The No. 11 North Carolina men’s tennis team (13-5, 5-1 ACC) defeated No. 68 Georgia Tech (11-8, 2-3 ACC) 5-2 Friday afternoon in Atlanta.
The Tar Heels got off to a rocky start in doubles play, finding themselves in close matches on all three courts. The No. 19 ranked pair of graduate Ryan Seggerman and sophomore Casey Kania were able eek out a two point lead that they sustained for the rest of their match against the No. 20 ranked team of Andres Martin and Marcus McDaniel to attain a 6-4 win.
On the second court, No. 54 ranked graduate Brian Cernoch and first year Benjamin Kittay came from behind to tie the match at 5-5, before winning 2 consecutive points to secure a 7-5 victory and the first point for North Carolina.
In singles play No. 47 ranked Cernoch, facing No. 34 ranked Martin on court No. 1, struggled early to find his footing, dropping the first point to immediately fall behind. He was able to rally back to get within touching distance towards the end of the first set, but it ultimately proved not to be enough, and he dropped the set 4-6. From there, Martin was able to take complete control of the match, winning the second set 6-1, to give Georgia Tech its first point and tie the match 1-1.
On the second court, No. 37 ranked Seggerman got off to a similar start as Cernoch, in what appeared to be a fairly even match against No. 60 ranked McDaniel. However, Seggerman stayed close throughout the first set and was able to win the first set in a 7-4 tiebreak. The second set proved easier for Seggerman, who clinched the match 7(7)-6(4), 6-3 to give the Tar Heels another point.
The bottom half of the singles line up all found success in their matches with No. 100 ranked graduate Karl Poling, junior Logan Zapp, and Kittay each winning to give North Carolina a 5-2 victory.
Who stood out?
Seggerman, who has been in and out of the rotation this season due to minor injuries, looked strong throughout the match, helping the team to both a singles and doubles point and ultimate victory. His doubles play was impressive, and he and Kania were able to overcome the 20th best team in the nation in a straight match. He also excelled in singles, besting a strong opponent in two sets in a strong showing for the graduate student.
When was it decided?
Although North Carolina won the doubles point, the match remained close in its early stages, with Georgia Tech securing the first singles point to tie 1-1. From there however, the Tar Heels were able to win the next three points in a row to secure a victory, with Seggerman clinching the match for North Carolina.
Why does it matter?
The win brings the Tar Heels to 5-1 in the competitive ACC and continues their impressive showing so far in conference play. They will need to use this forward momentum in order to win again Sunday on the road, before facing a tough back-to-back gauntlet of instate rivals NC State, Wake Forest, and Duke the following week.
When do they play next?
North Carolina next takes the court on Sunday, March 26, to face off against Clemson on the road. The match is set to begin at noon.
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