Men's Tennis Tops No. 48 South Carolina, 5-2
Feb. 11, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. – The NC State men’s tennis team downed its third ranked team in its last four matches on Saturday, with a 4-3 victory over No. 48 South Carolina at the Isenhour Tennis Center.
After the No. 51 Wolfpack won the doubles point, senior Jaime Pulgar, freshman Robbie Mudge and senior Julian Sullivan won their singles matches for State (8-1) to complete the victory and hand the Gamecocks (7-1) their first loss of the season.
South Carolina recently had soared in the ITA Collegiate rankings after taking road wins at ACC foes Georgia Tech (5-2) and Wake Forest (4-3), but was unable to complete a perfect road trip against the Wolfpack.
“This was a good matchup for us,” said NC State head coach Jon Choboy. “We both have really young teams. We had three freshmen in the starting lineup and they had two. They came in here with a lot of confidence, since they hadn’t lost this year.
“We’ve been playing pretty well too, so this is a good boost for our confidence, to beat a good team at home.”
After losing for the first time this season against No. 7 Kentucky, the Pack has bounced back to beat No. 58 East Tennessee State in the consolation round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend two weeks ago, followed by a 4-3 win over No. 45 Cornell and a 7-0 win over unranked Charlotte last weekend.
Against the Gamecocks, Pulgar breezed to a 6-0, 6-4 win over South Carolina’s Nick Jones in the No. 1 slot to up his record to 7-1, while Mudge remained undefeated, winning a 6-2, 6-2, decision over Ivan Machado at No. 3 to improve his overall record to 7-0.
“Those guys getting straight-set wins in the first two matches was really important for us, because it kept the momentum going from the doubles win,” Choboy said. “It makes a huge difference for the rest of the team if they know they only have to win one of the last four matches to get the win.”
Sullivan then clinched the match with a three-set victory over Chip Cox at No. 4, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2, improving his singles record to 4-1 on the season.
“Sully really buckled down in his match after losing the second set, cut down on the errors and came back to get a nice win for us,” Choboy said.
In doubles, the Wolfpack won decisions at No. 2 and No. 3 to secure the first point of the match. Senior Dominic Hodgson and sophomore Matt Thomson won an 8-4 decision over Machado and freshman Thiago Pinheiro at No. 2.
Mudge and Pulgar remained undefeated as a team with an 8-3 win over Adams and Cox at No. 3. The Wolfpack duo is now 4-0 in doubles play.
“We’ve been getting really good doubles play all year long,” Choboy said. “They have been competing hard and I think we have good combinations playing together. That’s an important point in every match and we’ve been getting consistently strong play from all three teams.”
The Pack plays two more home matches on Sunday, hosting unranked William & Mary at 10 a.m. and unranked UNC Greensboro at 4 p.m.
No. 51 NC State 5, No 48 South Carolina 2