The No. 1 ranked North Carolina men’s tennis team opened ACC play on the road against Florida State at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center. The Tar Heels suffered their first loss of the season, falling to the Seminoles 4-3 .
UNC (15-1, 0-1 ACC) and Florida State (10-4, 2-1 ACC) split the first two doubles matches. The doubles point rested on the shoulders of the Tar Heel’s top tandem of senior Brett Clark and sophomore Robert Kelly. They lost the deciding match 6-4, placing the team at a disadvantage heading into singles play.
Needing four wins in six matches for the team to clinch the victory, Clark and Kelly quickly rebounded in their individual matches, both winning in straight sets to put the Tar Heels back on top 2-1.
Following a lopsided straight-sets loss by junior Jack Murray, the teams were even at two point apiece. The Tar Heels still had their top two players in action, with juniors Brayden Schnur and Ronnie Schneider heading into decisive third sets. First-year Blaine Boyden, playing in the six position, was also headed to a third set.
After coming back from a 7-5 first-set loss to win the second set 6-2, Schnur could not keep the momentum going, and dropped the final set 6-3.
The pressure was on Schneider and Boyden to keep the team’s chance of continuing its undefeated spring season alive.
Schneider, having won his first set in a grueling tiebreaker, lost the third set 6-3, clinching the victory for Florida State. Boyden was allowed to finish his third set, which he won 6-2.
“They outplayed us at three of our best spots really,” said Coach Sam Paul. “Jack, Brayden and Ronnie. So they beat us there, and took the doubles point, so congratulations to them.”
“They’re a tough group of kids. They’ve been around a long time. We’ll find out what we’re made of, we’ve got a big challenge ahead of us.” — Paul on how he hopes his team will handle its first loss.
Murray's 6-2, 6-2 defeat was his first loss in singles competition this spring.
Three numbers that matter
15: The number of matches North Carolina had won consecutively before Friday.
5: The Tar Heels had won in a row by a score of 7-0 prior to Friday's defeat.
3: UNC played in three third sets in Friday's match.
The Tar Heels take on the Miami Hurricanes at 1p.m. Sunday.
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