April 30, 2017
ROME, Ga. – Virginia captured the 2017 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Tennis title after a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College on Sunday afternoon.
The setting was all too familiar for the two teams as the pair met during the 2016 ACC Championship, where the match had a different outcome: Wake Forest claimed that title, 4-3.
Virginia was not going let that happen again this year as senior J.C. Aragone (Yorba Linda, Calif.) completed the redemption story on Court 5 with a victory over Christian Seraphim, 7-6 (8), 4-6, 6-3.
Reigning NCAA champion Virginia snagged the doubles point for the early lead. Seniors Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (Charlotte, N.C.) and Alexander Ritschard (Zurich, Switzerland) earned a 6-3 victory on Court 2 over Alan Gadjiev and Borna Gojo, while the Cavaliers led on Courts 1 and 3, 5-4. Junior Collin Altamirano (Sacramento, Calif.) and Aragone clinched the coveted point for Virginia defeating Petros Chrysochos and Dennis Uspensky, 6-4 on Court 3.
No. 4 Chrysochos evened the score for the Deacs, earning a straight set victory over No. 90 Ritshard, 6-2, 6-4. It wasn’t long before Virginia hopped back out in front thanks to No. 15 Kwiatkowski’s win in No. 2 singles over No. 51 Borna Gojo, 6-4, 6-4.
No.13 Skander Mansouri tied the match for Wake, coming back to win the last two sets, 6-3, 6-2, after dropping the first 4-6 to freshman Carl Soderlund (Stockholm, Sweden) on Court 3. Despite Wake Forest’s comeback, Aragone was able to clinch the win for the Cavaliers.
“It was pretty remarkable-but I’m not surprised. It’s J.C. J.C. has a heart of gold and has been through a lot of adversity,” said Virginia head coach Brian Boland.
Aragone’s match-clinching performance earned him Most Valuable Player. It was the second time he earned the honor after garnering the accolade during his sophomore season.
“The whole time I felt like it was going to come down to me and I kept telling myself, ‘Keep fighting. Keep fighting.’ [Seraphim] is a really tough guy to break. He’s amazing and I just had to keep my head down and keep serving,” said Aragone. “I was just trying everything in my power to leave it all out there and come out on top.”
The win marks Virginia’s 12th conference title and Boland has been at the helm for each of them. Boland will forever be etched into the ACC record books, as he has the second-most conference championships by a head coach.
Redemption was not the only thing special about the Cavalier’s victory-it also marked Boland’s last championship title with Virginia as he is set to become USTA Player Development’s head of men’s tennis after the completion of the 2017 season.
“It’s been an unbelievable ride in college tennis,” said Boland. “It’s hard to leave something I love so much, but it was time for a greater challenge and the time has come. I absolutely love college tennis.”
“I’m proud to represent the ACC, which I consider the best conference in the country. I’m proud of the coaches and colleagues I work with within the conference.”
This year’s ACC Tennis Championship drew a record total attendance of 1,793.
Virginia receives the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The complete NCAA Tournament field will be announced on Tuesday, May 2 at 5 p.m. in a live-streaming selection show on NCAA.com. NCAA Regionals begin on Friday, May 12 at host sites. The NCAA Round of 16 begins on Thursday, May 18 in Athens, Ga.
#3 Virginia 4, #1 Wake Forest 3
1. #4 Petros Chrysochos (WF) def. #90 Alexander Ritschard (VA) 6-2, 6-4
2. #15 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VA) def. #51 Borna Gojo (WF) 6-4, 6-4
3. #13 Skander Mansouri (WF) def. #109 Carl Soderlund (VA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
4. #46 Collin Altamirano (VA) def. Dennis Uspensky (WF) 6-3, 6-4
5. #117 J.C. Aragone (VA) def. #75 Christian Seraphim (WF) 7-6 (10-8), 4-6, 6-3
6. Alan Gadjiev (WF) def. #95 Henrik Wiersholm (VA) 6-4, 6-3
1. #1 Skander Mansouri/Christian Seraphim (WF) vs. #16 Luca Corinteli/Carl Soderlund (VA) 4-5, unfinished
2. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Alexander Ritschard (VA) def. Alan Gadjiev/Borna Gojo (WF) 6-3
3. Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (VA) def. Petros Chrysochos/Dennis Uspensky (WF) 6-4
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (1,2,4,6,3,5)