After being stuck indoors during two weeks of bad weather, the No. 9 North Carolina men’s tennis players faced an outdoor match they were supposed to win.
Tulsa (10-12) has had an up-and-down season thus far and was at the end of a four-game skid when it touched down in Chapel Hill, and the Tar Heels (16-2, 3-1 ACC) had won three of the last four matchups.
But North Carolina — recalling losses against similar borderline-tournament teams last year in Notre Dame and Florida State — knew it could not relax against a lineup who’d proven that they had the capabilities of beating a top-5 team.
“Every time they step on the court, we’re expecting them to bring their highest level, and I think they brought it somewhere close to that,” senior Ronnie Schneider said. “I think it was more that we, really the matches that we won in singles, took it to them.”
But while North Carolina emerged with a 5-2 victory — clinching the match at 4-1 — it wasn’t all sun rays and smiles. There were long rallies that facilitated long games. There were frequent, loud explosions of relief or energy after critical points. And there was even a ball pelted out of the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center at the conclusion of a frustrating set.