Going into action against No. 16 Wake Forest on Sunday, UNC men's tennis head coach Sam Paul said the match against its in-state rival would be a "stern test" for his group.
The Tar Heels went into the weekend having won seven of their last nine matchups, with a Friday loss to N.C. State disrupting the team's momentum. Although the test against Wake Forest was certainly challenging, it wasn't insurmountable for the No. 13 Tar Heels, who won 4-3.
Thanks in large part to a crucial doubles point clinched by sophomore Casey Kania and graduate Ryan Seggerman and a deciding singles performance from first-year Will Jansen, the Tar Heels handled the Demon Deacons in the tightly contested victory.
Kania and Seggerman's win in No. 1 doubles gave UNC a much-needed point heading into the final stretch. In a 7-4 tiebreak victory, the pair leaned on one another to capture the win.
“We didn’t get off to the start we wanted but we tried to stay positive,” Seggerman said. “Casey playing well kept me locked in [and] focused, and fortunately the points went our way in the end.”
Kania also added that Paul played a large part in helping the Tar Heels stay calm. After falling behind 3-0, the tandem climbed back to force the tiebreak that eventually resulted in a key victory.
“(He told us) to commit to our game style,” Kania said. “We’re playing our best tennis when we’re not putting pressure on ourselves to hit the perfect shot or win every single point.”
Later, it was up to Jansen to mount a comeback of his own after going down 3-5 in the third and final set of singles. His match-point save and three consecutive game wins helped clinch a thrilling 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 victory over Wake Forest's Matthew Thomson.
After fending off defeat, Jansen put together a quality stretch that ultimately helped him pull away for good.