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Virginia men's tennis wins 100th straight ACC match

Cavaliers sweep No. 25 Clemson 7-0 for milestone victory; beat Georgia Tech Sunday

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The top-ranked Virginia men’s tennis team reached its milestone 100th consecutive ACC victory Friday with a 7-0 shutout against No. 25 Clemson, and then continued its streak with a 6-1 victory against Georgia Tech Saturday in Charlottesville.

The Cavaliers’ (19-0, 8-0 ACC) streak is the longest in ACC men’s tennis history and is second only to the 1989-2000 Duke women’s tennis team’s 116 straight victories for longest streak in any sport in conference history. The significance of Friday’s win was not lost on coach Brian Boland.

“It does blow my mind,” Boland said. “When I first came to the University of Virginia, I believed that anything was possible, but I never thought about winning 100 [consecutive] matches in the Atlantic Coast Conference.”

Boland credited the accomplishment to the talent and effort of his student-athletes, past and present.

“It’s a tribute to a lot of players that have come through this program and that are still here,” Boland said. “Their willingness to come out and put the orange and blue on every day and compete and work hard, day in and day out, and practice, and not only make themselves better, but make others around them better.”

The Cavaliers began the rout by sweeping all three doubles matches from the Tigers (15-5, 4-3 ACC). No. 42 junior Justin Shane and senior Julen Uriguen easily won 8-3 at No. 3. Clemson then threatened to take the doubles point by staying close in highly contested matches on the first two courts, but No. 13 junior Alex Domijan and sophomore Mitchell Frank came through 9-8(4) on the second court to clinch the point. No. 2 freshman Mac Styslinger and senior Jarmere Jenkins finished the sweep with another 9-8(4) victory at the No. 1 spot.

In singles play, Uriguen added another point for Virginia with a dominant 6-0, 6-2 victory against Tiger freshman Austin Ansari at No. 6. No. 37 Frank overcame a 3-2 deficit in the first set to win 6-3, 6-0 and extend the Cavalier edge to 3-0. On the fifth court, No. 22 Styslinger won the tiebreaker in his first set, then cruised through the second to win 7-6(6), 6-4 and clinch the match — and the milestone — for the Cavaliers.

“I think it means a lot to the program,” Styslinger said. “It was pretty cool to be able to clinch the 100th straight ACC victory, and it’s something very special to me. I wasn’t looking at the scoreboard, so it was cool to realize once I finished that I had clinched.”

As fans began revealing signs reading “100 ACC Wins,” Virginia took the final three singles matches for good measure. No. 49 freshman Ryan Shane beat junior Dominique Maden, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 at No. 4. The last two singles matches proved challenging for Virginia’s top players, but No. 2 Jenkins downed No. 24 senior Yannick Maden 6-3, 7-6(6) at No.1, and No. 1 Domijan topped sophomore Hunter Harrington 7-6(0), 5-7, 6-3 at No. 2.

“We didn’t play our best match, but give Clemson a lot of credit,” Boland said. “The guys made it a little tougher on themselves than it needed to be. It wasn’t always the prettiest tennis today, but we’re thrilled to get another ACC win, and to get the 100.”

Jenkins, who is serving as a co-captain for the second consecutive season, viewed the milestone victory as impressive but far from shocking.

“When you look at the type of players that coach Boland is recruiting time and time again, and when you look at the results they’ve had before they come in, it’s not really surprising,” Jenkins said. “You’ve got guys like Mitchell Frank, who is out at 1 a.m. practicing, and guys like Mac, who has been superb so far. It’s a tribute to what Boland’s been able to do.”

The Cavaliers added victory number 101 Saturday against Georgia Tech (8-14, 1-8 ACC) with a 6-1 win. Virginia once again took an early lead by winning the doubles point as Jenkins and Styslinger downed No. 67 senior Juan Spir and sophomore Eduardo Segura 8-2 at No. 1, while Shane and Uriguen followed at No. 3 with an 8-1 victory to clinch the point.

Virginia added a second point quickly at No. 4 as Segura was forced to retire with an injury against Ryan Shane. Styslinger dominated his match at No. 5, defeating freshman Anish Sharma 6-1, 6-1, and extending the lead to 3-0.

The Yellow Jackets’ lone point of the day came on the first court as No. 68 Spir upset Domijan 6-4, 6-1.

Frank clinched the win for the Cavaliers at No. 3 by defeating freshman Nathan Rakitt 6-3, 6-2.

Seniors Jenkins and Uriguen, along with Dino Dell’Orto and Brian Fang, were honored Saturday during the team’s Senior Day. Jenkins and Uriguen went out with style, winning 6-4, 6-4, and 7-5, 6-2 respectively.

Despite Virginia’s dominance throughout the past decade, the Cavaliers have yet to win a national championship, losing in each of their two finals appearances. With their 100th consecutive ACC victory under their belt, the Cavaliers will turn their full attention toward their ultimate goal of capturing an NCAA title.

“It’s been a great journey,” Boland said. “And hopefully we’re just getting started.”


Published April 14, 2013 in FP test, Sports

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