UNC men's tennis heads to Sweet Sixteen with win over South Carolina
The North Carolina men’s tennis team is Sweet 16-bound for the fourth year in a row.
In one of the loudest and most intense matches of the year, the No. 10 Tar Heels did not break in their 4-1 win over No. 20 South Carolina on Saturday afternoon at Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.
With a 6-4 win on Court One and a 6-4 win on Court Two, North Carolina secured the doubles point. Then, in singles, North Carolina refocused and clinched five out of six first sets — two of which had to be decided in tiebreak. First-year William Blumberg grinded out a 6-4, 6-4 win on Court 2.
Blaine Boyden was able to hold on in the second set to win 6-2, 6-4 after weathering a massive comeback. And Simon Soendergaard wrapped up the second round of the NCAA Tournament with his 7-5, 6-4 win on Court 4.
“From the start, I think we set the tone that, in my mind, we were going to have the biggest heart out of any college tennis team,” first-year Will Blumberg said. “I think we continued to show that today.”
UNC will travel to Athens, Georgia, where it'll face California in a Sweet 16 matchup on May 18 at 7 p.m.
On Friday, the Tar Heels beat a VCU team coached by one of the winningest coaches in college tennis history, Paul Kostin. And Saturday's win was a top-10 matchup. Needless to say, the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament were not a walk in the park for the Tar Heels.
“I think it helps you a lot,” Paul said of being tested early in the tournament. “We had a great week and a half of practice, even during exams. The guys did a great job, and I think having a tough regionals will help us in the next round.”
Ronnie Schneider and Jack Murray, the two starting seniors on the Tar Heel roster, have contributed to some of the most successful years in UNC men’s tennis history.
“I didn’t try to think too much about it when the match went on,” Murray said. “I started there, my freshman year, against South Carolina in the second round to go to Athens and here we are."
"To come full circle, I’m really excited.”
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