On Court One, Soderlund and Sigouin continued their battle in a singles match.
Soderlund jumped on Sigouin, winning the first set 6-0. UVA’s Brandon Nakashima and Gianni Ross joined Soderland in taking their opening sets. North Carolina matched Virginia’s three opening set wins with victories from Cernoch and Boyden and Mac Kriger.
Cernoch and Boyden carried that success over to their second sets, controlling their opponents and easily securing 6-2 and 6-1 wins on courts four and five, launching the Tar Heels into the lead.
Virginia got a point back as Soderlund topped Sigouin on Court One. Sigouin fought hard in his second set, rebounding from a 6-0 drubbing by rallying in the second set, then eventually losing 7-5 and evening the score at 2-2.
After splitting straight set victories, the match came down to three matchups headed to third sets. UNC’s Josh Peck and Soendergaard did what Sigouin could not, winning their second sets and forcing a decisive third. Kriger dropped his second set by a lopsided 6-1 score, setting the stage for a dramatic finish in Charlottesville.
On Court Two, Peck got out to an early lead, but Nakashima proved too strong and took set three 6-3, vaulting the Cavaliers back into the lead, 3-2. That put Soendergaard and Kriger in a must-win position.
Kriger’s third set on court six was a back and forth affair. Neither player could gain firm control of the match. Kriger worked his way to a winning position, leading UVA’s Aswin Lizen, 5-4. But Lizen did not roll over, winning the game and tying the score at 5-5. After splitting and moving to a 6-6 score, Lizen took the final point from Kiger, winning 7-6 and securing a 4-2 win for the Cavaliers.
Who stood out?
Cernoch was a bright spot for the Tar Heels on Friday. He and Sigouin just missed out on delivering the doubles point for UNC, and he brought his strong play to his singles match, where he won in straight sets, manhandling Henrik Wiersholm 6-1 in the second set.
Boyden also put out an impressive effort for UNC. Despite losing 6-3 in his doubles match, he also won his singles round in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, helping keep North Carolina in contention for the final three singles.
When was it decided?
The match was decided on Court Six between Kiger and Lizen. After splitting sets one and two, they headed into pivotal third set with Virginia a point away from victory. They battled back and forth, but Lizen outlasted the sophomore, winning 7-6 in dramatic fashion to lock down a sixth straight win for Virginia.
Why does it matter?
With the ACC Tournament starting next Thursday, the Tar Heels got a good opportunity to measure up to one of the premier teams in the country. The loss leaves North Carolina with some problems to fix quickly heading into postseason play. Head coach Sam Paul said the outcome left a bitter taste in his mouth.
“We had a shot," Paul said. "We just have to hope we get another shot at them."
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels are back in action on Sunday when they head to Louisville to take on the Cardinals in their final match of the regular season.
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