After opening the season with five consecutive shutouts, the North Carolina men’s tennis team defeated Notre Dame on Friday to start the ITA Kick-off Weekend.
The Tar Heels were met with a strong challenge from the beginning, as the Fighting Irish fought hard in doubles play. Sophomores Anu Kodali and Blaine Boyden struggled against Notre Dame first-year Ryan Kempin and sophomore Grayson Broadus, falling behind 5-1. The Tar Heel duo’s attempt to make a comeback came up short, as Kempin and Broadus defeated them 6-4.
Seniors Ronnie Schneider and Jack Murray narrowly claimed a 6-4 victory over the Fighting Irish pair of first-year Matt Gamble and sophomore Alex Lebedev. The Tar Heels' last pairing of junior Robert Kelly and star recruit William Blumberg proved to have the toughest doubles match of the day. Fighting Irish seniors Eddy Covalschi and Josh Hagar consistently pressure the two, but the Tar Heel pair defeated the Fighting Irish 7-5, allowing North Carolina to take an early 1-0 lead.
Who stood out?
Kelly and Blumberg proved to be not only efficient as a team, but in singles play as well.
Kelly stayed ahead of his opponent, Matthew Gamble, and bested him 6-3 in both sets. Blumberg also played strong throughout the day and was able to shut out his opponent, Edward Covalschi, in the first frame of his singles match. However, Blumberg and the rest of the Tar Heels would have to find a way to outlast the Fighting Irish in the closing stages of the game.