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May 27, 2013

URBANA, Ill. – The Virginia duo of Jarmere Jenkins (College Park, Ga.) and Mac Styslinger (Birmingham, Ala.) won the fifth NCAA Individual title in school history, capturing the NCAA Doubles Championship over Chris Camillone and David Holiner of Texas 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 Monday at the Atkins Tennis Center. Earlier in the day, Jenkins’ bid for the NCAA Tennis Triple Crown came up short as he suffered a 7-6(8), 6-4 loss to Blaz Rola of Ohio State in the NCAA Singles Final.

Jenkins and Styslinger become the third NCAA Doubles Champions in Virginia history. Michael Shabaz and Dominic Inglot won the title in 2009 and Shabaz defended his title the following year, teaming with Drew Courtney.

“I am so happy for Jarmere Jenkins to end his career this way, with a doubles national championship,” said Virginia head coach Brian Boland. “He has put his heart and soul into our program for four years. He has had his ups and downs, but he hung in there and become a better player and a better person in the process. And what a performance Mac had today. He showed a lot of maturity to handle the situation and the pressure of this stage. That is impressive. He has learned that he plays his best tennis when he is aggressive, and he did that well today.”

In the final, the Texas duo took an early 4-1 lead as the match started outdoors. As it has numerous times during the individual tournaments, thunderstorms came in and the rest of the match was played indoors. Each team held serve over the next four games as the Longhorn pair closed out the first set.

The Cavalier pair took a lead in the second set as they broke Holiner’s serve to go up 3-1. They later broke Holiner’s serve again four games later to close out the 6-2 set and force a third set.

In the final set, the Texas team took a 3-2 lead by breaking Styslinger’s serve. The Cavalier pair answered by breaking Camillone in the next game to get back on serve at 3-3. Jenkins and Styslinger had two break points on Holiner’s serve two games later, but couldn’t take advantage and the final set was tied at 4-4. After Styslinger held at love for a 5-4 lead, the Cavalier pair broke Camillone in the next game to clinch the 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory.

“It is an incredible way to start my college career, winning two NCAA championships my freshman year,” said Styslinger, who became the first freshman to win the NCAA doubles championship since 2003. “We just tried to play one point at a time and the rest of it took care of itself. I know what a competitor Jarmere is, so I knew he would put the disappointment of singles behind him and give everything he had left in him for doubles. I am just proud of what he accomplished this year and it was a thrill to play with him.”

The championship capped the career of Jenkins, who ends his Cavalier career third in singles wins (140), seventh in doubles victories (111) and fifth in combined victories (251).

“Winning the doubles championship was a great way to end my college career,” said Jenkins. “t was tough to get over that singles match and I definitely got off to a slow start in doubles. I knew this was my last college match ever and I didn’t want it to end like that. I just wanted to keep fighting and leave it all on the court. I knew we were in a lot of their service games, so even when we got down a break in the third set, I still felt confident.”

Rola won the national championship in singles with a 7-6(8), 6-4 victory over Jenkins. The first set remained on serve throughout, with Jenkins saving four break points during his first three service games and Rola saving a pair of break points at 5-5. Rola took a 6-2 lead in the tiebreaker before Jenkins saved four straight set points to draw even, 6-6. Jenkins had one set point of his own, at 8-7, but Rola won the next three points to win the breaker 10-8 and take the first set.

Both players were strong on their serve again in the second set. Only one game went to deuce, a four-deuce game that Jenkins served at 3-3. Rola took advantage of the only break point by either player in the second set to win that game and take a 4-3 lead. He then served out the 7-6(8), 6-4 victory.

“Congrats to Blaz, he is a great competitor and played well today,” said Jenkins. “I have no regrets. I gave it my all. Unfortunately I didn’t take advantage of those break points I had in the first set. I couldn’t beat myself up too much about not winning the set point I had, because I was down 6-2 in the breaker. I just kept trying to give myself a chance, and I did. It was a fun match to play. Neither of us dropped our level the whole match. In the end, I just didn’t get the breaks I needed.”

Virginia ended the year by winning five of the eight major championships of the 2012-13 season. The Cavaliers won both team championships (NCAA and ITA National Team Indoor), the singles championships at the ITA All-American Championships (Alex Domijan) and ITA Intercollegiate Indoor Championships (Jenkins) along with the NCAA Doubles Championship by Jenkins and Styslinger. The five titles ties the most by a school in one season, matching the Cavaliers’ total in 2007-08, as well as Illinois in 2002-03 and Stanford in 1999-2000, 1997-98 and 1991-92.

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