Gamecocks Drop Tough 4-3 Decision to No. 1 North Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 14 South Carolina men’s tennis dropped a closely contested 4-3 decision to No. 1 North Carolina at the Carolina Tennis Center on Sunday. After earning the doubles point, the Gamecocks added a pair of singles victories, but could not hold off the top-ranked Tar Heels.
In doubles, unranked duo Jake Beasley and Toby Samuel faced its highest ranked opponent of the season in No. 5 Mac Kiger and Simon Soendergaard of North Carolina. They came back from an early 0-2 deficit to win the match 6-3, swinging the momentum in South Carolina’s favor.
At the top of the lineup, No. 44 Daniel Rodrigues and Connor Thomson faced the Tar Heels’ sixth-ranked tandem of William Blumberg and Brian Cernoch. Rodrigues and Thomson delivered the 6-3 win with a Rodrigues overhead that secured the doubles point for the Gamecocks.
In singles, Samuel kept things going for the Gamecocks in the No. 4 spot. The true freshman efficiently won his first set against North Carolina’s Brian Cernoch 6-3 and held steady in the second, winning the second set 6-1 and earning the 2-0 lead for the Gamecocks.
Not far behind was No. 32 Rodrigues, who created an early lead in his first set to win 6-3 over No. 2 William Blumberg of the Tar Heels. Rodrigues repeated this pattern in his second set; this time winning 6-2 with a powerful backhand down the line that Blumberg could not return.
The Tar Heels closed to 3-1 as the remaining three matches went to three sets each. Beasley faced his first ranked opponent of the season in No. 100 Joshua Peck on Court 5. After dropping the first set, Beasley came back to win the second, but could not replicate that result in the third set.
On Courts 6 and 3, Phillip Jordan and Thomson, respectively, each fought tough battles in their matches. North Carolina closed in 3-3 with a win at the bottom of the lineup, and moments later earned the final point for the 4-3 win.
The Gamecocks return to conference play when they face No. 37 Arkansas on Sun., Mar. 28, at 1 p.m. ET at the Carolina Tennis Center.
For all the latest South Carolina men’s tennis information, continue to follow GamecocksOnline.com or the team on social media (@GamecockMTennis).
(1) North Carolina def. (14) South Carolina 4-3
Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 1*)
1. (44) Daniel Rodrigues / Connor Thomson (SC) def. (6) William Blumberg / Brian Cernoch (NC) 6-3
2. Toby Samuel / Jake Beasley (SC) def. (5) Mac Kiger / Simon Soendergaard (NC) 6-3
3. (59) Raphael Lambling / Phillip Jordan (SC) vs. Rinky Hijikata / Benjamin Sigouin (NC) 5-4, DNF
Singles (Order of Finish: 4, 1, 3, 5, 6, 2*)
1. (32) Daniel Rodrigues (SC) def. (2) William Blumberg (NC) 6-3, 6-2
2. (41) Benjamin Sigouin (NC) def. (118) Connor Thomson (SC) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
3. (55) Rinky Hijikata (NC) def. (81) Raphael Lambling (SC) 6-2, 6-4
4. Toby Samuel (SC) def. Brian Cernoch (NC) 6-3, 6-1
5. (100) Joshua Peck (NC) def. Jake Beasley (SC) 6-2, 2-6, 6-0
6. Simon Soendergaard (NC) def. Phillip Jordan (SC) 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2