The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday May 26th

Seniors help clinch win over Duke

Esben Hess-Olesen and Andrew Gores sealed the crucial doubles point.

Men's tennis vs Duke
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Hess-Olesen zoomed the ball toward Duke’s court. The ball connected with a Blue Devil player’s racket, but the ball harmlessly hit the net and dropped to the pollen-covered cement. Gores immediately sprung into the air and embraced his partner, Hess-Olesen.

The pair had just claimed the opening point on their Senior Day — helping UNC (17-8, 6-3 ACC) clinch a 5-2 victory over Duke (19-4, 6-3) at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.

“We know that Gores is a good doubles player,” said Coach Sam Paul. “He understands the game. And Esben is a great doubles player. He’s played number one doubles for us.

“They just really wanted it bad and stepped up.”

For Hess-Olesen, the match was the perfect setup — playing against archrival Duke in his last-ever home match.

“I don’t think I realized what happened, I was just so pumped up,” Hess-Olesen said. “The adrenaline was pushing us through and kept us going the entire doubles match.”

Gores and Hess-Olesen have been best friends since they entered UNC’s tennis program, rooming together for the past three years.

To Gore, the Senior Day victory was a dream come true.

“We had a belief in each other,” Gore said. “He’s one of my best friends and we just believe in each other so much and we know that we have so much fight in us. We knew that if we stayed the course, that we’d get the job done together.”

Hess-Olesen had to retire from his singles match due to recurring back problems, and Gores did not participate in singles play.

But picking up the slack for the seniors was sophomore Ronnie Schneider, who clinched the match for the Tar Heels with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Duke’s Jason Tahir.

Schneider knew that Hess-Olesen and Gores handled doubles. And as he was preparing for the last point of the match, he had only one thing rolling through his mind — do it for them.

“Gores jumped over the net and was the first one to get to me,” Schneider said. “And I could see his face when I was looking up and I’ve never seen anyone so happy. I will never forget that.”

Hess-Olesen said that he and the other seniors have embraced their roles as leaders on the team.

And leading his team to victory in their final home match will be something he won’t soon forget.

“It’s a really special feeling,” Hess-Olesen said. “It’s probably the best feeling I’ve had since entering college.”

sports@dailytarheel.com



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