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Athletics

Carolina men’s tennis captures second ITA Indoor National Championship title

The victory Sunday night makes Carolina the first university since 2000 to win both the men’s and women’s ITA Indoor Championships in the same year.

Members of the men's tennis team hold a ITA trophy.
(Photo by GoHeels.com)

Brian Cernoch won the clinching singles match for the second day in a row as Carolina beat Baylor, 4-1, in the title match of the ITA Indoor National Championships on Sunday night.

Cernoch, Benjamin Sigouin and William Blumberg all won their singles matches as the Tar Heels (6-0) captured their second ITA Indoor National Championship, joining the 2016 squad.

Blumberg beat No. 46 Adrian Boitan 6-3, 7-6 at No. 1 singles and Sigouin defeated No. 43 Sven Lah at No. 3 6-3, 7-5 to begin singles play prior to Cernoch’s 7-6, 7-5 clinching victory over No. 74 Nick Stachowiak.

“We’re just very joyful and very grateful for the opportunity to compete with these guys, I think we all missed this,” head coach Sam Paul said after the match. “I’m so proud of my guys and happy for this group of seniors especially.

“These guys have been in so many big moments for us and done such incredible things,” Paul continued. “I’m so happy for them that they now have a national championship. I think that’s one reason Will [Blumberg] came back. He had many opportunities not to come back, and the same thing for all of these guys. For Will, Simon [Soendergaard], Josh [Peck] and everyone to commit to come back and be part of the experience again is amazing. It’s a different thing to coach fifth-year seniors, we’ve never done that before. I am so happy for them for everything they’ve given to this program.”

Carolina took the doubles point to start the evening. Sigouin and Rinky Hijikata won for the first time on the weekend at No. 3 singles, starting the night with a 6-2 win over Nick Stachowiak and Spencer Furman. Fifth-ranked Mac Kiger and Simon Soendergaard clinched the doubles point with a 6-4 win over Matias Soto and Charlie Broom. Kiger and Soendergaard also clinched the doubles point for the Tar Heels in Friday’s win over Tennessee in the quarterfinal round.

Sunday’s match marked the third meeting between Carolina and Baylor, all in the ITA Indoor National Championships. In 2008 in Seattle, Carolina beat No. 3 Baylor 4-3. In 2019 in the round of 16 in Chicago, the Tar Heels swept the Bears, 4-0.

The Carolina women’s team also won the ITA Indoor National Championship last weekend.