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The Daily Tar Heel
From the Press Box

UNC men's tennis falls to Louisville

The next-man-up strategy had been working for the North Carolina men's tennis team.

But it was no match for the talent of the Louisville Cardinals on Friday.

After a five-match winning streak, the No. 10 Tar Heels (14-6, 3-1 ACC) saw their streak come to an end at the hands of No. 26 Louisville (15-4, 3-2 ACC). The Cardinals won the first four matches of the day to secure the 5-2 victory at Bass-Rudd Tennis Center.

The Tar Heels were again without ninth-ranked sophomore Brayden Schnur due to injury and were forced to move all of the singles players one spot up in the lineup.

“It’s tough not having Brayden out there,” Coach Sam Paul said. “We’ve had a lot of guys step up in his place but we had a tough time today.”

The one player who has had to adjust the most in Schnur’s absence has been 24th-ranked sophomore Ronnie Schneider. Schneider has had to move up to the No. 1 singles spot and play against much tougher competition.

Friday’s 6-3, 6-1 loss to Louisville’s top-ranked Sebastian Stiefelmeyer was an eye opening experience for Schnieder.

“I had been playing pretty well at first singles,” Schneider said. “I played against a great player today so I had very little room for error and I wasn’t able to execute the way that I wanted.”

Despite the loss, Schneider is confident that his experience playing top competition will make him a better player in the long run.

“To become a better player you need to play against the best guys out there,” he said. “I can learn a lot about the areas I need to improve on more when I lose a match because (Stiefelmeyer) attacked some of my weaknesses.”

Paul agreed that the experience would benefit Schneider. 

“He’s a really good player,” Paul said. “Matches like this will help him elevate his game to another level.”

Although Schneider was disappointed in the outcome of his singles match, he couldn’t help but bring up the 8-7 doubles loss that he and sophomore Jack Murray suffered. With the first two doubles matches split, a win could have given the Tar Heels the first point of the match.

“It was a really tight match,” Schneider said. “Jack and I both have some shots that we’d like to have back because it would have been nice to win that first point and get some momentum going into singles.”

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