WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The 44th-ranked UNCW men’s tennis team stormed back after dropping the doubles point for a 5-2 triumph over state rival Appalachian State in the spring opener for both teams early Sunday at the UNCW Courts.

The Seahawks are idle until traveling to Gainesville, Fla., later this week to compete in the ITA Kickoff Weekend with Florida, Florida State and TCU. UNCW faces the Gators on the first day of the event on Saturday (Jan. 25) at 2 p.m.

“It was good to get our spring season started and after a slow start, we got better as the match went on,” said seventh-year Head Coach Mait DuBois. “It’s been a long time since we lost a doubles point at home, but give Appalachian State credit. They played the big points well and outplayed us.

“I was very pleased with how the guys handled losing the doubles point. They came out confident and relaxed in singles. Karan (Salwan) was playing his first dual match and put in a very decisive result by only dropping one game. It’s always good to play the first match and it really highlights a lot of things we need to work on. I’m really looking forward to a good week of practice before heading down to Florida.”

In Sunday’s match, UNCW’s Pedro Mol and Kaue Pereira got things rolling for the Seahawks with an easy 6-0 victory at No. 3 doubles before the Mountaineers rallied for wins at No. 1 and No. 2 to claim the early point.

But the Seahawks reeled off four consecutive singles victories at No. 6, 3, 1 and 4 to kick off the season in a winning fashion.

Trailing 1-0 after doubles, Salwan (New Delhi, India) evened the match by cruising past Matt Saltsgaver, 6-1, 6-0, in his collegiate dual match debut at No. 6 singles. Junior Zach Hublitz (McLean, Va.) then increased the score to 2-1 by downing ASU’s Zach Bost, 6-4, 6-1, at No. 3.

Junior Sam Williams (Bristol, England), playing at the top of the lineup, hiked the score to 3-1 by stopping Sebastien King, 6-5, 6-1, and sophomore Santtu Leskinen delivered the clincher with a 6-5, 6-4, trimming of Daniel Hoang at No. 4.

Christiaan Van der Burgh wrapped up the scoring with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 verdict over ASU’s Jack Maddocks at No. 5 singles.

It was the first of 11 home matches this spring for the Seahawks, who play in Wilmington again on Feb. 15 against Mercer.