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The Daily Tar Heel

Caroline Price: Priceless ending on women's tennis Senior Day

The women’s tennis team beat Duke and clinched the ACC regular season title

Price, the only senior on the team, led the Tar Heels to a 4-1 win Wednesday over No. 23 Duke (14-8, 9-3 ACC) on her Senior Day. Her decorated tennis resume already included two national indoor team championships and two All-America honors.

With the win, the No. 1 Tar Heels (25-0, 13-0 ACC) finish undefeated at home at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center and clinched their fourth ACC regular-season title in the last six years.

In her career, Price has worn many hats for UNC. She’s the emotional leader and the glue that keeps everything together. She’s proven her worth on the court with 22 wins this season, the most in the country. She’s mostly played No. 3 singles this year, but she’s played other spots in her career and always served as a reliable win. In other words, she does, in fact, do everything for UNC.

“She could be playing No. 1 on almost any other team, and she’s happy where she is no matter what position coach puts her at, and she does her job,” said sophomore Hayley Carter. “She does it with a smile on her face.”

Price said being the only senior has had its challenges, but as an independent person, she’s learned to cope with whatever is thrown at her.

“I’ll go to LongHorn (Steakhouse) and get a table by myself, and it’s not a problem whereas I feel like a lot of people would be like, ‘That’s weird,’” Price said.

“Sometimes it stinks knowing that I don’t have someone right now going through the same thing, but I don’t mind it too at the same time.”

Duke started the match by taking the doubles point, a surprising fact considering UNC hadn’t lost in doubles all season.

“We had deer in the headlights after doubles,” Kalbas said. “Every singles court was battling and competing, and that put a lot of pressure on (Duke).”

But Price and her teammates wouldn’t fold.

“CP actually did a very good job of picking us up,” Carter said. “We lost the doubles point a few times last year, and we were able to come back.”

Junior Ashley Dai won UNC’s first point on Court 6, and then sophomore Jamie Loeb took her match on Court 1. Price took the 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 win on Court 3 before Carter clinched the match on Court 2.

After winning, Price couldn’t wipe the smile off her face. She looked up at her mother, father and grandmother, grinning with a two-thumbs-up pose. Her personal coach, who’s been with her since she was 8 years old, also attended the match and before she ever did an interview, the senior directed her teammates toward the locker room for a cake her mom brought.

It was the poetic ending to a storied career.

“To beat Duke on my Senior Day and to win ACC regular season, that’s as good as it gets,” Price said. “I don’t think I’d want to go out any other way.”

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