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No. 18 men's tennis opens season with sweeps of Campbell and North Carolina Central

UNC senior Brian Cernoch prepares for a hit during a men's tennis match against Virginia Tech on Friday, Mar. 4, 2022. UNC won 4-1.

The No. 18 North Carolina men's tennis team secured a 7-0 clean-sheet victory over both Campbell and North Carolina Central in a double header at home in Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center on Thursday afternoon to open its indoor season. 

What happened?

UNC began the match in a dominant fashion, immediately pulling ahead in all three of its doubles contests. Its success continued, and the pair of graduate student Karl Poling and first-year Will Jansen, playing in the No. 3 spot, raced to victory, securing a 6-3 win. The No. 2 combination of graduate student Brain Cernoch and first-year Benjamin Kittay were quick to follow, dominating their opponents 6-1. Graduate student Ryan Seggerman and sophomore Casey Kania closed out the first portion of the match, clinching a 6-3 win and allowing the Tar Heels to go undefeated in doubles. 

Singles play began in the same way, with North Carolina securing the first-set point on every court. Cernoch, playing in the No. 2 position, was the first to win, going 6-0, 6-1 in a fast-paced match against Lukas Steffen to put the first singles point on the board. Seggerman, on court one, was right behind him, winning 6-3, 6-1 against Damien Nezar to put North Carolina up 3-0. Poling, playing No. 4, clinched the match victory, triumphing over Benjamin Maes 6-4, 6-4. The remaining contingent of Tar Heels continued on to win in straight sets, ultimately resulting in a UNC clean sweep in straight sets, 7-0. 

The Tar Heels kept their forward momentum rolling against N.C. Central, and once again dominated in doubles. Poling and junior Peter Murphy gained the first point, clocking a clean-sweep 6-0 doubles victory. Cernoch and Kittay paired up together for the second time and were able to clinch the doubles point for UNC utilizing a consistent and well-practiced team strategy to earn a 6-2 win. 

Seggerman and Cernoch switched positions for their second singles matches of the day, which proved to be successful. Cernich was able to utilize his strong serve and ability to move the court around the ball to his advantage, trouncing Sebastian Pino 6-1, 6-1. Senior Anuj Watane, playing on court three, was the next to finish, besting Karreen Abdul Hakim 6-1, 6-1. Murphy secured the second consecutive match victory for the Tar Heels, besting Naresh Bharathy 6-2, 6-0 on the sixth court.  

Who stood out?

Seggerman, who showed his promise in the fall season, making it to the ITA All-American doubles finals with Cernoch and winning the Master’U Championship with Team USA, continued to impress, showcasing his versatility and consistency in both singles and doubles. 

Cernoch also shone, putting in dominant performances and never dropping more than a single point in any set throughout both matches. 

When was it decided?

UNC was in control of the match from the start against Campebell, never looking in danger of losing any one of its matches. The ultimate deciding factor however, proved to be Poling, who brought home the victory with his singles win. The same was true for the match against N.C. Central, with North Carolina dominating from the start. However, this time it was Murphy who brought home the final point to clinch the win. 

Why does it matter?

The strong showing for the Tar Heels in today's match gets UNC's team play off to a positive start and serves as a promising indicator for the rest of the season, in which they are set to take on multiple tough opponents. North Carolina will look to use the momentum from this victory and carry it into its fast-approaching match against No. 10 South Carolina, which will be its first true contest of the season. 

When do they play next?

North Carolina next takes the court on Sunday, January 19 to face No. 10 South Carolina. The match is set to begin at noon. 


@dthsports |

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Gwen Peace

Gwen Peace is the 2023-24 assistant sports editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as a senior writer. Gwen is a sophomore pursuing a double major in media and journalism and peace, war and defense.