Tar Heels Punch Final 16 Ticket With 4-1 Win Over South Carolina
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The seventh-ranked North Carolina men's tennis team earned a 4-1 win over South Carolina on Sunday afternoon in the second round of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships at Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center. With the victory, the Tar Heels will move on to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen and face No. 8-ranked Georgia in Athens, Ga. on Friday at 4 p.m. The Bulldogs are the host school for the final four rounds of the championships and go into Friday match as the tournament's No. 10 seed.
The Tar Heels improve to 26-5 on the season with the victory, breaking the all-time team single-season wins record of 25 victories achieved in both 1992 and 2006. North Carolina also advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in both of those seasons. South Carolina fell to 16-14 on the season with the loss.
Doubles action provided early drama for the crowd of over 140 people.
On court two, Nelson Vick and Oystein Steiro edged the Gamecocks' pair of Andrew Adams and Kyle Koch 8-7 (7-4) to get the Tar Heels on the board. The Tar Heel duo of Ronnie Schneider and Jack Murray then rattled off four straight games on court two to force a tiebreaker after trailing 7-3. In the tiebreaker, the pair of standout freshmen fought off a match point before Schneider sent a winner down the alley that nicked the racket of a South Carolina player, giving the Tar Heels the doubles point 8-7 (9-7).
In singles action, sophomore Brett Clark tied UNC's single-season singles wins record with a 6-4, 6-3 victory on court three. Clark's win ties him with former Tar Heel All-Americas Roland Thornqvist and Nick Monroe, both of whom achieved 36 wins in the 1992-93 and 2003-04 campaigns, respectively.
No. 15 Brayden Schnur added a 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 54 Andrew Adams on court one, and No. 33 Ronnie Schneider punched Carolina's ticket to Athens, Ga. by outlasting Tsvetan Mihov 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 on court two.
South Carolina junior Kyle Koch tallied a 6-3, 6-2 win over Jack Murray on court five for the Gamecocks' sole team point.
The doubles match on court one was halted after the doubles point was clinched. No. 25 Brayden Schnur and Brett Clark were locked up at 6-6 with South Carolina's 30th-ranked duo of Chip Cox and Tsvetan Mihov. In singles, matches on courts four and six did not finish.
"I'm just really proud of my team today," said North Carolina head coach Sam Paul. "I would like to congratulate South Carolina. They are well coached and those guys fought tooth and nail."
The Tar Heels will be looking for a measure of revenge against Georgia on Friday. In the 2012 NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs beat North Carolina 4-0 in the Sweet Sixteen. North Carolina is 7-11 all-time against Georgia.
Notes:With Sunday's win, the Tar Heels are now 42-17-1 all-time against South Carolina
#7 North Carolina 4, #28 South Carolina 1
Singles (One Team Point Per Singles Match)
Order of match finish: (5,1,3,2)
1. #15 Brayden Schnur (UNC) d. #54 Andrew Adams (USC), 6-4, 6-4
2. #33 Ronnie Schneider (UNC) d. Tsvetan Mihov (USC), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
3. #78 Brett Clark (UNC) d. Thiago Pinheiro (USC), 6-4, 6-3
4. Oystein Steiro (UNC) led Chip Cox (USC), 1-6, 7-6(5), 2-0, DNF
5. Kyle Koch (USC) d. Jack Murray (UNC), 6-3, 6-2
6. Andrew Schafer (USC) led Nelson Vick (UNC), 1-6, 6-4, 3-1, DNF
Doubles (Team Winning Majority Of Matches Earns One Team Point)
Order of match finish: (2,3)
Team Records: North Carolina 26-5; South Carolina 16-14