CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Fourth-ranked North Carolina earned a shutout victory in Atlantic Coast Conference men’s tennis play Wednesday afternoon, beating visiting NC State 7-0. Playing indoors at Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center, the Tar Heels claimed the doubles point and then won all six singles matches in straight sets en route to the win.
UNC improved to 14-2 on the season, 2-1 in ACC play. NC State falls to 9-7 overall, 0-1 in the conference.
“We played a complete match, the best singles match we’ve played this year,” UNC coach Sam Paul said. “We had good focus – the guys were ready to come and play.”
North Carolina is on spring break this week, so the Tar Heels have had extra rest and a more flexible practice schedule coming off their last match, a 4-3 loss at Wake Forest on Friday. “We had a really good attitude coming into the match,” senior Jack Murray said. “I think this was a good show of all the hard work we’re putting in.”
Murray and freshman Simon Soendergaard combined for UNC’s first win of the afternoon, beating Michael Ogden and Ivan Saveljic 6-2 at No. 2 doubles. On Court 1, junior Robert Kelly and freshman William Blumberg fought back from a 5-1 hole, but ultimately fell 6-3 to the Wolfpack to even the doubles tally. Moments later, however, senior Ronnie Schneider and sophomore Anu Kodali won 6-3 on Court 3 to give UNC its first point.
Murray was also the first to wrap up on singles, sealing his 6-0, 6-2 win over Ogden with an ace, an exclamation point on match point. After falling in straight sets in UNC’s first two conference matches, Murray put in extra work and tried to stay positive. “I wanted to stop the skid,” he said. “I was frustrated after the match on Friday and I came in on Saturday to work my own for a couple of hours. I tried to approach every practice with a really good attitude, to try to build off Saturday and look in the right direction. The coaches did a really good job of helping me out. I just tried to stay positive.”
Wednesday, there were plenty of reasons to feel that way. After putting his team up 2-0, he got to sit back and watch as his teammates kept rolling Next to the finish line was Blumberg, who beat Igor Salevjic 6-3, 6-3 on Court 2. Sophomore Blaine Boyden then wrapped up his 12th singles win of the spring, beating Sean Burnette 6-3, 6-1 on Court 6 to clinch the Tar Heel victory with a 4-0 score.
On Court 3, Kelly then earned his 10th win in a row, his second straight over a higher ranked player, beating No. 73 Nick Horton, 6-2, 6-3.
At No. 1, Schneider earned a 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 116 Alexis Galarneau. Five minutes later the match was over, coming in at just under two hours. Soendergaard beat Georgiy Malyshev 6-3, 6-4 for his first straight-sets win in conference play to wrap up the 7-0 win.
After opening ACC competition outside against Duke on March 7, the Tar Heels have played their last two conference matches (at Wake Forest and Wednesday’s match at home) indoors. Based on the forecast, Sunday’s match at Virginia Tech is likely to be inside, too. So much for a balmy Spring Break, but the Tar Heels don’t mind – they’re getting in plenty of work inside Cone-Kenfield, and also catching up on rest.
“They should be rested and ready to go on Sunday,” Paul said. “I’m really happy with our performance today, and looking forward to going to Blacksburg.”
March 15, 2017
Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center
Chapel Hill, N.C.
No. 4 UNC 7, NC State 0
Order of match finish: (2,1,3)
1. #51 Galarneau/Horton (NCST) d. #17 Blumberg/Kelly (UNC), 6-3
2. Soendergaard/Murray (UNC) d. Ogden/Ivan Saveljic (NCST), 6-2
3. Kodali/Schneider (UNC) d. Malyshev/Igor Saveljic (NCST), 6-3
Order of match finish: (5,2,6,3,1,4)
1. #19 Ronnie Schneider (UNC) d. #116 Alexis Galarneau, 6-4, 6-3
2. #61 William Blumberg (UNC) d. Igor Saveljic (NCST), 6-3, 6-3
3. #123 Robert Kelly (UNC) d. #73 Nick Horton (NCST), 6-2, 6-3
4. Simon Soendergaard (UNC) d. Georgiy Malyshev (NCST), 6-3, 6-4
5. Jack Murray (UNC) d. Michael Ogden (NCST), 6-0, 6-2
6. Blaine Boyden (UNC) d. Sean Burnette (NCST), 6-3, 6-1
Records: UNC 14-2 (2-1 ACC), NC State 9-7 (0-1 ACC)