Courtesy: Joe Browning Junior Kaue Pereira clinched the match for the Seahawks with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory at No. 4 singles
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – No. 55 UNCW won its second straight match in the Battle at the Beach with a 5-2 victory against No. 51 UCF on Friday at the sun-splashed UNCW courts.
The Seahawks won for the seventh time in eight tries at home to improve to 8-6 overall this season. UCF now stands 10-4.
“Central Florida is a very well coached and talented team,” said UNCW Head Coach Mait DuBois. “This was a good win for us and I feel like we are making strides forward with our singles play.”
UNCW, which evened its record against nationally-ranked opponents to 4-4, dropped the doubles point before cranking out five victories in singles to nail down the non-conference win.
“To UCF’s credit, they really came out strongly in doubles and we were behind the entire doubles point,” said DuBois. “We got off to a disastrous start and were down double breaks on each court before we got any momentum going. UCF outplayed us and deserved to win the doubles point. “
UCF won matches at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles to claim the early point. The No. 1 team of Jesse Flores and Amar Hromic were the first off the court following an 8-4 decision over UNCW’s Rafael Aita and Sam Williams. UCF’s No. 3 tandem of Chris Barrus and Inaki Espindola then secured the point with an 8-5 verdict against Christiaan Van der Burgh and Santtu Leskinen.
In singles, the Seahawks won two three-set matches and four tie-breakers en route to the final 5-2 decision.
Aita, playing No. 1 for the 11th time this season, evened the score at 1-all with a 6-1, 6-3 domination of Matthew Gladstone at the top of the lineup and senior Pedro Mol delivered a 2-1 advantage after beating Hromic, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), at No. 2 singles.
After Franesc Aulina squared the match with a win at the No. 3 slot, Van der Burgh put the Seahawks ahead for good with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 victory over Jose Sangroniz at No. 6. Kaue Pereira recorded the clincher for the Seahawks when he outlasted Barrus, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, at No. 4 singles.
“We responded well to losing the doubles point and came out strong in singles,” said DuBois. “UCF is strong at every position and extremely deep. When we played last year, even though we won 7-0, five of the six matches went three sets. Today was very similar.
“It was huge for us that we went 4-0 in tiebreakers today. Both Pedro and Santtu played two tie-break sets each…we were fortunate to get all of them. Hat’s off to those guys for competing very well in the big moments of the match.”
The Seahawks close out a three-match homestand Sunday with an 11 a.m. clash against Binghamton.