The men’s team struggled in the state of North Carolina this week as Tech dropped both of their ACC matches to North Carolina and Duke. The men’s team is ranked seed No. 9 going into the ACC championship and will play top-ranked Virginia if they defeat seed No. 8 NC State.
Last Friday, Tech went to Chapel Hill to take on the No. 11 Tar Heels. The Tar Heels started the day by taking two of the three doubles matches to put them on the board 1-0. Freshman Guillermo Gomez and senior George Gvelesiani lost their doubles match at court one to Clay Donato and Stefan Hardy 8-3. Senior David North and freshman Eliot Potvin evened up the doubles match with their win over Tristan Heinrich and David Stone 8-3, but the Tar Heels came away with the point when senior Scott Blackmon and freshman Ryan Smith dropped the final doubles match 8-3.
When singles started, Smith lost to Donato 6-3, 6-3 and pushed Carolina’s lead to 2-0. The rest of the matches of the day went into third sets. North’s match was the first three-set one to end, but fell to Chris Kearney 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. North Carolina then clinched the victory 4-0 when Tech’s Potvin was unable to overtake Hardy 6-3, 5-7, 6-2. Tech then lost their next two matches as both Blackmon and sophomore Austin Roebuck could not muster a win at the fifth and sixth seed. The last match of the day gave Tech its only point and finalized the score 6-1. Gomez was able to succeed in the top spot after defeating Benjamin Carlotti 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
The Jackets last regular season match occurred Sunday against Duke. The Blue Devils were able to sneak past Tech with the score of 4-3. In doubles, again there was a split between the teams after the first two doubles matches. Gomez and Gvelesiani dropped their match and North and Potvin won theirs. The Blue Devils ended up earning the doubles point, though, when they won the top doubles seed over Blackmon and Smith in a very close match 9-8 (8-6). That individual doubles match was the deciding factor in the whole match. Tech came out on the losing side of that particular doubles match after Tech, at one point, held the match point.
With a lead going into singles, Duke then moved to 2-0 after North was forced to retire from his match. The Blue Devil’s lead continued to grow to 3-0 after Roebuck lost 6-2, 6-4 against Alain Michel. Tech got its first point when Gomez overtook David Goulet 6-2, 6-2 and made the match score 3-1. Another win came from Blackmon at the No. 5 position to bring the Jackets within one point at 3-2, but Duke clinched the victory with Kiril Dimitrov winning his match over Potvin 6-3, 7-6. The day was finished off as Smith won his match in the third set 7-6, 2-6, 1-0 to put the final match score to 4-3.
The Jackets compete in the ACC Championships this weekend just outside of Orlando. Tech goes into the first round ranked No. 9 in the ACC and faced No. 8 North Carolina State in the first round. If the Jackets get past the Wolfpack, they will have No. 1 Virginia in the second round of play. The Jackets hope that a strong showing in the ACC Championships will get them an invitation to the NCAA Championships.