JACKSONVILLE, Florida - Host North Florida rallied from a 3-1 deficit to surprise 33rd-ranked UNCW, 4-3, in men's tennis Tuesday at the UNF Tennis Complex.
The Ospreys improved to 9-4 with their third win over a nationally-ranked opponent this season. The Seahawks, playing the first of two matches on a spring break trip to the Sunshine State, had their four-match winning streak snapped and stand 9-3 overall heading into a Thursday contest at Florida State.
The Seahawks swept all three doubles matches in narrow fashion to grab an early 1-0 lead. The No. 3 team of Rafael Aito and Pedro Mol clinched the point with a 9-8 (4) victory over UNF's Moritz Berchner and Pedro Davisson.
Aita, a sophomore from Lima, Peru, ranked 77th in the latest ITA rankings, got things started off quickly in singles by defeating Norbert Nemcsek, 6-2, 6-2. Following a loss at the top of the lineup, sophomore Pedro Mol extended UNCW's margin to 3-1 by downing Davisson, 6-4, 6-3.
But the Ospreys rallied with three consecutive victories at No. 6, No. 3 and No. 5 singles to pull off the upset, including a thriller at No. 5 that decided the match.
At No. 5, freshman Kaue Pereira of UNCW dropped the first set, 7-5, to junior Leonardo Nahar, but rolled in the second set, 6-0, to force a third and deciding set. Nahar jumped ahead, 5-3, in the final set until Pereira rallied to force a tie-breaker. Nahar then pulled out the win for UNF with a 7-4 decision in the breaker.
"Today was a tough day and came down to a couple points," said UNCW coach Mait DuBois. "We played hard in a tough environment and had our opportunities to win the match. We will take what we can from this match and get ready for our next opponent."