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Sunday December 5th

UNC tennis first-years Carson Tanguilig, Lindsay Zink excel early in season

Carson Tanguilig and Lindsay Zink are first-years on the UNC women's tennis team. Photos courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications.
Buy Photos Carson Tanguilig and Lindsay Zink are first-years on the UNC women's tennis team. Photos courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications.

This fall, many first-year students at UNC are finding themselves adjusting to college life after a year and a half of online learning. Carson Tanguilig and Lindsay Zink are no exception.

These two, however, also have individual tennis lessons multiple times a week, daily team practice, lifting sessions and yoga. Not to mention meetings with the sports psychologist to prepare for tournaments.

Tanguilig and Zink are the only first-years on the UNC women’s tennis team. It has barely been two months since they’ve moved onto campus, but the pair is already making an impact on the program.

With three invitationals each, Tanguilig and Zink have a combined 12 singles and 10 doubles wins so far on the season. Despite their early success, they both said the adjustment to college-level play did not come easily. 

“Every match you play is at a high level,” Tanguilig said. “There’s nobody that fades away. The first two weeks of practice felt so fast at first.”

Tanguilig and Zink were already accustomed to playing at a high level. Both players were ranked in the top 40 at one point in the 2021 recruiting class, with Zink ranking as high as No. 40 and Tanguilig as high as No. 14. In juniors, Tanguilig won three grade 4 doubles titles and has reached the doubles final of the Pan American ITF Championship. Zink reached the semifinals of the 2021 ITA Summer Circuit event in Blacksburg, Va. 

Despite their huge levels of success in high school, coming into a program like UNC’s can still prove challenging for even the most talented players.

“For first-years, it’s tough when you come into an established or successful team,” head coach Brian Kalbas said. “But they’ve done an incredible job of fitting in really well. They’re two really hard workers."

As they move forward in the season, both players are looking to build on their strengths and fill in individual areas for improvement. 

Tanguilig, who has an ongoing abdominal muscle strain, is hoping to improve her conditioning and ability to remain physical in longer rallies. This strain has affected her performance in previous competitions this fall, Kalbas said.

“Carson got to the finals of the Cary tournament and her flight in the Furman Fall Classic,” Kalbas said. “Unfortunately, in both of those flights, she wasn’t feeling great, so she couldn’t compete in the finals.” 

Kalbas said Zink has a competitive desire, both on the court and in the weight room — to which he credited her early success. 

“She’s very consistent and also has a variety in her game,” Kalbas said. “Her biggest area for improvement is getting stronger in the weight room so she can handle the physicality of collegiate tennis. We’ve also been working on her finishing points coming forward.”

Earlier this month, Tanguilig and Zink each recorded a singles win in the 49er Invitational, where they competed against teams from Charlotte, Columbia and Clemson. Tanguilig and Zink also competed together in doubles for a win over Clemson.

With this tournament under her belt, Zink said she is ready for upcoming ITA competition. 

“For me, I feel confident,” Zink said. “I also feel prepared getting a couple of singles matches before, since this is one of the more important tournaments we’re going to play. So I’m just feeling well practiced and like I can go into the match more relaxed.”

North Carolina will return to action this weekend at the ITA Regional Championships from Oct. 21 to Oct. 25 in Winston-Salem.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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