroline Price lay down in pain from a back spasm in the middle of her match and sought medical attention. She said the only thing keeping her on the court was determination to help her teammates out.
“I was just trying to stay out there as long as I could,” Price said, “hoping that that would help every one else keep fighting.”
Though she limped in pain between points and struggled to hit overhead balls, Price continued her competition. Price’s 5-3 lead began to slip away, and she ultimately lost her match 5-7, 4-6 which clinched the victory for the Blue Devils.
Coach Brian Kalbas said that Price’s determination to finish her match and fight through the pain was representative of the strength North Carolina demonstrated against their rivals.
“We didn’t go away, we fought back and that’s what I was pleased about,” Kalbas said. “We showed some fight and we showed some resilience.”
Though Kalbas was proud of his team’s improved efforts since the last time they played Duke, he said that they still have work to do.