WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | Sports

'Hoos On Verge of 100-Win Milestone

Brian Boland took over as coach of the Virginia men's tennis program after the 2001 season. He has built his alma mater into a perennial national title contender; guided the Cavaliers to individual and team championships; and won numerous awards for his coaching.

But not even Boland could envision the milestone his team is on the verge of reaching.

"Since I've come, I've never thought there's anything that we could not accomplish. But quite frankly, this is a great accomplishment," Boland said Wednesday. "To be able to win 100 matches -- in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which we have so much respect for. This is not something that I would have ever expected."

Including regular season and post-season matches, the Cavaliers have won their last 99 matches against ACC opponents. They can reach that 100-consecutive-win mark at 3 p.m. Friday, when Virginia hosts Clemson.

"I mean, it's kind of hard to put into words. But if there was a word, I think that "consistency" would probably fit it," said senior Jarmere Jenkins. "A hundred matches in a row? Jeez."

Virginia was a win away from a third consecutive ACC title when the Wahoos lost 4-3 to Duke in the conference championship. That was on April 23, 2006.

The Cavaliers' 99 consecutive conference wins since that day have established a new ACC men's tennis record, surpassing the 56 straight Duke won from 1997-2002. Only 10 of those 99 straight wins have been by a 4-3 score.

"What Boland's done, what he's been able to accomplish for this program. It says a lot, and the numbers speak for themselves," said Jenkins. "And I just think it's a great accomplishment."

Boland credited the players he's had throughout his time at Virginia -- 28 different players have won a singles or doubles match during the ACC winning streak -- for creating a culture within the program that demands excellence.

"They came ready to play every day. And not only make themselves better, but everyone around them," he said. "And I think the culture and environment within our program is extremely competitive. Some of the best matches I get to see are at practice. And that's a tribute to the players, and how hard they've worked, and how much they work to make each other better."

"When you have guys with that caliber come in," said Jenkins. "And we're able to practice against each other -- and on and off the court, hang around each other. It just builds a different culture that gives us more of an opportunity to do some great things."

Only six of Virginia's wins during the streak have come against Clemson -- the fewest of any ACC opponent.

According to Boland, most of his players didn't know about the winning streak until recently. That includes Jenkins, who said he was unaware until earlier this week.

But now Jenkins says it gives the Cavaliers a little extra motivation entering Friday's match.

"I think so. It's added incentives," he said. "But our number one goal has always been that NCAA title. So maybe it's something that's different from over the years. I can use it."

"A hundred in a row in the ACC is special. And it's something I know we're looking forward to," said Boland. "And I don't think it'll be a distraction for the guys. I think it's motivating. They'll be ready to play on Friday. And if it encourages them a little bit more, and it gets a few more fans out here, we'll take it."


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