The No. 24 North Carolina men’s tennis team (10-6) had a 4-1 win on Friday evening over No. 29 Louisville (13-6).
After almost three weeks on the road, UNC was back at the Chapel Hill Tennis Club on Friday. As the doubles action kicked off, courts one and two had very tight scoreboards. That was not the case for court three, where senior Benjamin Sigouin and sophomore Peter Murphy took an early break and went on to win the set for the Tar Heels.
Both courts one and two remained equalized towards the end of their respective sets. UNC’s court one doubles prevailed with a 7-5 score after some long and intense rallies at the end.
In the singles matches, courts three, five, and six started with early breaks for the Tar Heels. North Carolina won the first set comfortably on both courts three and six, while the other matches had tighter scores. Murphy and No. 28 senior Brian Cernoch were first to finish, positioning UNC ahead on the scoreboard with a 3-0 lead.
The fourth point that secured UNC’s victory was hard to come across, with senior Mac Kiger winning the match for the Tar Heels in a second-set tiebreaker.
Even though the scoreboard was one-sided, Louisville put up a fight on both the singles and doubles matches, making the Tar Heels work hard for each point they won.
Who stood out?
Kiger exhibited his good form, with excellent defense in both doubles and singles. He had some strong baseline rallies in his singles match, where his slice on both the backhand and forehand gave him the upper edge.
Murphy was also playing some excellent tennis on Friday. He showcased his groundstrokes throughout his matches and showed his competency at net. Along with Sigouin, he put the team in a favorable position to win UNC’s doubles point on court three, and he also won comfortably in his singles match on court six.
Even though Kiger and Murphy stood out, all of UNC’s players proved that they are at a high level and are ready for the home stretch of the season.
When was it decided?
While the match was not completely decided until the fourth point was won, North Carolina positioned itself comfortably after singles play began. The hard-fought doubles point was very important for the Tar Heels, and they translated it into the singles matches.
By starting up with three early leads in the singles matches, it put UNC in a good position to win the match. It didn’t take long for North Carolina to go up 3-0 in the singles matches, but the fourth point to close out the victory was the one the Tar Heels needed to fight for the most.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels have five games remaining in the regular season to drive themselves upwards in the rankings. Today’s victory puts them in a good position for the ACC and NCAA tournaments that are coming up in the following months. The team’s positive momentum is important, especially in matches like today’s, where they faced a team that was nearby in the rankings.
The positive momentum that the Tar Heels gained during Friday’s match will also be important for their upcoming matches. North Carolina is set to face three ACC foes in the next ten days.
When do they play next?
The team will be traveling to South Bend, Indiana to face ACC opponent No. 23 Notre Dame on Sunday, March 27 at 1 p.m.
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