North Carolina and South Carolina face off Saturday at 3 p.m. at Cone-Kenfield for a spot in the NCAA Sweet 16, with the Tar Heels looking to advance that far for the fourth year in a row. For tickets, click here.
“Credit to VCU – it wasn't a blowout by any stretch.,” UNC senior Ronnie Schneider said. “It's a really exciting opportunity against South Carolina tomorrow. They're a great team. We played them my freshman year and we're looking forward to a good battle. Up and down the lineup they're really good.”
Friday's match began about 30 minutes later than scheduled because the previous first-round match, in which South Carolina beat East Tennessee State 5-0, was pushed back to allow the outdoor courts time to dry from overnight showers. On a chilly, damp afternoon, a focused UNC team rolled to a quick point in doubles, winning 6-1 at No. 1 and 6-2 at No. 2.
“It was a big priority for us during the week to put an emphasis on doubles and I think all that practice paid off today,” Carolina senior Jack Murray said.
The Tar Heels won all six first sets in singles. Murray at No. 5 was the first to pick up a win, beating Ignacio Rivero 6-1, 6-1. On match point, Rivero returned Murray's serve into the net, giving the senior from Birmingham Hills, Mich., the 100th singles victory of his stellar career at UNC. “That's tremendous,” UNC coach Sam Paul said. “For anyone to get to that benchmark, that's a great career.”
Classmate Schneider added the next point, winning 6-3, 6-3 over VCU's Daryl Monfils at the top spot.
Junior Robert Kelly sealed the match with a win at No. 3. The first set went to a tiebreaker, which Kelly won 7-5. After that, he raced to a 6-1 win in the second set to push the Tar Heels to victory.
“We're glad to get through it and looking forward to playing a really good South Carolina team tomorrow,” Paul said.
May 12, 2017
NCAA Men's Tennis Championship First Round
Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center
Chapel Hill, N.C.
#9 North Carolina 4, VCU 0
Order of match finish: (1,2)
1. #12 Blumberg/Kelly (UNC) def. Monfils/Jonsson (VCU), 6-1
2. Murray/Soendergaard (UNC) def. Lima/Noren (VCU), 6-2
3. Kodali/Schneider (UNC) vs. Amantegui/Ishizaka (VCU), 4-3, unf
Order of match finish: (5,1,3)
1. #22 Ronnie Schneider (UNC) def. Daryl Monfils (VCU), 6-3, 6-3
2. #16 William Blumberg (UNC) vs. Marten Jonsson (VCU), 6-4, 5-2 unf
3. #116 Robert Kelly (UNC) def. Arvid Noren (VCU), 7-6(5), 6-1
4. Simon Soendergaard (UNC) vs. Vitor Lima (VCU), 6-4, 5-2 unf
5. Jack Murray (UNC) def. Ignacio Rivero (VCU), 6-1, 6-1
6. Blaine Boyden (UNC) vs. Javier Amantegui (VCU), 6-2, 3-6, unf
Records: UNC 25-4, VCU 14-12