Sunday’s victory came down to which team had more grit, with both doubles matches ending in tiebreakers and players slugging it out in close singles matches across the courts. In the end, it was freshman Ronnie Schneider who clinched the win.
“Yesterday was just about keeping focus," freshman Brayden Schnur said. "We knew (South Carolina State) was a solid team. Today was about executing. This team had a lot of heart.”
With the victory, the team improved its record to 26-5, the most wins in school history. Sophomore Brett Clark also made UNC history by tying the record for single-season singles wins at 36.
Clark played at the No. 3 spot and scored the third point for the team, winning his two games 6-4 and 6-3. Against South Carolina State, he won his first game 6-4 but didn't have to finish his second.
The doubles matches started Sunday’s match off on an exciting note, with UNC winning both in tiebreakers.
“They play good doubles, and we knew that would be just a war,” Paul said.
Senior Nelson Vick and junior Oystein Steiro won 8-7 and 7-4 in the tiebreaker and set the tone for freshman duo Jack Murray and Ronnie Schneider to win 8-7 and 9-7 in the tiebreaker.
Murray and Schneider clawed their way back into the match after falling behind 7-3 early on, focused on gaining one point at a time.
“The wheels kind of started falling off a little bit,” Schneider said. “We got it back together, and, once we did that, we knew what we were supposed to do. It was just all about execution.”
Schneider followed the doubles victory with an exhausting singles match against USC’s Tsvetan Mihov. The pair battled it out for three games amidst a raucous crowd.
“I felt as the match went on I was really wearing him down," Schneider said. "I could see in the last few games that he was back at the curtain, obviously tired.”
Schneider lost the second game but recovered in the third to win. He said the momentum from the doubles match and his first game in the singles match pushed him to the finish line.
And if Schneider hadn’t been able to pull out the win, his teammates Steiro and Vick were both fighting hard to defeat their opponents on courts No. 4 and No. 6 in close third games.
“I’m proud of (Steiro) for fighting,” Paul said. “Those guys fought us tooth and nail. I’m just really proud of my team.”
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