First-year Will Blumberg made his highly anticipated competitive debut as the No. 9 North Carolina men’s tennis team cruised past Bucknell and Wofford in its first dual matches of 2017.
In a season-opening doubleheader, the Tar Heels faced off against Bucknell in the early match before taking on Wofford in the afternoon.
In the first match, wins by the pairings of Will Blumberg/Robert Kelly (6-1) and Blaine Boyden/Joshua Peck (6-0) clinched the doubles point for UNC, before singles victories by Blumberg (6-3, 6-1), Kelly (6-0, 6-1), Boyden (6-1, 6-2), Jack Murray (6-0, 6-0), and Arturo Schmidt (6-4, 6-0) sealed the deal, with the Tar Heels taking the match 6-0 over Bucknell.
The dominance continued in the second match of the day, as North Carolina once again clinched the doubles point through victories by Blumberg/Kelly (6-2) and Anu Kodali/Boyden (6-1).
In singles play, victories by Murray (6-0, 6-2), Boyden (6-2, 6-1), and No. 38 ranked Ronnie Schneider (6-2, 6-0) finished off the day. In the end, the Tar Heels defeated Wofford 4-0.
Who stood out?
While the entire UNC team played flawlessly, the performance by Blumberg caught the eye of many spectators. The 18-year-old Connecticut native and former No. 1 recruit used his lightning-fast serve and solid groundstrokes to overpower his opponents in all four of the matches he played.
He lived up to the hype that had been building ever since he committed to UNC, and the team's coaches will continue to ask him to contribute significantly as the year goes on.
When was it decided?
UNC looked comfortable from the very start of both matches, and the results never looked in doubt as the Tar Heels didn't drop a set in any match on their way to both victories.
Why does it matter?
North Carolina could not have asked for a better start to the season, and it will be hoping to carry this momentum into a busy next couple of weeks.
The Tar Heels have five matches in the span of 14 days leading into the ITA National Team Indoors in mid-February.
Where do they play next?
The Tar Heels have two days off before they take on UNC-Greensboro in Chapel Hill at 4 p.m. on Monday.
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