M. Tennis Rallies for Win in ACC Opener
The NC State men's tennis team has finally won a 4-3 match. After losing eight matches by the narrowest margin possible this season, the No. 50 Wolfpack (12-13, 4-7 ACC) finally broke the trend to notch a 4-3 decision over No. 52 Georgia Tech (13-12, 3-8 ACC). The eighth-seeded Wolfpack snapped a five-match losing streak with the win to advance to face top-seeded and No. 1 Virginia on Friday at 9 am in Altamonte Springs, Fla.
Sophomore All-ACC selection James McGee clinched the match at the No. 1 spot in the lineup, rallying from a set down to win and seal the team win for the Wolfpack. Fellow All-ACC honoree, junior Jay Weinacker, also won after dropping his first set at No. 3 singles.
"We played really well, even after getting off to a slow start in doubles and I think they felt a little bit of pressure," head coach Jon Choboy said. "They started to pick it up in singles and we regained the momentum late in the match, with Jay (Weinacker) and James (McGee) both rallying from a set down to clinch the match for us."
The match started with NC State dropping the doubles point in swift fashion, losing at No. 3, 8-2, and No. 1, 8-3.
Already with its back-to-the-wall, NC State dropped the first set in three-of-the-four matches on court.
The Yellow Jackets went up 2-0 after Miguel Muguruza won at No. 6 singles over Wolfpack freshman David Chermak.
NC State then rallied to reel off the next three matches, starting with Christian Welte's 6-4, 6-4 win over Ryan Smith at No. 4 singles.
Weinacker dropped his first set, 6-3, to Eliot Potvin before trailing late in the second set. Weinacker held on to force a third set with a 6-4 win. Weinacker broke early in the third set for a 2-1, then never looked back, closing out his match and tying the match at 2-2 with a 6-1 set win.
Moments later, the Pack's Derek Stephens won in straight sets at No. 5 over Scott Blackmon, 6-3, 6-3, to give the Red and White a 3-2 lead.
Nick Cavaday led 5-3 in his first set against the Jackets' David North at No. 2 singles. North rallied, however, to force a first set tiebreak. Tied at 6-6 in the breaker, Cavaday led 5-1 but eventually lost the tiebreaker and the set, 7-6 (7). North would use that momentum to close the door on Cavaday and even the match at 3-3 with a 6-3 win in the second set.
Flashback to March 28, as NC State defeated Georgia Tech, 6-1, in Raleigh by winning all six singles matches, including McGee's win over then #72 Guillermo Gomez in three sets.
McGee, who is now ranked No. 56 nationally, faced off again against No. 51 Gomez in another epic three-setter. Gomez, the ACC Freshman of the Year, won the opening set after a flurry over broken serves late in the set and a late rally in the tiebreak. McGee was broken at 3-3, then immediately broke back to get it to 4-4. McGee was broken again at 5-5, but once again responded with a break of his own to force a tiebreak.
McGee led 4-2 and then 5-4 in the tiebreak, but Gomez rattled off three straight points to take the first set, 7-6 (5).
Late in the second set, McGee trailed 4-5 and was down a match point on his serve before holding to take the set to even the match.
In the third and deciding set, McGee was broken early and trailed 4-3. After getting back on serve, McGee then broke for a 5-4 lead and served for the match. An ace down the middle for the Irishman sealed the win, as McGee's teammates mobbed in at the net.
NC State will return to the courts against top-seed and nationally top-ranked Virginia at 9 am, Friday, April 18.