It was a tale of two streaks that highlighted Friday’s action between the No. 6 North Carolina men’s tennis team and the No.7 Virginia Cavaliers.
UNC men's tennis defeated by Virginia Cavaliers, 7-0
For Virginia (11-2, 3-0 ACC), an ACC regular season winning streak that spanned more than seven years was on the line. On the other side, North Carolina’s Brayden Schnur looked to push his singles record to 14-0.
Some spirited play in doubles competition foreshadowed a possible epic match between the two powerhouses, but at the end of the day Schnur and North Carolina (15-3, 2-1 ACC) found themselves on the wrong end of both streaks, falling handily to the defending national champions 7-0.
A raucous crowd highlighted the doubles action between the two teams, as hundreds of fans packed the stands at Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center to cheer on North Carolina’s three doubles pairs.
The Tar Heels’ Nelson Vick joined in, letting out a, 'Come on Heels,' every time he and junior Oystein Steiro earned a point. But despite the energy from both Vick and the fans, the pair couldn’t pull out a victory, falling 8-5.
After a win by Schnur and Brett Clark on court one tied the doubles at one apiece, all of the crowd focused on the freshmen tandem of Jack Murray and Ronnie Schneider, who were up 7-6 against Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Justin Shane of Virginia. The match eventually went into a tie-breaker, which Murray and Schneider dropped 7-4.
Schneider commended the fans for their support during their doubles match, saying that the crowd was by far the best it had been all season.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t capitalize on it, but I thought the crowd was awesome,” Schneider said.
“That’s what college tennis and being a part of the North Carolina community is all about.”
With the doubles point going to Virginia, the Tar Heels looked to singles play as an opportunity to make a comeback. When all was said and done, however, North Carolina was unable to make up any ground on the Cavaliers, dropping all six singles points.
Schnur powered his first serve of the match by Alex Domijan for an ace in the first game, but the rest of the first set seemed like a bad dream for the Canadian freshman, as a slew of unforced errors caused him to drop the set 6-2.
In the fourth game of the second set, Schnur let out a scream that soared over the noise of the crowd after a dispute with the umpire over a line call. He went on to lose the game, and the three following, dropping his first singles match of the season to Domijan 6-2, 6-2.
An obviously frustrated Schnur said after the match that he just didn’t show up in singles.
Schnur and UNC looked to rebound from their shutout loss on Sunday, taking on No. 46 Virginia Tech at the indoor courts at Cone-Kenfield. This time the Tar Heels and Schnur rebounded, cruising to a dominant 6-1 victory.
Clark and Schnur struck first for North Carolina in doubles competition, beating the Hokies’ Andreas Bjerrehus and Hunter Koontz 8-6.
Steiro and Vick picked up an 8-5 win against Amerigo Contini and Joao Monteiro to clinch the doubles point for the Tar Heels, giving them more points than they accumulated the entire match against Virginia.
Singles action was once again highlighted by Schnur, who was looking to avenge a straight-sets loss on Friday. Schnur matched up Sunday against the No. 24 Contini, who recently took down Duke University’s No. 30 Michael Redlicki.
The first set of the two’s match looked eerily similar to Schnur’s loss Friday to Domijan, as sloppy play lost him the set, 6-4.
Things looked a little better for the freshman in the second set, as he found himself ahead 4-3 after seven games.
On the other courts, matches were just beginning to end, and as each Tar Heel finished their own match, they drifted to court one to help cheer on their number one player.
Contini was caught off guard by the sudden onslaught of support coming from behind his back, letting Schnur take the next two games to tie the match up at one set apiece.
During the beginning of the third set, Contini turned to the players after they cheered in between his serves, and then proceeded to plead to the umpire to quiet them.
And when a rattled Contini dropped the eighth game of the set, falling behind 5-3 against Schnur, he turned once again to the Carolina players, letting out a sarcastic, “Good job cheerleaders.”
With the team behind his back, Schnur dominated the last game of the third set, earning a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win against Contini.
“I was just happy to get the win today,” Schnur said.
“I have to give thanks to my teammates though; they got me through that match.”
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