The No. 5 North Carolina men’s tennis team lost its first match of the season in a 4-0 defeat to No. 1 Virginia in the semifinals of the ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship. The Cavaliers (8-0) used their home-court advantage at the Boar’s Head Sports Club to avenge their loss to the Tar Heels in the championship round of last year’s ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship.
UNC opened the tournament with a matchup against No. 10 Georgia, the team that defeated the Tar Heels in the quarterfinals of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. In what would become a trend for the weekend, the Tar Heels (11-1) began the match by dropping the doubles point for the first time this season. The team rallied to defeat the Bulldogs 4-2, behind straight-sets victories by sophomore Blaine Boyden, seniors Ronnie Schneider and Jack Murray and first-year William Blumberg.
In the quarterfinals, UNC matched up with No. 4 California. In what was only the second meeting all time between the two programs, North Carolina won a hard-fought match with the Golden Bears, 4-2, improving the team’s record to 2-0 against the Pac-12’s powerhouse program.
After again being down 1-0 after the doubles play, first-year Simon Soendergaard gave his team its first point of the match, with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over No. 42 Filip Bergevi, earning his first win over a ranked opponent in his young collegiate career. Boyden followed that up with a win of his own, and Cal would quickly even the score after No. 27 Andre Goransson rallied to defeat Blumberg in three sets.
With the remaining matches all going to third sets, Murray fought off two game points to break the serve of Bjorn Hoffman and carried that momentum to a victory. With No. 16 Schneider down 4-1 in a tiebreaker against No. 11 Florian Lakat, it was junior Robert Kelly who clinched the match for his team with a victory over No. 40 Billy Griffith.