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Tar Heels Win Second ITA Indoor Title in Three Years

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - As the University of North Carolina mourns the death of iconic basketball coach Dean Smith, the UNC women's tennis team gave Tar Heel fans something to savor.

North Carolina is the ITA Indoor Champion
courtesy, Intercollegiate Tennis Association
UNC won the ITA National Team Indoor Championships' trophy for the second time in three years, defeating Georgia 4-1 Monday, Feb. 9, in a contest of fluctuating momentum at Boar's Head Sports Club.

Senior Caroline Price capped her four days of excellence by saving two match points and winning the clincher on line 3, 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 over Kennedy Shaffer, one of Georgia's three freshman starters.

Price, who won all four singles matches and four doubles sets (with sophomore Jamie Loeb on line 2) for the weekend, saved two match points to break serve and reach 5-all in the third set. The second of those points was part of Division I's new format - no-ad scoring - and it helped end a dual match that lasted about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Shaffer, serving at 5-6, deuce, went for a big forehand on her third shot of the rally and netted it, unleashing a torrent of women in Carolina baby blue to mob Price in celebration behind her baseline.

Twelfth-year UNC coach Brian Kalbas fondly remembers Smith, whose 879 wins with the Tar Heels - and more importantly, an off-court legacy that led to a Presidential Medal of Freedom - made his death a national headline.

"He is a legend. My first meeting at UNC, Dean Smith came and spoke to all the coaches," Kalbas said. "He said to never sacrifice character in recruiting. It really hit home with me.

"At UNC, we don't need to cut corners or take chances. We may not get the best recruits, but we can get the best character recruits. He's the best character person."

Kalbas outlined the overarching philosophy in Chapel Hill.

"Everything we do in the whole UNC athletic department is modeled after what he did. The 'Carolina Way' is actually Dean Smith's way."

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