WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Senior Rafael Aita upset No. 22 Joran Vliegen as 44th-ranked UNCW blanked East Carolina, 7-0, in men’s tennis action Saturday at the UNCW Courts.

Aita, ranked No. 69 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, notched the clinching point as the Seahawks won their sixth straight match to improve to 12-6 overall, including 9-1 at home. The Pirates are 15-6 this spring.

“I was pleased that we played a very complete match from start to finish today against a very solid ECU team,” said UNCW Head Coach Mait DuBois. “We have been talking a lot about every player on the team bringing what they can to the table and to win on every court makes me feel like we are making some strides forward. I feel good that we are continuing to get better and we are looking to keep building on our momentum.”

The streaking Seahawks wasted no time in winning the early point when the No. 2 and No. 1 doubles tandems took their matches quickly.

UNCW’s 68th-ranked No. 2 combo of Pedro Mol and Kaue Pereira cruised past ECU’s Mario Martinez and Fredric Lehfeldt, 8-2, to be the first off the court and Aita combined with Sam Williams for an 8-4 decision over Vliegen and Colin Roller at the top position.

UNCW kept the pressure on in singles, winning at No. 4, No. 6 and No. 1 to close out the match against their close rival.

Pereira raised the score to 2-0 with a 6-2, 6-1 victory at No. 4 singles over Nicolas Soriano and sophomore Christiaan Van der Burgh followed suit with a 6-2, 6-4 decision against Roller at No. 6 singles.

Aita, 11-4 in singles play, then put the match on ice when Vliegen was forced to retire with an ankle injury after trailing 6-3, 4-2.

Mol (No. 2), Williams (No. 3) and Santtu Leskinen (No. 5) also registered singles victories to preserve the team’s third shutout of the season.

UNCW wraps up the regular season on Friday, April 11, when UNC Charlotte visits the Port City. It will be the final home appearance for three seniors – Aita, Mol and Matt Kealy.

“Our match next Friday will be our ‘Senior Day’ and it will be the last home match for a very special group of seniors. This group is 47-2 as a team on our home courts the last four years.  I hope we can get as many Seahawk fans as possible to come out and say goodbye to three great players.”