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Friday May 20th

No. 3 UNC women's tennis earns program-record with 51st straight home victory

<p>UNC women's tennis Head Coach Brian Kalbas crosses his arms on the sidelines as he observes the team play against Vanderbilt on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. UNC won 7-0.</p>
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UNC women's tennis Head Coach Brian Kalbas crosses his arms on the sidelines as he observes the team play against Vanderbilt on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. UNC won 7-0.

The magic number is now 51. 

Since March 25, 2018, the No. 3 North Carolina women’s tennis team walked out on the courts at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center and won 50 times in a row. 

On Tuesday afternoon, the Tar Heels wrote their place in history with a 7-0 home win against East Carolina University in the first match of a doubleheader to give the team its school-record of 51 consecutive home victories.

For a program that has seen much success throughout its history, this milestone still means something to the coaches and players involved. 

“I’m just real proud of the many players that have been able to kind of come to this program and accomplish this incredible run that we have going at home," head coach Brian Kalbas said.

Kalbas is joined by senior Alle Sanford as the only Tar Heels from the 2017-18 team that got the streak started. The previous record of 50 wins lasted three years from 2014 to 2017. 

As UNC women's tennis is still early in its season, Sanford said Tuesday's accomplishment could boost the team’s momentum as they get into tougher matchups down the road.

Don’t be mistaken — with bigger tests ahead, this team remains high in confidence that they can keep the streak going, especially with the young talent emerging this season.

It starts as young as first-year Carson Tanguilig. 

No. 13 Tanguilig has been a force during the start of her first dual-match season, having yet to lose a singles match or doubles match with senior Cameron Morra.

In Tuesday’s matches, Tanguilig played well once again, gaining more experience and comfort in her role while also being a major contributor to her team. 

She has more than impressed so far — playing close to the level of her veteran teammates — which she credits to the confidence given by Kalbas.

“He’s done an amazing job,” Tanguilig said. “He’s very accommodating and like this really good confidence booster and always knows the right thing to say. He just has done a really good job of making me, also Lindsay (Zink), the other first-year, just really comfortable.”

For the Tar Heels, this depth of talent looks promising as the program looks to keep its winning tradition alive. 

“It’s really nice, just knowing that we have a lot of talent and a lot of great young players on the team,” Sanford said. “It just makes it really exciting for not just the season, but also you know, the future of the program and the success of our program the next few years.”

But for right now, the focus is getting the streak to 52 as the team’s first true challenge of the season is looming. North Carolina will face No. 4 Georgia at home on Saturday.

While UNC has already had time to warm up this spring, Saturday will be Georgia's first dual match of the season. But with the home-court advantage on their side, the Tar Heels know the match will be a prime opportunity to continue the streak while making a statement.

“The Georgia match is gonna be very different than these matches,” Kalbas said. “It’s gonna come down to a few points and a few momentum situations. We’ll find out a lot about ourselves on Saturday.” 

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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