The duo scored a huge upset against a surging Wake Forest team, comprised of Skander Mansouri and Christian Seraphim. Having won 12 matches in a row, Mansouri and Seraphim were ranked the No. 9 doubles team in the nation and looked poised to extend their streak.
But Clark and Kelly had other plans, and a streak of their own to build upon.
Having now won seven in a row, the pair, ranked No. 59 in the nation, continues to build momentum and improve upon its play together.
“We have very similar playing styles, and (Brett) has sort of taken me under his wing this season,” said Kelly, a freshman. “We just click.”
But their doubles play wasn’t all that clicked, as both fought back from dropped first sets to win their singles matches as well.
For Kelly, the support of his team helped him battle back.
“Coming into this program as a freshman, you have a lot to prove,” Kelly said. “And I knew my teammates will rally around me no matter what.”
The situation looked grim for the Tar Heels, as every singles player dropped his first set.
When the dual looked like it was going to end in quick fashion, Clark and Kelly stepped up.
“Once I saw that we lost all six first sets, I knew I just had to battle,” Clark said. “I really just laid it on the line for my team. I knew we were going to need it.”
Despite their efforts, the Tar Heels fell just short.
“I was impressed with how our guys fought back,” Coach Sam Paul said. “But we had already dug ourselves a pretty deep hole.”
Doubles play proved to be the deciding factor, as the point earned from doubles play gave Wake Forest the advantage it needed.
But the Tar Heels cannot fixate on what could have been, as their only option is to move forward.
With every loss coming on the road, UNC knows now where they need to improve.
“We’ve been undefeated at home this season,” Kelly said. “But we have a lot of work to do in terms of our mindset and how we approach away matches.”
The Tar Heels couldn’t maintain that mindset on Sunday, but Clark and Kelly did their part.