TALLAHASSEE, FLA. - The ninth-ranked University of North Carolina men's tennis team gutted out a 5-2 victory over 30th-rated Florida State Friday evening at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center in a marathon match that took over four hours to complete.
With the victory UNC improved to 19-3 on the season and 6-1 in the ACC. The Seminoles fell to 15-8 overall and 3-4 in the ACC.
The loss was only the second at home this year for the Seminoles as they had dropped a 4-0 decision to #5 Oklahoma on February 7. Carolina improved to 8-2 this season in road and neutral site matches.
The Tar Heels made quick work of the doubles point, excelling at all three spots just as they had in their 5-2 win at #9 Notre Dame last Sunday. Ronnie Schneider and Jack Murray improved to 15-2 in doubles by winning at #3 doubles and shortly thereafter Oystein Steiro and Nelson Vick clinched the doubles point with an 8-6 win over Cristian Gonzalez Mendez and Marco Nunez. Brayden Schnur and Brett Clark finished off a doubles sweep for UNC as they defeated #41 Blake Davis and Dominic Controne 8-5 at the #1 spot.
There was plenty of drama in singles play where two three-set matches extended the final decision well into the evening before the Tar Heels gutted out the 5-2 victory.
The Seminoles evened the match at 1-1 when Marco Nunez defeated Oystein Steiro 6-1, 6-3 at #4 singles. Carolina regained the momentum when 25th-ranked Ronnie Schneider continued his spectacular freshman year by beating Dominic Cotrone (ranked #101) at #1 singles 6-1, 6-2. Schneider is now 29-4 in singles action this year.
At #6 singles, senior Nelson Vick won his third successive singles match as he downed Jake Albo 6-2, 7-5. FSU fought back to cut the UNC lead to 3-2 as Blake Davis won at #3 singles over Esben Hess-Olesen.
Achieving the final two singles decisions would not prove easy for Carolina but in both instances three-set wins were achieved by freshman Jack Murray and Brett Clark. Murray rallied to beat Michael Rinaldi at #5 singles. He was dominated in the first set 6-1 but rebounded to win the second set 6-2. The final set was a back-and-forth affair before going to a tiebreaker where Murray bageled his FSU opponent 7-0.
Clark won his 29th singles match of the season in a closely contested three-setter against 65th-ranked Cristian Gonzalez-Mendez. Clark won the first set 7-5 and was close to clinching in the second set but he fell 8-6 in a tiebreaker. Clark then took control of the match in the third set, winning 6-3.
The Tar Heels travel to Coral Gables, Fla., on Sunday for a noon match against the Miami Hurricanes (13-7, 3-4 ACC) at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.
#9 North Carolina 5, #30 Florida State 2
Doubles (Team Winning Majority Of Matches Earns One Team Point)
Order of match finish: (3,2,1)
Singles (One Team Point Per Singles Match)
Order of match finish: (4,1,6,3,5,2)
1. #25 Ronnie Schneider (UNC) d. #101 Dominic Cotrone (FSU), 6-1, 6-2
2. #58 Brett Clark (UNC) d. #65 Cristian Gonzalez Mendez (FSU), 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3
3. Blake Davis (FSU) d. Esben Hess-Olesen (UNC), 6-2, 7-6 (8-6)
4. Marco Nunez (FSU) d. Oystein Steiro (UNC), 6-1, 6-3
5. Jack Murray (UNC) d. Michael Rinaldi (FSU), 1-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-0)
6. Nelson Vick (UNC) d. Jake Albo (FSU), 6-2, 7-5Team Records: North Carolina (19-3, 6-1 ACC), Florida State (15-8, 3-4 ACC)