The No. 9 North Carolina men’s tennis team opened its spring season on Saturday with over Bucknell and Wofford. This year, the Tar Heels’ opening-day roster was comprised of eight underclassmen — a complete reversal from the team that head coach Sam Paul fielded last spring, when he had eight upperclassmen to rely on.
The team needs several of these players to step up this season if they hope to repeat the success from last year, when the Tar Heels made a run to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Sophomore Blaine Boyden played well in the two victories with four combined wins, highlighted by a 6-0 doubles win over Bucknell while paired with first-year Joshua Peck and straight-sets singles victories over Wofford and Bucknell.
Despite the successes of some of the other underclassmen, the focus of the day was on the performance of first-year William Blumberg. Being the No. 1 high school recruit in the country, ranked as high as No. 4 in the International Tennis Federation’s rankings of all junior tennis players, can lead to high expectations for his collegiate debut. And he did not disappoint.
“I thought it was a great debut for him,” assistant coach Tripp Phillips said. “I know he was super excited for his first college match. There was a couple of little nerves early, but then he shook them off, and I thought he played really well.”