The No. 16 North Carolina men’s tennis squad bested No. 47 Miami with a final score of 4-2 on Senior Day at the Chewning Tennis Center.
The Tar Heels came out swinging in the doubles portion of the match as all three pairs jumped out to an early lead. First-year Will Jansen and graduate student Karl Poling finished first after defeating their Miami counterparts 6-4. Shortly after, first-year Benjamin Kittay and graduate student Brian Cernoch clinched the doubles point for the Tar Heels thanks to their 6-4 victory.
Multiple Tar Heels found themselves in an early hole during their singles matches, including graduate student Brian Cernoch, who currently sits at No. 45 in the country. Cernoch dropped his first set 1-6 and was forced to fight for a comeback. Jansen was the first UNC player to clinch their first set as he bested his opponent 6-1.
The early troubles continued for North Carolina as graduate student Ryan Seggerman and sophomore Chris Li both dropped their first sets. Kittay got the Tar Heels back on track after winning his tightly contested first set in a tiebreak. Poling was also successful in his first set and defeated his opponent 6-4.
Cernoch dropped his last home match as a Tar Heel after being defeated by his opponent in two sets. Li also dropped his match in two sets which awarded Miami a 2-1 lead. Jansen endured a highly competitive second set and was forced to play a tiebreak with hopes of earning the Tar Heels their second point of the match. Both players served extremely well and the tiebreak remained neck-and-neck, but Jansen fell 8-10 to force a third set.
Seggerman staged a comeback and won the second set 6-3. He continued his success and won the third set 6-2 to tie the match at 2-2. One court over, Poling regained the lead for the Tar Heels after winning his second set 7-5. With only two matches remaining, it was up to Jansen or Kittay to secure the victory for the Tar Heels.
Jansen dominated the third set and, after some officiating concerns, clinched the match for the Tar Heels after a 6-3 victory.
Who stood out?
The doubles pairs for the Tar Heels showed their strength early in the match in order to give the Tar Heels their first point of the match. In addition, Seggerman and Poling had great outings as they secured two critical points for North Carolina late in the match.
When was it decided?
The match remained highly competitive until the last serve. It was up to Jansen and Kittay, who were both forced to play third sets, to determine the outcome of the bout. Jansen eventually secured the victory for the Tar Heels after a successful third set.
Why does it matter?
This win gives the Tar Heels much-needed momentum before the ACC Championship this week. The doubles sweep is a great sign for UNC as they tend to have more success when they are able to secure the doubles point. Beating a ranked opponent on Senior Day is not an easy feat, but the Tar Heels were able to grind it out. This trait can be crucial as they look ahead to the postseason.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will travel to Cary on Wednesday to compete in the ACC Championship. The seeding and start times have yet to be determined.
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