The doubles duo of Parker and Brett Clark, which hasn’t dropped a doubles match all season, was forced into a comeback situation when UT-Chattanooga took the lead halfway through the match.
Although the two managed to get back in front and win the match 8-5, giving UNC all three doubles matches, Parker said it took the pair time to get going because the team hasn’t played a match in two weeks.
“We weren’t doing some things we needed to do, and we let our intensity drop,” Parker said. “We were playing well, we just gave away a few free points.”
But the eventual sweep of the doubles matches gave the Tar Heels the momentum going into the singles matches, and it showed.
They took the first set in all six of the matches.
While Parker, Nelson Vick and Oystein Steiro kept that control in their respective second sets to get the three points UNC needed to clinch the win, the Mocs rallied late in the final three matches, taking two of them to tiebreakers before the Tar Heels were able to seal the win.
Coach Sam Paul said he thought the reason for the late slowdown was a distinct lack of intensity.
“I wasn’t pleased with how we played, as far as shot selection and intensity,” Paul said. “They came out asleep. You have to play with intensity and you have to play hard, and we talked about that.”
But after the drawn out ending to their first match, the Tar Heels came out swinging in their second match of the day.
Steiro and Andrew Gores dismantled their opponents in their doubles match, winning 8-0, and Parker and Clark drastically improved on their earlier doubles performance with an 8-2 win against the Eagles.
“The intensity and focus level was much better (against NCCU),” Clark said. “Everyone wanted to take care of business and get off the court as quickly as possible, so we tried to focus on every point and get it done.”
That improvement translated to the singles matches as well, with Steiro, Maik Ulrich, and Stuart DePaolo all taking their singles matches in straight sets and without dropping a game.
While those wins clinched UNC’s victory, the Tar Heels also finished off the three other matches in straight sets to claim the perfect 7-0 win.
Despite the marked progress between the two matches of the day, Paul said that the team still was not playing with the intensity it needs going into the rest of the season, especially its next match against No. 4 Ohio State on Wednesday.
“We have to come out with intensity against everyone we play,” Paul said. “In our league, in the rest of the matches we have the rest of the year, we’ve got to play with intensity on every single point.”
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