As the No. 24 North Carolina men’s tennis team grows stronger, the value of having an experienced group of core players should not be taken lightly.
Friday afternoon’s 4-1 win over No. 29 Louisville showed the importance of the team’s veterans. Acting as role models for the younger ones, the seniors exemplified the grit and determination needed to outperform top players and win championships.
The Tar Heels had a senior-heavy lineup on Friday. The three seniors that played were on the top three courts for the singles, with Benjamin Sigouin on court one. In the doubles, the team of seniors Brian Cernoch and Mac Kiger — who are ranked top five in the nation — played their match on court one.
With years of experience on the team, they know what is demanded of them to play in a top college tennis program and continue to deliver the best out of themselves.
“Ben, Mac, Brian have been a staple to our program for a long time,” head coach Sam Paul said. “To see these guys in practice and how they carry themselves to the matches — it's good, really good.”
On Friday, the seniors were constantly using their leadership to drive the team forwards. Sigouin and sophomore Peter Murphy were the Tar Heels’ court three doubles team. Sigouin providing consistent support for his partner, encouraging him to trust his game and go for shots.
North Carolina won its court three doubles match with a 6-1 score.
The team-first mentality spearheaded by the seniors has allowed the Tar Heels to become stronger, because, to hear the youngsters tell it, they make the younger players believe in themselves.
“They are the heart and soul of the team,” Murphy said. “They are huge mentors and huge role models for all our younger guys. We always look up to them for advice, leadership, examples — they’re definitely pivotal for what we do.”