May 22, 2004
TULSA, Okla. – The sixth-seeded University of Virginia men’s tennis team concluded the best season in school history on Saturday with a 4-3 loss to No. 22 Ohio State in the NCAA Championship Round of 16 at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center.
The Cavaliers, who won a school record 24 matches, finished with a 24-4 overall record following their first-ever trip to nationals.
“The team fought very hard,” said Virginia head coach Brian Boland. “I was pleased with the overall effort. Ohio State did a good job.”
Virginia got off to a good start by capturing the doubles point. At #1, 21st-ranked Nick Meythaler (Owensboro, Ky.) and Rylan Rizza (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) beat Buckeyes Joey Atas and Jeremy Wurtzman, 9-8. At the #2 spot, sophomores Darrin Cohen (Lafayette, Calif.) and Doug Stewart (Malibu, Calif.) clinched the doubles point with a 9-7 win over Scott Green and Ross Wilson.
“The doubles point was really critical,” Boland said. “It has been a key to our success all season.”
At #2 singles, Rizza put UVa ahead 2-0 by winning the first singles match with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Atas.
At #6, Dennis Mertens beat Cohen, 6-3, 7-6, for Ohio State’s first point.
Stewart, the nation’s ninth-ranked singles player, had his seven-match win streak halted with a 8-2, 7-5 loss to Wurtzman at #1, tying the match at 2-2.
OSU went ahead with a win at #5 as Wilson beat Meythaler, 6-2, 7-5.
At #3, freshman Marko Miklo (Bratislava, Slovakia) extended his singles win streak to 13 matches to tie the match at 3-3 with a 6-4, 6-0 decision over Chris Klingemann.
In the decisive match, Devin Mullings defeated Stephen Rozek (Chardon, Ohio), 6-2, 6-4 at the #4 spot. For the first time this season, Virginia did not win the close 4-3 match. Entering NCAA Championship play, the Cavaliers had been a perfect 7-0 in close matches.
“We had opportunities that we let slip away,” Boland added. “We’re a young team, and we’ll be back.”
The NCAA Championship continues until May 31. Stewart will participate in the NCAA Singles Draw, beginning on May 25, while Methayler/Rizza with compete in the NCAA Doubles Draw.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP TENNIS
Michael D. Case Tennis Center
#22 Ohio State 4, #6 Virginia 3
1- Jeremy Wurtzman (OSU) def. -#9 Doug Stewart, 8-2, 7-5
2- Rylan Rizza (UVa) def. Joey Atas, 6-3, 6-2
3- Marko Miklo (UVa) def. Chris Klingemann, 6-4, 6-0
4- Devin Mullings (OSU) def. Stephen Rozek, 6-2, 6-4
5- Ross Wilson (OSU) def. Nick Meythaler, 6-2, 7-5
6- Dennis Mertens (OSU) def. Darrin Cohen, 6-3, 7-6
1-#21 Meythaler/Rizza (UVa) def. Atas/Wurtzman, 9-8
2-Cohen/Stewart (UVa) def. Scott Green/Wilson, 9-7
3-Miklo/Rozek (UVa) vs. Brenton Contini/Mertens, DNF