UNC’s tennis teams have had a fairly successful run over the past couple years. While they haven’t brought home the NCAA team championship (the men lost in the finals last year), both teams have won the indoor team championship (which is run by the ITA) in recent years. The women have also produced an individual champion, when Jamie Loeb brought home the NCAA singles title in 2015.
This season has seen that success continue. Both teams currently sit in the top ten of their respective rankings, with the women currently at number one. With the NCAA Tournament a little more than a month away and both teams doing so well, let’s check in on them.
As mentioned, the women’s team currently sit at the top of the rankings with a 19-2 record. They’ve won their last three matchups in a row, after losing to Georgia Tech March 24th.
They’ve managed to do so well this season by generally being incredibly balanced. In the ITA individual rankings, their highest singles player is Makenna Jones at number 14. However, they have five others ranked inside the top 125, which is more than any other team. Their consistency is evidence in the #2-#5 singles spots. Several players have occupied these roles throughout the season, and are a combined 65-10.
Doubles has also been a strength for the women’s team, as they’ve lost the doubles point just three times all year. They’re led by Jessie Aney and Alexa Graham, who’ve spent most of the year as UNC’s top doubles team, and took over the #1 ranking in the county on April 3rd.
The women’s team is currently tied for first in the ACC with Duke. They have a relatively easy run down the stretch with the exception of two matchups. This Friday, they host Virginia, who currently sit at #20 in the nation. The date to really keep an eye on is April 20th’s visit to Durham to play Duke. The Blue Devils are third in the country, and have a relatively similar strength of schedule prior to the meeting. The regular season title could be on the line on April 20th.
The men haven’t been quite as dominant this year, currently sitting at 15-4 and number six in the country.
They’re led by William Blumburg, who’s had a good season in both singles and doubles for the Tar Heels. Blumburg is the second ranked singles player in the country, having put together an 11-3 record as UNC’s #1 so far. He also is part of the Tar Heels’ best doubles team with Robert Kelly. The pair is also 11-3 this season and is ranked fourth nationally.
Elsewhere, Blaine Boyden had put together a 15-0 record so far this season, playing mostly as either Carolina’s #5 or #6. Benjamin Sigouin is UNC’s second highest ranked singles player, checking in at 29th nationally.
The Tar Heels returned a lot of pieces from the team that finished runner-up nationally to Virginia last year, and they clearly been quite good yet again. UNC currently sits in a three-way tie with Wake Forest and Florida State for first place in the ACC. The Tar Heels lost their matchup with Demon Deacons earlier this year, but will get a shot at FSU later this month. Other than the trip to Tallahassee, Carolina has a manageable schedule the rest of the way. Take care of business there, and they might be able to come away with a conference title.
Whether or not either of UNC’s tennis teams comes away with a ACC title or even a national title, both programs have made waves nationally this year. Either could very well add to the UNC athletics trophy case by the end of the season.
Note: Both teams are playing Sunday, April 8th, and this post was written before either took the court.