And against the Wolfpack (5-2, 0-1 ACC), UNC seized its chance.
“We just wanted to show that we weren’t satisfied,” said senior Caroline Price, who never trailed in her straight sets singles win. “We’re still getting better and improving and coming after everyone.”
Coming into the match, Price had clinched UNC’s second ITA National Team Indoor Championship just 10 days prior, propelling the Tar Heels to the top spot in the country.
And after a similar 7-0 drubbing of N.C. State in the 2014 match in Chapel Hill, Thursday’s mismatch on paper led to a hardly unexpected result.
But this year, the stakes were higher.
“(We) showed the Wolfpack that we were there to take them down,” said junior Whitney Kay, who dropped just three games in her three combined sets of doubles and singles. “We’re not going to stop with the Indoor win. We want to win an ACC title and then an NCAA title.”
Price knows these challenges better than anyone. The senior has yet to win an ACC title, and after coming within one set of clinching a team NCAA championship last season, her attempts at a dramatic rally netted a second-place trophy on her bedside.
“I wake up every morning, I see it and I remember that horrible feeling I had in my stomach of losing and being so close,” said Price, one of six returning players and the team’s only senior. “(This is) my last year, so I just don’t want to have any regrets.”
And for Price — whose performance nearly two weeks ago earned her the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award and ACC Player of the Week honors — a season-ending consolation prize simply isn’t enough.
“We aren’t satisfied,” she said. “Yeah, we won national indoors and we’re currently ranked No. 1, but we think that we can still improve and get better.
“We are still hungry and there’s still so much more that we want to prove.”