No. 5 Virginia Returns Home With Chance to Make History

By: Nate Sulham Email
By: Nate Sulham Email

April 23, 2006.

That was the last time the Virginia men's tennis team lost a match to an ACC opponent in the regular season or postseason.

Little did the Wahoos know that losing that ACC Championship Final to Duke would be the last loss the program would feel against conference foes in almost eight years, a run of 115 consecutive matches.

The current Cavaliers, ranked fifth in the country, return home to Snyder Tennis Center this weekend for matches against N.C. State Friday and Wake Forest Sunday, the final two regular-season home matches on Virginia's schedule.

Wins over the Wolfpack and Demon Deacons would give Virginia 117 straight wins, setting the ACC all-time, all-sport record held by the Duke women's tennis team from 1989-2000.

But you don't get to 115 straight wins without taking each match on its own, and the 'Hoos say that is the approach going into this weekend.

"It's an incredible streak we have going and we'll try to continue it tomorrow against a tough N.C. State team and that's all we can do," head coach Brian Boland explained. "It's the old cliché 'Take one match at a time'. That's what we've tried to do for years and that's why we've had great success."

"At the end of the day, the streak is nice but we're here to peak in May so this is our chance to take a step forward towards that overall objective and I think the guys have managed it pretty well overall, even the young guys," junior Mitchell Frank added.

The 'Hoos are coming off one of their closest threats to the streak, a 4-3 win at Clemson last weekend which saw the Cavaliers survive despite several key members, including Frank and sophomore Mac Styslinger, missing the match with flu-like symptoms.

"This week guys are feeling healthy, we've been training hard throughout the whole week and I think we'll be ready to go," Frank said.

Boland believes his team's close call against the Tigers is a positive moving forward.

"In many ways those are positive steps for us to have to go through the course of a season. We had our backs against the wall and the guys responded really well."

Wins this weekend would not only give the Wahoos the all-time ACC consecutive wins record, it would also give them their 11th straight ACC regular-season title.

Frank says the team is aware of what's in play for them this weekend, but don't pay much mind to it.

"We don't really talk about it too much. We just go out and focus on playing good matches," he explained. "I think the guys are probably aware of it but I think for the leaders on the team, our job is to make everyone realize the dimensions on the court are still the same. It's another match, another chance to get better."

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