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      WILMINGTON, N.C. - The UNC Wilmington men's tennis team cruised past regional rival Coastal Carolina, 6-1, in the men's tennis opener for both teams Saturday at the UNCW courts.

      The Seahawks, ranked 59th by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), swept all three of the doubles matches and claimed five of the six singles matches for the win. UNCW has won six straight over CCU and owns a 9-8 edge in the series.

      "Coastal Carolina has a very strong team and I was pleased with our performance today," said Mait DuBois, UNCW's third-year coach. "They swept us in doubles last year and we were able to return the favor by taking all three doubles matches today.

      "I feel good about taking all five singles in straight sets as well. We have a lot of positive things we can take from this match. We're looking forward to some practice and then going to California for the national indoors.

      "Coastal has a very good chance to win their conference and it's nice to start the season with a quality win."

      The No. 1 doubles team of Michael Pereira and Ryan Ybarra edged CCU's Pete Billinghame and Matt Gordon, 9-7, to set the tone early for the Seahawks. Chris Cooprider and Kinshuk Sharma then edged Plamen Tzvetkov and Dmitry Vlaskin, 9-8 (3), at No. 2 doubles and Kosta Blank and Illia Ziamtsou knocked off Dorian Sovic and Alex Funkhouser, 8-4, at the No. 3 slot.

      In singles, Pereira, Ziamtsou and Sharma took the first three matches before Blank fell, 3-6, 6-3, 10-7, in a nailbiter to Funkhouser at No. 4. Ybarra and Wetherell had no trouble at No. 5 and 6 singles.

      The Seahawks, defending champions in the Colonial Athletic Association, next travel to the West Coast on Jan. 28 to play Stanford in a first-round match of the ITA's kickoff weekend in Palo Alto, Calif.

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