|No. 45 UNCW Defeats Visiting UNCC|
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – No. 45 UNCW tuned up for next week’s Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Tennis Championships by defeating UNC Charlotte, 5-2, in a five-hour marathon late Friday.
The Seahawks closed out the regular season with their seventh consecutive victory to raise their record to 13-6. It marked the final home appearance for Seahawk seniors Rafael Aita, Matt Kealy and Pedro Mol. UNCC dropped to 11-6.
“Today was an unbelievable college tennis match and an absolute battle,” said seventh-year UNCW Head Coach Mait DuBois. “Charlotte pushed us to the very brink and we were fortunate to get the win today.
“It was a very emotional day for us since it was ‘Senior Day’ and it showed with our tennis being very up and down. After fighting off a coupIe match points for the doubles point, we had match point and couldn’t execute it. Then we lost the first set on four courts in singles before starting to get some momentum going.”
The Seahawks trailed in Friday’s match, 2-0, until rallying in singles and nailing down the clinching point courtesy of a three-set triumph from sophomore Santtu Leskinen at No. 4 singles.
UNCW dropped the doubles point for just the eighth time this season when the 49ers posted wins at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. After splitting the first two matches off the court, UNCC’s Jordi Massalle Ferrer and Kamil Khalil outlasted Mol and partner Kaue Pereira, 8-7 (6), at the top of the lineup for the early lift.
The 49ers extended their lead to 2-0 after Ferrer beat Pereira at No. 3 singles, but the Seahawks regrouped and swept the final five singles matches to finish with a 10-1 record at home.
Zach Hublitz picked up UNCW’s first point at No. 6 singles by knocking off Paul Cisti, 7-6 (3), 6-0, and Aita, ranked 47th nationally, brought the Seahawks even with a 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-0, triumph against Forrest Edwards at No. 1 singles.
Mol gave the Seahawks the lead for good with a 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-3, verdict over Khalil at No. 2 singles before Leskinen rallied for his clutch three-setter against Alex Callot at No. 4 singles.
Sophomore Christiaan Van der Burgh of UNCW extended his winning streak to seven matches by edging Jack Williams, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3), in a long battle at No. 5 singles.
“I’m very pleased with how we competed and this kind of gritty win will definitely make us better,” DuBois added. “It’s exactly the kind of match we wanted to prepare us for the CAA Tournament.”