Men's tennis grabs victory in three home matches
Poor weather conditions force matches inside
No. 4 Virginia men’s tennis won three home matches this weekend, the first time the team has competed in Charlottesville in almost a month. However, rain and cold weather forced all three bouts — against Miami, Florida State and William & Mary — to be played at the Boar’s Head Sports Club instead of the normal venue, the Snyder Tennis Center.
The Cavaliers (15-2, 6-0 ACC) showed their talent against the Hurricanes (13-6, 3-3 ACC) Friday by not dropping a single set in their 7-0 victory. During the doubles portion of the match on the second court, senior Alex Domijan and sophomore Harrison Richmond blanked sophomore William Albanese and junior Henrique Tsukamoto. Virginia clinched the doubles point when brothers senior Justin Shane and sophomore Ryan Shane teamed up to beat junior Wilfredo Gonzalez and freshman Daniel Shebshayevich 8-1.
Virginia continued its dominance into singles as No. 4-ranked junior Mitchell Frank easily won against Miami senior Gabriel Flores 6-2, 6-2. Shortly afterward, No. 24 Alex Domijan easily dispatched senior Diego Soto to put the Cavaliers up 3-0. Domijan has been streaking recently and has not dropped a set in his last six singles matches. But the senior captain understands the importance of staying grounded to continue the consistency.
“Everybody can play,” Domijan said. “I played well this weekend. If I’m not on my game, I could definitely lose. I try to keep that same mentality moving forward.”
The Cavaliers wore the Hurricanes down as they moved deeper into the second set. At many points during the match, Miami players could be seen voicing their frustrations or slamming their racquets into the ground. Frank’s slow and meticulous style of play clearly tired out his opponent Flores to the point where Flores sat down on the court while Frank was fetching balls between service points.
“We’re fit and I am probably the fittest I have been in my life,” Domijan said. “It’s hard to utilize indoors, [but] I think that’s going to show outdoors.”
The Cavaliers’ sweep of Miami extended their ACC winning streak to 112 matches and came after two impressive victories against No. 8 North Carolina and No. 14 Duke. Despite the apparent mismatch of talent, head coach Brian Boland feels that victories like this serve the team well moving forward.
“[We will] continue to build off the momentum from last weekend against Duke and North Carolina,” Boland said. “I am pleased with the opportunity to play a number of different guys and see what they’re made up of.”
The following day, the Cavaliers, led by Ryan Shane, took down No. 24 Florida State. The Seminoles (15-7, 3-3 ACC) fell behind early after dropping the doubles point. The freshman pair of Jordan Daigle and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski upset doubles No. 41 pair junior Dominic Cotrone and senior Blake Davis.
In singles, Ryan Shane showcased his full arsenal against Davis. Shane wholly frustrated Davis the entire match with his ability to set up serve and rally combinations at the net. Early rallies at the net helped Shane gain an early advantage by taking the first set 6-0. Davis fought back in the second set and managed to push it to 4-4 before Shane used his serve to pull away and win the match 6-0, 6-4. Shane’s win pushed Virginia’s advantage to 3-0.
The sophomore Shane has climbed in the rankings in the past few weeks, much of which can be attributed to his continual effort to improve on the court.
“Ryan has developed his overall game over the last couple of years,” Boland said. “In particular, his serve has allowed him to build confidence in the rest of his game. He changed the technique, the ball toss and some other areas. Now he is able to play with the freedom and aggressiveness that he is capable [of] because he holds his serve so convincingly most of the time.”
The Cavaliers continued to cruise, with Frank clinching the match for Virginia on the first court as he downed Cortone 6-1, 6-4. Virginia dropped its first point of the weekend when Florida State freshman Jake Albo took down freshman Luca Corinteli. Following Corinteli’s loss, the Cavaliers won the last two matches to finish of the Seminoles 6-1.
Virginia took on in-state rival William & Mary Sunday. The Cavaliers continued to dominate their opponents early in match, taking three of four doubles matches and the first six singles matches from the Tribe (13-8, 2-0 CAA). In the final match, William & Mary freshman Damon Niquet had Richmond on the ropes after winning the first set 6-1. Richmond came back strong in the second set and held at 4-4 before a couple double faults allowed Niquet to break Richmond. After the break point, Niquet’s sharp rallies down the line finished off Richmond and put the Tribe on the board for the first time all day. But the Cavaliers still came out far ahead, tallying a final score of 6-1.
Virginia will hit the road again next weekend with two ACC matches against Clemson and Georgia Tech.