CARY, N.C. – The top-ranked Virginia men’s tennis team won its fourth consecutive ACC Championship and its sixth title in seven years with a 4-2 win over No. 17 Duke in Sunday’s tournament final at the Cary Tennis Park. It was also the Cavaliers’ 61st consecutive victory against conference competition, extending their ACC record.
“This is always a great accomplishment,” said head coach Brian Boland. “We always have great respect for the ACC and all the programs across the league. The depth of the conference now is stronger than ever, so to win this title is just as meaningful as the first one we won back in 2004. I am proud of the guys and how hard they have worked all year. We have had goals for this team, and this was one of them, and we are now looking forward to the NCAA Tournament.”
Virginia took a 1-0 lead by taking the doubles point from the Blue Devils (18-8). Lee Singer (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) and Jarmere Jenkins (College Park, Ga.) cruised to an 8-2 win over Alain Michel and Torsten Wietoska at No. 3 doubles. At No. 2, Sanam Singh (Chandigarh, India) and Houston Barrick (Brentwood, Tenn.) clinched the opening point for the Cavaliers with an 8-4 win over Dylan Arnould and David Holland.
“Winning that doubles point was huge for us,” said Boland. “It was even bigger when Duke stepped it up in singles even more than when we played them in Durham. I thought they played incredibly well during singles and we were struggling in some places early on.”
Early in singles it was evident that the match would be close, with Virginia winning the first set at the top three positions and Duke winning the first set at the bottom three. However, only one match was completed in straight sets, a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 3 for Jenkins over Arnould to make the score 2-0.
Duke rallied to even the score at 2-2 as Henrique Cunha rallied for a three-set win over Michael Shabaz (Fairfax, Va.) at No. 1 and Luke Marchese topped Singer at No. 6 in three sets.
Drew Courtney (Clifton, Va.) gave the Cavaliers a 3-2 lead as he edged Wietoska 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4) at the No. 4 position. Barrick clinched the championship for Virginia with his 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-1 win over Jared Pinsky at No. 5.
“I am so proud of how Houston and Drew just kept battling today,” said Boland. “For Houston to keep his composure and close it out for us shows what a competitor and leader he is. And what an ending for Drew in his match. How much more special and exciting can it get. You got to give Duke a lot of credit. They played a great match. They deserved to be here and they pushed us today. We know they are going to have a lot of success in the NCAA Tournament.”
Barrick, who clinched the championship with is win on Sunday, was named the tournament MVP. He and fellow senior Lee Singer conclude their ACC careers without losing a regular season or tournament match over their four years.
“It was special day for us,” said Barrick. “This was certainly the toughest final we have had in the tournament over my four years. To go out like this and win this championship with this group is special and will be something I will remember forever. Today was another great day for Virginia tennis.”
The championship was Virginia’s sixth ACC Championship this year (men’s soccer, men’s swimming, women’s swimming, wrestling, rowing and men’s tennis), tying the school record for a year. Virginia had six ACC titles in 2003-04 and matched that feat in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
The Cavaliers will receive the ACC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The field of 64 will be announced on May 4.
No. 1 Virginia 4, No. 17 Duke 2
1. #1 Cunha/Carleton (Duke) led #11 ShabazCourtney (UVa) 8-7 DNF
2. #32 Barrick/Singh (UVa) def. #77 Arnould/Holland (Duke) 8-4
3. Singer/Jenkins (UVa) def. Michel/Wietoska (Duke) 8-2
1. #7 Henrique Cunha (Duke) def. #9 Michael Shabaz (UVa) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
2. #15 Sanam Singh (UVa) led #76 Reid Carleton (Duke) 7-6(4), 4-6, 5-3 DNF
3. #55 Jarmere Jenkins (UVa) def. #105 Dylan Arnould (Duke) 6-4, 6-4
4. #51 Drew Courtney (UVa) def. Torsten Wietoska (Duke) 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4)
5. #107 Houston Barrick (UVa) def. Jared Pinsky (Duke) 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-1
6. Luke Marchese (Duke) def. #68 Lee Singer (UVa) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Order of Finish: