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No. 3 UNC women's tennis secures another road victory to stay undefeated in ACC play


UNC women's tennis senior Jessie Aney returns the ball during a singles match against Duke on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. UNC won the match 4-1.

In yet another big win this season, the No. 3 North Carolina women’s tennis team defeated Syracuse, 5-2, on Friday to keep the Tar Heels perfect on the road and in the ACC.

What happened?

North Carolina (21-1, 9-0 ACC) remains dominant in doubles play after fighting back against the Orange (11-7, 4-5 ACC). It’s been North Carolina’s way this season to start out assertive in doubles play, and Friday was no different. 

Jessie Aney was able to do what she’s been doing best this year: win quickly and fiercely in doubles. Alongside Alexa Graham, Aney knocked out the 71st ranked doubles team in Syracuse’s Gabriela Knutson and Miranda Ramirez, 6-2.

On Court Two, Makenna Jones and Alle Sanford weren’t able to secure a win for the team, and surrendered 6-2 to the Orange. It would have to be the third doubles team to get UNC on top, and Cameron Morra and Sara Daavettila delivered. In a 7-6 (3) win, the pair battled out Syracuse to score the doubles point for UNC. 

Daavettila and Graham got an early 3-0 lead for UNC with their straight-set victories to start off singles. Daavettila won 6-1, 6-2, and Graham took the victory 6-3, 6-2.

Aney started out with a strong 6-1 first set win, but Syracuse's Sofya Treshcheva managed to force a tiebreaker in the second set. Aney displayed her career-long determination to claim the tiebreaker, 7-4, and the match. The victory now moves her to fourth place in North Carolina history for most career singles victories. 

Dina Hegab avoided the shut out for the Orange with a 6-3, 6-2 win against UNC’s Sanford. Morra was also able to secure another win for the Tar Heels in her three set rally, 3-6, 6-1, 6-0. The win brought the overall score to 5-1.

The only other Syracuse points added to the board came when Knutson edged out North Carolina’s Jones to win it 6-2, 2-6, 6-4. 

The Tar Heels' 5-2 victory keeps them with a perfect 6-0 record on the road, and a 9-0 record in the ACC.

Who stood out?

With her victory, Aney has now won 120 singles matches and has now passed former All-America Jenna Long on the program's win list.

But head coach Brian Kalbas believes it was really a team effort that has gotten them this far. 

“I’m really impressed with our team and how we stayed composed during the tense moments of the match,” Kalbas said. 

When was it decided?

With victories split in doubles, Daavettila and Morra were able to give confidence to their team in their tiebreaker win. 

North Carolina had control of the match from the start, and with a 3-0 lead delivered by two straight-set matches, UNC didn't look back.

“Our focus this match was to gain resilience,” Kalbas said. “We needed to have a lot of momentum swings and we had to bounce back every time if things didn’t go our way.” 

Why does it matter?

The win gave North Carolina it's 21st victory of the season, and keeps it perfect in conference play. But Kalbas isn’t stuck on the numbers. 

“We don’t really look at that as any kind of accomplishment at this point,” the 16th-season head coach said.

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Looking only ahead, not at the long season of success behind them, the main goal for Kalbas and his team is the next five match of the regular season. 

“We’re just trying to accomplish the next feat, and for us it’s Pittsburgh on Sunday.”

When do they play next?

UNC remains on the road as it travels to Pittsburgh to face the Panthers this Sunday at 11 a.m.


@DTHSports |