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No. 10 UNC men's tennis bests Notre Dame in South Bend to stay undefeated in ACC play

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First-year Will Jansen competes against Boston College at the Chapel Hill Tennis Club on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023. 

The No. 10 North Carolina men’s tennis team (9-4, 2-0 ACC) bested No. 40 Notre Dame (8-5, 0-1) 4-2 in South Bend on Friday afternoon. 

What happened?

The Tar Heels got off to a strong start in doubles play, clinching all three matches to take home the doubles point and gain an early lead. No. 29 ranked graduate Ryan Seggerman was unavailable, due to a minor injury, leading to a slightly altered lineup in which the No. 37 ranked pair of graduate Brian Cernoch and first year Benjamin Kittay were called up to face off against the No. 47 ranked duo of Sebastian Dominko and Conner Fu on the No. 1 court. They remained in the lead for the entirety of the match, leading 6-5 before it was called after the other two courts had finished. 

First year Will Jansen and graduate Karl Poling played on the No. 2 court, and were the first to finish, securing a 6-2 victory. They were quickly followed by sophomore Casey Kania and junior Peter Murphy, who won their match 6-4. 

In singles play, No. 112 ranked Jansen stepped up to play No. 2 for the second match in a row, due to Seggerman’s absence. He dominated against his opponent, utilizing his big left-handed serve to fly his way to a 6-0, 6-1 win, earning the first singles point of the night for the Tar Heels.  

No. 72 ranked Cernoch, playing in the No. 1 position, got off to a slow start in his match, dropping the first set 2-6. He was able to fight back however, and draw on his strong base of experience to pull out a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 victory against No. 38 Dominko in a strong showing of resilience. 

Who stood out? 

Jansen continued to impress for North Carolina, consistently playing and winning at a high level despite only being a first-year. He was able to dominate in both his doubles and singles contests to give the Tar Heels two important points in the tight match against the Irish. 

Cernoch was also key in North Carolina’s winning efforts, clinching a key come-from-behind victory against a ranked opponent to give the Tar Heels the upper hand. 

When was it decided?

Although the Tar Heels got off to an early lead, the Fighting Irish seemed to be the more dominant team in singles play, leading North Carolina from the start. By the halfway mark of the match, the teams found themselves knotted, with four of the courts battling it out in highly contested matches that could have swung either way. 

The Tar Heels were ultimately able to find an edge though, and Poling secured a 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 victory to give North Carolina its winning point.

Why does it matter?

The win takes the Tar Heels to 2-0 in the extremely competitive ACC conference, and grants them a solid start to the season. Furthermore, it also gives them strong forward momentum that will be needed going into a difficult road match against No. 20 Loiusville on Sunday, where they will attempt to continue their undefeated conference record. 

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will next take the court on Sunday in Louisville, Kentucky, to face No. 20 Louisville. 

@PeaceGwen

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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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.