The women’s team won their first five games before dropping their first match to the No. 5-ranked University of North Carolina team. The men’s team has won three of their first four, knocking off the No. 21 and 36 teams, and losing to the No. 25 team.
The women’s team hosted a preseason tournament, the Hurricane Invitational, in the early part of January. The tournament was a strong opening to their season, as the women’s team picked up 34 individual wins, and only lost three total matches for the entire three-day tournament.
They dominated their next five matches, sweeping ORU (twice), Arkansas Pine Bluff (twice) at home in back-to-back double-headers before beating Marshall in Chapel Hill at the opening portion of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend this past weekend. The Kick-Off Weekend, which includes 60 teams across 15 different sites, serves as a qualifier for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in February.
In the conclusion of the weekend, the Golden Hurricane fell to the Tar Heels 0–4, despite No. 46 ranked doubles pair Martha Matoula and Rongrong Leenabanchong defeating North Carolina’s No. 16 pair Kate Vialle and Jessie Aney.
The women, now ranked No. 48 in the country, sit at 5–1 and will continue their season at home against Baylor this upcoming Saturday.
The men, going into the season ranked No. 29 in the country, opened up their season with morning and night victories over ORU and the No. 21 ranked University of California respectively.
After the season-opening win Head Coach Vince Westbrook said, “I thought that the ORU match was great. We played good in the doubles, and good in the singles. We had two different line ups today, and it has been a while since I have had a team this deep. We put a different lineup out there and I think that we were pretty convincing.”
After the upset over the Bears, Westbrook said, “Cal. is going to be the favorite in the northern part of the PAc-12, and they are one of the best teams in the country. [Or] Ram-Harel goes out and beats the No. 3 player in the country, and [Carlos] Bautista goes out and beats the No. 30 player in the country. Our three and four spots weren’t very good, but I don’t think that our freshmen have played in an environment like this. Our doubles were awesome, and it came down to our upper classmen. I think that we are at about 60-percent or 70-percent of what we can do, but it’s going to be a puzzle putting the pieces together against the right opponents.”
After their first two wins, the men moved up to No. 24 in the country before participating in the Men’s ITA Kick-Off Weekend, aslo this past weekend. In their opening match of the weekend, the Golden Hurricane fell to No. 25 Northwestern 1–4, but bounced back against No. 36 Notre Dame on Saturday 4–3 to finish the weekend 1–1, and put their overall record at 3–1.
Next up for the men’s team is a double-header at home against Purdue and Wichita State on Sunday.