No. 41 UNCW Shackles Pirates, 7-0
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - The 41st-ranked UNCW men's tennis team tuned up for next week's Colonial Athletic Association championships by dominating visiting East Carolina, 7-0, in the home finale for the Seahawks Thursday at the UNCW Tennis Complex.
The Seahawks finished with a 12-1 home record this spring with their sixth win in the last seven outings. The Pirates dropped their fourth straight match to dip to 12-10.
"Today was a great way for us to close out the regular season," said fifth-year UNCW Head Coach Mait DuBois. "To take all nine matches off a quality team like East Carolina gives us a lot of confidence going into the conference tournament.
"I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the match today. Besides having another great crowd, it had a strong community feel to it. We had one of our biggest junior Seahawk fans share his seventh birthday at the match. I really enjoy the family environment that our team is lucky enough to have with the local community."
UNCW started quickly out of the gate Thursday by sweeping all three doubles matches for the early point. UNCW's top tandem of Chris Cooprider and Kosta Blank breezed past ECU's Joran Vliegen and Niels Cleeran, 8-3, to open the action and the No. 2 team of Michael Reilly and Sam Williams wrapped up the doubles point with an 8-2 pounding of Nicolas Soriano and Damien Brenard.
The Seahawks rode that momentum into singles, where they surrendered just one set to the Pirates in the rout. UNCW is now 76-43 in singles this season for a .639 winning percentage.
Freshman Kaue Pereira set the tone by dismantling Brenard, 6-0, 6-1, at No. 5 singles to give UNCW a 2-0 lead and Cooprider increased the score to 3-0 by defeating Soriano, 6-1, 6-2, at the No. 2 slot. Blank then clinched the match for the Seahawks by beating Cleeran, 6-4, 6-0, at No. 3 singles.
The Seahawks then tacked on victories at No. 4, No. 1 and No. 6 for the shutout, including a 6-1, 7-6 (3) decision by 89th-ranked Rafael Aita over Vliegen at the top of the lineup.
"I was especially pleased how we came out in the beginning of singles," DuBois continued. "We took four of the six first sets and dropped one game or less. Using the momentum from doubles into singles has been a strong focus for us and we did it well today.
"I was very proud the way two of our freshmen took care of business in the bottom of the line-up. (Kaue) Pereira and (Michael) Reilly played extremely well for us and showed a lot of maturity as freshmen."