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The Daily Tar Heel

Ronnie Schneider advances in NCAA Singles Tournament while Brayden Schnur, Brett Clark fall

Members of the North Carolina men’s tennis team had mixed results in the opening round of the NCAA Singles Tournament at the Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla., on Wednesday. No. 26 junior Brayden Schnur and No. 46 senior Brett Clark lost their matches in straight sets, while No. 28 junior Ronnie Schneider won the only match for the Tar Heels with a three-set victory.

What Happened?

The top three players were back on the courts for the Tar Heels on Wednesday. They were looking to shake off the loss the team suffered on Sunday at the hands of Georgia, and get the program back on the winning path at the end of the season.

In the morning session of matches it seemed that the Tar Heels losing streak in Tulsa would continue. Both Schnur and Clark got off to slow starts in the first set, and would go on to lose them 6-2. Neither of the players, who have been able to rally to win big matches for their team this season, were able to come back in the second set..

By the time Schneider took the court in the afternoon he knew he was the team’s last chance at a singles title this season. He came out in the first set on a mission, and ended up winning it, 6-2. His opponent, UNC-Wilmington senior Santtu Leskinen, battled back in the second set, taking it 6-4, leaving Schneider in a very familiar place. He would have to battle in a third set to get the win, and eventually won the third set, 6-3, extending his season for at least another day.

Who Stood Out?

Schneider was the only one of the three Tar Heels in the singles tournament to pick up a victory, and he did it in his typical style. It was not always pretty, and he does not always make it easy on himself, but he finds a way to get the win.

“I just want to represent UNC as well as I can. I’m really glad that UNC did not go 0-3 on the day,” he said. “I was glad to get a win, because I don’t think going 0-3 in the first round would do our team, and our program, any justice for how good we really are and have been.”

When was it decided?

Schnur and Clark never seemed to be able to get any momentum in their matches.

There were many factors affecting the players today. They were trying to bounce back from a difficult team loss, and they had to wait out rain delays, deal with strong winds and work with high-bouncing courts. How much of an impact any of those things had on the final outcome is not easily determined, but what is certain is that neither player was ever truly competitive in their matches. 

Why does it Matter?

With his loss today, Clark ends his career with the Tar Heels. He goes out as one of the winningest players in the program's history with over 200 combined wins in singles and doubles play. He was the team captain, and was respected by both players and coaches. Schnur has one year of eligibility remaining, and, assuming he returns next season, will again be the Tar Heels' top player. He battled injuries this season, which seemed to bother him most of the spring. If he could stay healthy for his entire senior season, he would be a force at the top of the Tar Heels lineup. 

Schneider’s win today advances him to the second round of the singles tournament for the third consecutive season. 

When do they play next?

Schneider will face Florida State’s Benjamin Lock on Thursday, and Schnur and junior Jack Murray will compete in the doubles tournament against Zvonmir Babic and Filip Kraljevic of Ole Miss. 

Sophomore Robert Kelly and Clark were also set to compete in the doubles tournament. However, Kelly’s injury that kept him out of team play will also keep him from competing in the doubles tournament.

@CPhillips2020

sports@dailytarheel.com

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