Box Score April 26, 2015
DURHAM, N.C. – The No. 5 Virginia men’s tennis team captured its ninth consecutive ACC Championship by defeating No. 11 Wake Forest 4-2 in Sunday’s final at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center on the campus of Duke University. The Cavaliers (23-3) have won the title in 11 of the past 12 years, including defeating the Demon Deacons (22-7) in two of the past three championship matches.
The Cavaliers’ championship tied a pair of ACC Men’s Tennis Championship records. Virginia’s nine-year streak ties North Carolina (1970-78) for the longest span of consecutive titles in league history. Virginia’s 11 ACC men’s tennis titles during the team tournament era (since 1986) ties Duke for the most in conference history.
The win extended Virginia’s win streak against conference opponents (regular season and tournaments) to 139 consecutive matches, the longest streak in ACC history in any sport. It was also the Cavaliers’ 27th consecutive win in the ACC Tournament.
“Winning the ACC Championship never gets old,” said head coach Brian Boland. “Other than the success my former players have had in life after leaving UVa, the thing I am most proud of is the consistency we have had year after year. It says a lot about the hard work that our players have put into the program and their ability to be ready to play every single day. It is a streak that I never imagined could be possible in a league as challenging as the ACC.
“It was a tough tournament this year,” added Boland. “This league keeps getting better and better. I have a ton of respect for Tony Bresky and what he has done at Wake Forest. He was my assistant for 10 years, so it is tough to see him lose. We won a lot of championships together.”
The Cavaliers took a 1-0 lead in the match by winning the doubles point. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (Charlotte, N.C.) and Mac Styslinger (Birmingham, Ala.) gave Virginia the edge with an 8-5 win at No. 2 over Noah Rubin and Jon Ho. At No. 1, Luca Corinteli (Alexandria, Va.) and Ryan Shane (Falls Church, Va.) clinched the point with an 8-6 win over Christian Seraphim and Skander Mansouri.
The match remained close in singles as each team won three first sets. Virginia extended its lead to 2-0 as Kwiatkowski downed Mansouri 6-2, 6-3 at No. 3 singles. Minutes later the Cavalier lead stretched to 3-0 as J.C. Aragone completed a 6-2, 6-4 victory at the No. 5 position. Aragone, who went 3-0 in singles over the weekend, was named tournament MVP.
Wake Forest closed the gap to 3-2 with wins at the top two positions. Rubin got the Demon Deacons on the board with a 7-6(5), 6-3 victory at No. 1 over Shane. Romain Boegarts followed with a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 2 over Collin Altamirano (Sacramento, Calif.).
Alexander Ritschard (Zurich, Switzerland) closed out the championship with his victory over Ho at No. 4 singles. After winning a close first set in a tiebreaker, he jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second set. He held serve the rest of the way to close out a 7-6(5), 6-2 victory and seal the match for the Cavaliers.
“That tiebreaker that Ryan had in the first set against Noah (Rubin) was big because it allowed Wake to get back into the match,” said Boland. “I was pleased with how Alex and Mac stayed focused at the end. Alex didn’t let up after winning the first set, which is easy to do after winning a close first set. I am proud of how he played the second set and clinching this title is a big moment in his career.”
Virginia played the match without senior All-American Mitchell Frank. He had clinched the Cavaliers’ semifinal victory over North Carolina on Saturday.
“Playing without Mitchell made it tough today because he is a big part of our team,” said Boland. “His back acted up after yesterday’s match and I decided not to put him out there today. That is where the depth we have built up really helps us. Everyone on this team is ready to contribute if we call on them and guys stepped up big today.”
As ACC Champion, Virginia will receive the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The field of 64 will be announced Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. on NCAA.com. First and second round action will be held at campus sites beginning on May 8.
#5 VIRGINIA 4, #11 WAKE FOREST 2
1. #2 Corinteli/Shane (UVa) def. #11 Seraphim/Mansouri (WF) 8-6
2. #63 Styslinger/Kwiatkowski (UVa) def. Ho/Rubin (WF) 8-5
3. Altamirano/Aragone (UVa) vs. Tabrizi/Bogaerts (WF) 7-7 DNF
Order of Finish: 2,1
1. #13 Noah Rubin (WF) def. #7 Ryan Shane (UVa) 7-6(5), 6-3
2. #15 Romain Bogaerts (WF) def. #93 Collin Altamirano (UVa) 6-3, 6-4
3. #18 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (UVa) def. Skander Mansouri (WF) 6-2, 6-3
4. Alexander Ritschard (UVa) def. #92 Jon Ho (WF) 7-6(5), 6-2
5. J.C. Aragone (UVa) def. Christian Seraphim (WF) 6-2, 6-4
6. Mac Styslinger (UVa) vs. Keivon Tabrizi (WF) 2-6, 6-4, 3-2 DNF
Order of Finish: 3,5,1,2,4