Cavalier Men's Tennis No. 5 Duke During a Historic Afternoon
April 11, 2004
CHARLOTTESVILLE – The No. 15 ranked Virginia men’s tennis team had a historic Sunday afternoon, upsetting No. 5 Duke 4-3 to capture a share of the program’s first ever ACC regular season title. The win over the fifth ranked Blue Devils also marks the highest ranked opponent the Cavaliers have ever beaten and snapped a 25-match losing streak against Duke.
The Cavaliers (19-3, 7-1 ACC) took the early lead by capturing the crucial doubles point. The No. 31 ranked team of Rylan Rizza (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) and Nick Meythaler (Owensboro, Ky.) got Virginia off to a good start by upsetting No. 5 ranked Ludovic Walter and Jason Zimmerman 8-3 at No. 1. The last two matches were still being played when the rains arrived that forced the match indoors. Marko Miklo (Bratislava, Slovakia) and Stephen Rozek (Chardon, Ohio) were up 6-4 when they moved indoors and held off Stephen Amritraj and Peter Rodrigues to post an 8-5 win at No. 3 to clinch the point. The No. 16 ranked team of Phillip King and Jonathan Stokke held off Doug Stewart (Malibu, Calif.) and Darrin Cohen (Lafayette, Calif.) at No. 2 in a tiebreaker.
In singles play, the Cavaliers needed three wins to clinch victory and got two quickly. At No. 3, Miklo upset No. 122 Rodrigues in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3, to extend the Cavalier lead to 2-0. Then, at No. 1, No. 21 ranked Stewart beat a Top 15 opponent for the second consecutive match, topping fifth-ranked King 6-4, 6-0. The Blue Devils (18-6, 6-2) would rally from the 3-0 deficit. Wins by Zimmerman, Christopher Brown, and Stokke at No. 4, No. 6, and No. 5 respectively evened the match. With the match coming down to the battle at No. 2, No. 16 ranked Walter rallied against Rizza to win the second set in a tiebreaker to force a third set. Rizza rallied from being broken to open the set by winning the next four games. Walter responded by winning the next two to get back on serve. However, Rizza broke Walter’s serve again and served out to win the final set 6-3 and clinch the dual match win.
“I can’t truly express how proud I am of this team,” said head coach Brian Boland. “Today is a great day for our program and I am just so happy for our guys. We have worked so hard in the past couple weeks to take our game to the next level and to be rewarded with an ACC title is special. We are looking forward to get the postseason going next weekend.”
The Cavaliers will be the No. 2 seed at the ACC Tournament having lost the tiebreaker (head to head) with fellow ACC co-champion North Carolina. Virginia will open with No. 7 seeded Florida State at 3:00 p.m. Friday in the quarterfinals at the Millbrook Exchange Tennis Center in Raleigh, N.C.
No. 15 Virginia 4, No. 5 Duke 3
1. No. 21 Doug Stewart (UVa) def. No. 5 Phillip King (DU) 6-4, 6-0
2. Rylan Rizza (UVa) def. No. 16 Ludovic Walter (DU) 6-3, 6-7, 6-3
3. Marko Miklo (UVa) def. No. 122 Peter Rodrigues (DU) 6-1, 6-3
4. Jason Zimmerman (DU) def. Nick Meythaler (UVa) 6-4, 6-3
5. Jonathan Stokke (DU) def. Stephen Rozek (UVa) 7-6, 6-3
6. Christopher Brown (DU) def. Darrin Cohen (UVa) 6-4, 7-6
1. No. 31 Rizza/Meythaler (UVa) def. No. 5 Walter/Zimmerman (DU) 8-3
2. No. 16 King/Stokke (DU) def. Cohen/Stewart (UVa) 9-8
3. Rozek/Miklo (UVa) def. Amritraj/Rodrigues (DU) 8-5