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    No. 21 Wolfpack Falls at UNC Wilmington

    March 6, 2012

    WILMINGTON, N.C. - For the second time this season, the NC State men's tennis team took to the road and lost to a ranked opponent, as No. 43 UNC Wilmington scored a 4-3 victory over the No. 21 Wolfpack at the UNC Wilmington Tennis Complex.

    In the Pack's first outdoor match of the season, the Seahawks (7-2) wrangled the doubles point with 8-4 wins at No. 1 and 2 spots and came from a set down in two of its three singles victories to clinch the match.

    "We got started off on the wrong foot and we didn't seize the opportunities we had to win the match," said head coach Jon Choboy, whose team moved up 13 spots to No. 21 in the Campbell's ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings that were released earlier on Tuesday. "There were times when we played more passively than we should have and didn't attack when we could have."

    The Wolfpack's two freshmen, Robbie Mudge and Austin Powell, both remained undefeated in singles' play, with Mudge taking a three-set win over Pedro Mol at No. 3 singles and Powell winning in straight sets against Sam Williams at No. 5.

    And senior Jaime Pulgar, ranked 86th nationally, after losing his first set, held on to beat Rafael Aita at No. 1 singles, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, to improve his record to 11-1.

    It wasn't enough, however, as the Wolfpack (12-2) lost for the first time this season at No. 4 singles, with Julian Sullivan falling in three sets. Sullivan won the first set and was serving for match point in the third set with a 5-3 lead, but UNCW's Kosta Blank came back for a 6-7, 4-6, 7-6 victory.

    The Pack's Ivan Sanchez Gomez also won his first set at No. 6 singles, but lost in three sets to the Seahawks' Zach Hublitz, 6-7, 7-6, 6-0.



    "It was disappointing, because we had our chances," Choboy said. "Wilmington is a good team, but we didn't help ourselves at all. We won't play that passively again this season."

    For only the second time this season, the Wolfpack lost the doubles point after dropping the first two matches by identical 8-4 margins. The Seahawk duo of  Blank and Chris Cooprider downed State's Sean Weber and Sullivan in the No. 1 match, followed by Sam Williams and Michael Reilly defeating Matt Thomson and Dominic Hodgson in the No. 2 match.

    "Our doubles today were not as good as they have been the rest of this season," Choboy said. "We have to do a little better job of that. We have been pretty good so far this season, but we have to compete harder and get that point."

    The Wolfpack's only other loss this season came at Kentucky against the No. 7 Wildcats in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in January.

    The Wolfpack's jump in the latest Campbell's ITA Collegiate Tennis rankings is State's highest ranking since it was ranked No. 20 on Jan. 19. 2008.

    No. 43 UNC Wilmington 4, No. 21 NC State 3
    UNCW Tennis Complex
    At Wilmington, N.C.
    March 6, 2012
    1. Jaime Pulgar (NC State) def. Rafael Aita (UNCW), 4-6, 6-4, 6-0.
    2. Chris Cooprider (UNCW) def. Dominic Hodgson (NC State), 6-3, 6-3.
    3. Robbie Mudge (NC State) def. Pedro Mol (UNCW), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
    4. Kosta Blank (UNCW) def. Julian Sullivan (NC State) Kosta Blank (UNCW), 6-7, 6-4, 7-6.
    5. Austin Powell (NC State) def. Sam Williams (UNCW), 6-2, 7-5.
    6. Zach Hublitz (UNCW) def Ivan Sanchez Gomez (NC State), 6-7, 7-6, 6-0.
    Order of finish: 5, 2, 3, 4, 6, 1.

    1. Kosta Blank/Chris Cooprider (UNCW) def. Julian Sullivan/Sean Weber (NC State), 8-4.
    2. Sam Williams/Michael Reilly (UNCW) def. Dominic Hodgson/Matt Thomson (NC State), 8-4.
    3.  Rafael Aita/Pedro Mol (UNCW) vs. Robbie Mudge/Jaime Pulgar (NC State) did not finish.
    Order of finish: 1, 2, 3.

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