NOTRE DAME, IND. - The University of North Carolina men's tennis team notched its fifth Top 25 victory of the season and its second Top 10 triumph as it defeated ninth-ranked Notre Dame 5-2 Sunday afternoon at the Eck Tennis Pavilion. It was a matchup of the eighth-ranked Tar Heels, who improved to 18-3 overall and 5-1 in the ACC with the victory.
The No. 9 Fighting Irish were the first Top 10 ranked opponent the Tar Heels have beaten on the road since April 11, 2012 when North Carolina staged a furious rally from a 3-0 deficit to win at fifth-ranked Duke 4-3. It was the first match the Fighting Irish have been able to host outdoors all season. The loss to Carolina dropped the Irish to 13-7 overall and 3-3 in the maiden season in the ACC.
Carolina demonstrated some of its best doubles play of the season in the match before finishing things off with four straight sets wins to singles to attain the final 5-2 margin.
North Carolina swept the three doubles matches while dropping only six total games. It was arguably the best doubles the Tar Heels have played all season and was even more impressive coming against a Top 10 team. Brayden Schnur and Brett Clark combined for the win at #1 doubles, Nelson Vick and Oystein Steiro was the winning combination at #2 doubles and Ronnie Schneider and Jack Murray won at #3 doubles.
Coach Sam Paul's team went on to play excellent singles. In past matches against Top 25 teams, UNC has relied on the top of its singles lineup to carry the day. On Sunday against the Fighting Irish, it was the bottom half of the lineup that carried the day.
With the Tar Heels up 1-0, junior Oystein Steiro made quick work of Eddy Covalschi, winning 6-1, 6-3 at #5 singles. Freshman Ronnie Schneider's return to his home state proved to be a successful one as he won at #2 singles over Ryan Bandy 6-3, 6-4. Carolina then clinched the match as Jack Murray, another freshman, outlasted Josh Hagar of the Irish at #4 singles, 6-3, 7-6 (2).
The Irish won the next two matches off the court with Quentin Monaghan winning a tough three-setter over UNC's Brett Clark at #3 singles and 29th-ranked Greg Andrews rallying past Carolina's Brayden Schnur at the top spot.
UNC finished off the triumph as the lone senior in the Tar Heel lineup, Nelson Vick, won at #6 singles. Vick won a pair of tiebreakers to prevail over the Irish's Eric Schnurrenberger.
The Tar Heels continue their ACC road warrior status next weekend when it plays at Florida State on Friday afternoon and at Miami Sunday afternoon.
#8 North Carolina 5, #9 Notre Dame 2
Doubles (Team Winning Majority Of Matches Earns One Team Point)
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3
Singles (One Team Point Per Singles Match)
1. #29 Greg Andrews (ND) d. #10 Brayden Schnur (UNC), 5-7, 6-1, 6-1
2. #25 Ronnie Schneider (UNC) d. Ryan Bandy (ND), 6-3, 6-4
3. Quentin Monaghan d. #58 Brett Clark (UNC), 6-3, 3-6, 5-1 (Retired, Injury)
4. Jack Murray (UNC) d. Josh Hagar (ND), 6-3, 7-6 (2)
5. Oystein Steiro (UNC) d. Eddy Covalschi (ND), 6-1, 6-3
6. Nelson Vick (UNC) d. Eric Schnurrenberger (ND), 7-6, 7-6
Order of Finish: 5, 2, 4, 3, 1, 6
Records: North Carolina (18-3, 5-1 ACC), Notre Dame (13-7, 3-3 ACC)