SEATTLE – The top-ranked Virginia men’s tennis team became the first program to win four consecutive ITA National Team Indoor Championships, topping No. 3 Tennessee 4-0 in Monday’s final at the Nordstrom Tennis Center. It was the second consecutive year the Cavaliers downed the Volunteers in the final.
“This is a great accomplishment and I am so proud of these guys,” said head coach Brian Boland. “This tournament is full of great teams and it gets to tougher to defend this title each year. We know we are going to get everyone’s best shot, but this group loves to rise to that challenge. This year they were resilient in how they handled some tough situations and challenges and rose to the occasion to play at a high level all week.”
In doubles, the Cavaliers’ new doubles combinations came through for the fourth consecutive day to give them a 1-0 lead and snap Tennessee’s 22-match doubles point win streak. The Vols took an early edge by winning at No. 1 where John-Patrick Smith and Boris Conkic topped Michael Shabaz (Fairfax, Va.) and Alex Domijan (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) 8-4. Virginia rallied to win the other two matches in tiebreakers. Drew Courtney (Clifton, Va.) and Steven Rooda (Amersfoort, The Netherlands) rallied from down 4-2 in a tiebreaker to win five straight points for a 9-8(4) win over Edward Jones and Matteo Fago at No. 3. With the opening point on the line, Sanam Singh (Chandigarh, India) and Jarmere Jenkins (College Park, Ga.) won the final four points of their tiebreaker for a 9-8(5) win over Rhyne Williams and Jarryd Chaplin at No. 2.
“The team was incredibly unselfish, particularly Michael and Drew, about going along with the switch in doubles,” said Boland. “That won us four doubles points this week, particularly a key one today, and catapulted us to these wins. Give them credit, they were enthusiastic about it because they wanted to do whatever was best for the team and that was a big part of our success.”
In singles, the Cavaliers jumped out quickly on the Vols, winning five of six first sets. Jenkins doubled the lead in the dual match as he quickly posted a 6-1, 6-1 win over Fago at the No. 4 position. Seconds later Shabaz made the score 3-0 as he completed a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Williams, the nation’s top ranked player. Domijan clinched the title for Virginia with his 6-2, 6-4 win at the No. 2 spot over Smith.
Virginia became the first school to win four consecutive ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The only other school to win more than two in row was Stanford, which won the first three events in the mid-1970s.
The Cavaliers (14-0) will now have two weeks off before beginning their outdoor season on March 9 at LSU. It is the start of six consecutive road matches in March before they return home on April 1 to host NTI semifinalist Duke.
#1 Virginia 4, #3 Tennessee 0
1. Smith/Conkic (UT) def. Shabaz/Domijan (UVa) 8-4
2. Singh/Jenkins (UVa) def. Chaplin/Williams (UT) 9-8(5)
3. Courtney/Rooda (UVa) def. Jones/Fago (UT) 9-8(4)
1. #15 Michael Shabaz (UVa) def. #1 Rhyne Williams (UT) 6-2, 6-2
2. #2 Alex Domijan (UVa) def. #17 John-Patrick Smith (UT) 6-2, 6-4
3. #13 Sanam Singh (UVa) led #46 Tennys Sandgren (UT) 6-4, 4-4 DNF
4. #25 Jarmere Jenkins (UVa) def. #68 Matteo Fago (UT) 6-1, 6-1
5. #119 Boris Conkic (UT) led #23 Drew Courtney (UVa) 6-4, 2-4 DNF
6. Justin Shane (UVa) led Edward Jones (UT) 6-2, 3-5 DNF
Order of Finish