While many of today’s top professional tennis players starred on Key Biscayne in the Nasdaq-100 Open, the UM men’s and women’s team showcased their own talents in a busy weekend of tennis at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.
The men’s tennis team (9-7, 0-5 ACC) nearly picked up its first ACC victory on Sunday in a 4-3 loss to UNC. The ‘Canes dropped the doubles point and split three matches in a hard fought contest.
The surprising doubles duo of junior Tim Krebs and freshman Vivek Subramanian have won 11 consecutive matches, including an 8-3 victory over UNC’s No. 1 doubles team.
“I serve well and he returns well,” Krebs said. “We are both good at the net and if I have a weakness, it’s his strength.”
Freshman Ryan Waits led off the singles contest with a 6-3, 6-4 straight-set victory over UNC’s Sebastian Guejman, giving the ‘Canes an early 1-0 lead. Despite match points in two of the matches, the ‘Canes could only muster two more victories, leaving them one shy of their first ACC victory.
“We have played some very good tennis at some points in the season,” Head Coach Mario Rincon said. “In four out the five conference matches we have been in a situation where we should have won.”
Rincon said the team has been practicing hard and doing what it’s supposed to.
Waits, just a freshman, knows there is something special about chemistry of the team.
“We are all pretty close,” he said. “We feed off each other constantly and always very positive.”
It’s only a matter of time before it pays off.
“We still have five conference matches and the conference tournament,” Rincon said. “It takes one win that hasn’t come our way for us to start believing in ourselves.”
The ‘Canes will look for that win this Saturday at the University of Virginia.
Meanwhile, the women’s team seems to be in a rut it can’t get out of. However, after its 13th consecutive victory this Sunday, it’s one they don’t want to get out of.
The Hurricanes extended their home winning streak to 26 games with wins over University of South Florida and North Carolina State this weekend. Friday night’s match with USF was especially memorable for UM players Staci Stevens and Megan Bradley. It was their senior night.
Stevens came to UM four years ago, fresh off four consecutive Louisiana state championships. Bradley, who transferred from UCLA, recently received her third ACC performer of the week award and currently holds the No. 1 ranking in the country.
Behind the leadership of the two seniors, the ‘Canes racked up two more wins, running their record to 15-2 overall and a perfect 6-0 in the ACC.
Against N.C. State, Bradley took the doubles point early with an 8-2 victory along side Audrey Banada. She later followed with a 6-1, 6-2 victory in singles. Stevens teamed up with Melissa Applebaum to win 8-1 in doubles and 6-2, 6-4 in singles play.
The ‘Canes finish their season with a four match road trip, beginning Saturday at Duke.
Chris Hamilton can be contacted at email@example.com.