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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC men's tennis ends winning streak 7-1 against Ohio State

After a four-match winning streak against unranked opponents, the No. 37 North Carolina men’s tennis team finally matched up against significant competition.

UNC (7-3) lost 4-1 to a stacked No. 7 Ohio State (13-2) team Wednesday evening in Chapel Hill, although the final result belied the closeness of the competition.

“It could have gone either way,” coach Sam Paul said. “A couple of points here or there, and the players from Ohio State picked it up.”

Tar Heel doubles pair Nelson Vick and Maik Ulrich were defeated 8-2 by the nation’s No. 12 doubles team, Ohio State’s Devin McCarthy and Ille Van Engelen.

A 8-3 defeat suffered by UNC’s Andrew Gores and Oystein Steiro followed.

Earning the doubles point gave the Buckeyes a lead going into singles play and a clear advantage: Ohio State would only need to win three singles matches for the overall victory, while the Tar Heels needed to claim four of the six matches.

The Tar Heels started off strong in singles, winning four of the six first sets they played.

The lead started to slip away in the second sets, when three of the four first set-winners dropped their second set. At this point, one more Buckeye victory would clinch the match.

The match-winning victory took place on court three, where senior co-captain William Parker failed to fend off his opponent in the third set.

Parker said he got too comfortable with his early lead.

“Second set, I probably relaxed a little too much, more than I should have, and he played well,” Parker said. “Next thing you know, you’re in the third set and it’s anyone’s match.”

Parker’s match reflected the close-fought contests in which his teammates competed. The only North Carolina player to win his singles match was Steiro.

After losing in doubles, Steiro won his first singles set in a tiebreak 7-6 (8-6), followed by a 6-4 second set victory.

Despite his looming 6-foot-6 height, Steiro said he was not able to see the scoreboard from his court, unaware of what was going on around him.

Instead, Steiro had to rely on information from his teammates in between his two sets.

“I asked Esben (Hess-Olesen) after I won my first set how we were doing on the other courts,” Steiro said. “He told me we won four first sets, which motivated me even more. I thought going through the second set that we can win this for sure.”

After winning his match, Steiro said his excitement quickly vanished as he realized his team had already lost.

“It was definitely disappointing; we could have beaten them.”

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