The No. 1 Virginia men’s tennis team won its seventh consecutive ACC Championship, its ninth title in the past 10 years, with a 4-1 victory over Wake Forest Sunday in the ACC Tournament final. The Cavaliers (24-0) rallied from dropping the doubles point to down the Demon Deacons with four straight set wins in singles.
“It was a great match and it feels good to win another ACC Championship,” said head coach Brian Boland. “I was happy with how we performed today. It wasn’t easy. Congratulations to Wake, they played a great match. I am really proud of (WF head coach) Tony Bresky, who worked for me for 10 years. He has Wake in the ACC final and the top 20 nationally in his second year there. It is a real tribute to him and his hard work that they have already reached this level.”
Wake Forest took an early advantage in the match by winning a doubles point filled with rain interruptions and a change of venue. As the match began outdoors at the Cary Tennis Center, doubles play started and stopped several times through the spans of intermittent rain. The decisive match at No. 1 was tied at 4-4 when the rain became too heavy to overcome and the match was moved indoors to Duke.
“I didn’t enjoy losing the doubles point, but I thought it was great for us,” said Boland. “As we play in postseason, that is going to happen at times. You have learn how to respond to it and I thought the guys didn’t let it phase them in singles. To Wake’s credit, they did a great job of using the momentum of doubles into the start of singles. We stepped up and met their competitiveness. This match was great for us in terms of preparing for the NCAA Tournament.”
The Cavaliers rallied in singles, winning five of the six first sets to grab momentum in the match. Mitchell Frank evened the score at 1-1 as he completed a 6-1, 6-3 victory at the No. 3 position. Julen Uriguen, who was named ACC Tournament MVP by going 2-0 in singles and 3-0 in doubles during the week, gave Virginia the lead with his 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 6.
“It is an honor to be MVP of this tournament,” said Uriguen. “I have been playing well all week. I have put in a lot of hard work over my four years, so to end my ACC career this way, with our team winning another championship, is really special.”
Seconds after Uriguen clinched, Alex Domijan extended the advantage to 3-1 as he won at No. 2 singles. The final point was secured by the senior, Jarmere Jenkins, at No. 1, to seal the championship.
The victory was Virginia’s 106th consecutive win over ACC opposition (regular season and tournaments) and its 21st straight win in the ACC Tournament.
“Every championship we have won is just as special as the first,” said Boland. “Each year, we have had a chance to experience this with a different group of guys. Each group has its own personality, but the consistent thing is the joy they feel winning this title. This conference is so strong and has just a great history, that every player knows what an honor it is to be an ACC Champion.”
The Cavaliers earn the ACC automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The field of 64 will be unveiled on Tuesday and first and second round action will occur at 16 campus sites on May 10-11.
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