“We played a very good match mentally all the way through,” Paul said. “Up and down the line, singles and doubles.”
After a major rivalry match on Thursday, physical and emotional fatigue was a concern coming into the weekend.
“I was worried about that, to be very honest with you,” Paul said in regards to any possible mental hangover from Duke. “But our guys were locked in from point one, so I was very happy.”
Senior Blaine Boyden has experienced his fair share of collegiate action and was confident that his team would not be hung up on their victory against Duke.
“That result is in the past, we are just trying to focus on the present,” Boyden said. “I thought we had a really good focus level going into the match and I think it showed with the way we played today.”
Who stood out?
Boyden, the experienced senior, stepped up his game on a higher court than he usually plays for the Tar Heels, dealing his opponent Alex Ribeiro a pair of 6-4 losses in each set to cement the sweep for UNC. Boyden’s singles performance on Court Three represented the trust that his coach has in all of his players to step up and take on elite competition.
“It was good for him, very good,” Paul said on Boyden’s success in a higher spot. “It doesn’t make any difference what number they play.”
When was it decided?
As one might expect from the No. 5 team in the nation facing an unranked foe, the Tar Heels never allowed the Hokies to get within striking distance of their lead. A quick doubles point and a clean sweep in singles gave UNC the chance to focus on playing a mistake-free match.
Standout Boyden put the nail in the coffin with his final set victory of the day and expressed excitement about his team’s execution as a whole.
“It felt great,” Boyden said. “Our goal going in was to play a complete team match, and I thought we did that.”
Why does it matter?
For the Tar Heels, Saturday’s victory gives them a 2-0 record in the ACC and proves that they will be a force to be reckoned with for the rest of conference play. They will look to take down Wake Forest later this month, who is the only other ACC team ranked in the national top 5. Paul harkened back to a familiar catchphrase when asked about the ceiling of this year’s men’s tennis team.
“The ceiling is the roof,” Paul said with a chuckle. “We’ve just got to keep getting better every single day.”
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels return to action after some time off on March 15th, when they will attempt to go 3-0 in the ACC against Georgia Tech.
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