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North Carolina Earns Berth in ITA Team Indoor by Defeating Host Notre Dame

North Carolina women's coach Brian Kalbas returned to his alma mater last weekend facing the challenge of taking down the sixth-ranked Fighting Irish on their home courts. On the line was a trip to the ITA Team Indoor next week in Madison, Wisc., a trek every Kalbas-led team has made for the past six years. That streak is now seven, with the second-seeded Tar Heels posting a 5-2 win over top seed Notre Dame at the Eck Tennis Pavilion in South Bend.

UNC Head Coach Brian Kalbas
© ZooTennis.com
"I played here and I coached on the men's side for almost four years, so this place is very special to me," said Kalbas, who graduated in 1989 and was assistant coach under coach Bobby Bayliss until 1992. "It's nice coming home, and it was a special treat for our team to play as well as we did against a team like Notre Dame, which has such great competitors."

This marks the second year of the ITA Kick-off Weekend, where 15 men's and women's teams earn their way into the Team Indoor Championships by competing in a format similar to the first two rounds of the NCAA championships in May. North Carolina had shut out Boise State in Saturday's opening round, while Notre Dame defeated DePaul 6-1 to set up Sunday's final.

The doubles point was a seesaw affair with a slew of momentum changes that wasn't decided until the Tar Heels' No. 3 pairing of Jocelyn Ffriend and Haley Hemm came from 5-2 down to steal an 8-6 decision from Shannon Mathews and Colleen Rielley.

Notre Dame's No. 1 team of Kristy Frilling and Kali Krisik had overcome a 3-0 deficit, winning eight of the last nine games against Sophie Grabinski and Sanaz Marand to give the Irish an 8-4 victory and what would turn out to be their only lead of the afternoon.

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