For the fourth straight season–and 11th time overall–the UNC men’s tennis team is headed to the NCAA Sweet 16.
The ninth-ranked Tar Heels knocked off No. 20 South Carolina by a score of 4-1 on Saturday, at the friendly confines of Cone Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill.
UNC had to battle to win the doubles point against the Gamecocks, with the nation’s 12th-ranked team of Robert Kelly and William Blumberg earning a tough 6-4 victory over South Carolina’s Harrison O’Keefe and Yancy Dennis–a pairing ranked 13th in the country.
Simon Soendergaard and Jack Murray also picked up a 6-4 win to give the Tar Heels the crucial point.
“I think we did a good job of setting the tone in doubles,” Murray said. “That’s a really good team, up and down the line, in singles and doubles and I think we came out with really good energy and that helped us get the doubles point.”
South Carolina earned its only point of the day with an upset win in singles competition by No. 49 Gabriel Friedrich over UNC star Ronnie Schneider (No. 22).
Friedrich cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 win to tie up the score for the Gamecocks, but the Tar Heels would then reel off the next three singles victories to seal the match.
Blumberg, Soendergaard and Blaine Boyden each played their parts to perfection–as they locked up the Sweet 16 appearance for UNC with their individual performances in singles play.
Next up for the Tar Heels is a trip to Athens, Georgia–where they will face California in the next round on May 18 at 7 p.m.