The No. 1 North Carolina women’s tennis team (15-1, 3-0 ACC) breezed through its match against Notre Dame (8-4, 2-2 ACC) on Friday, taking down the Irish, 6-1.
Fresh off a 5-2 win at N.C. State on Wednesday, UNC collected another victory back home in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels consistently played well against Notre Dame from the very first doubles match through the last set of singles.
UNC began the day with a 6-0 shutout from No. 16 pair of senior Jessie Aney and junior Alexa Graham. But on Court Three, the team of sophomore Alle Sanford and junior Sara Daavettila fell to Notre Dame, 6-3.
All eyes were on Court Two, as the doubles point came down to fourth-ranked pair of junior Makenna Jones and first-year Cameron Morra. The added support from the home crowd fired up the Tar Heels, and in a match that saw UNC down 4-2, Jones and Morra executed a noteworthy comeback. The partners won the set 6-3, helping UNC extend its increasingly impressive doubles record to 16-0.
In a similar fashion as Wednesday’s match, No. 27 Morra was first to finish singles, cruising to an easy victory, 6-1, 6-0. Seemingly in sync with her doubles partner, second-ranked Jones also made quick work of her Notre Dame opponent, finishing her sets at 6-1, 6-1.
On Court Six, Sanford brought in another point for the Tar Heels, winning her singles match 6-1, 6-3 and handing UNC the win over the Irish.
The next to step off the court triumphantly was Aney, winning her match, 6-3, 6-1. Then No. 5 Graham conquered her opponent 6-3, 7-6 in a tiebreak. The Irish took their first point from the last singles match of the day as Daavettila fell to her opponent 6-4, 6-4, bringing the final score to 6-1 for the Tar Heels.
Who stood out?
While the entire North Carolina women’s tennis team was solid in the match, Jones and Morra stood out the most. The teammates both said that they play their matches by thinking of one point at a time and keeping each other calm.
This mentality proved to work, as both Jones and Morra honed in their shots and grew more and more comfortable as their doubles match progressed. They took this energy with them into singles and never looked back until they exited the courts with victories under their belts.
When was it decided?
Despite this being a pressure-filled match, it was decided essentially right after UNC walked onto the courts. The Tar Heels once again took care of business throughout the duration of the match. They secured the victory at 4-0 and did not let up from there.
Head coach Brian Kalbas said the success in the match was a testimony to the character of the team and how they handle tough opponents with composure.
Why does it matter?
With wins over Boston College, N.C. State and Notre Dame, the Tar Heels extended their ACC record to 3-0, giving them early strong positioning for conference play and beyond.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels host Louisville on Sunday, March 3rd at 1 p.m.
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