No. 5 Men's tennis breaks ACC all-sport record
Program wins 117th consecutive ACC match, honors seniors against Wake Forest
In the final two home matches of the season, the No. 5 Virginia men’s tennis team celebrated the careers of its seniors — Alex Domijan, Justin Shane and Ian Uriguen — while clinching its 11th consecutive ACC regular season title and breaking an all-sport ACC record. After tying the record Friday upon defeating No. 32 North Carolina State, the Cavaliers extended the program’s conference win streak to 117 matches Sunday in a 7-0 rout of No. 23 Wake Forest.
Friday, the Cavaliers (19-2, 10-0 ACC) took on the Wolfpack (14-8, 3-6 ACC). Because the match was part of the USTA College Match Day series, the teams played singles before doubles.
NC State managed to put up a tough fight early. The sole exception was No. 63 sophomore Mac Styslinger, who was able to pull away to an early 4-1 lead in his first set and go onto win the match 6-1, 6-2 to give the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead.
No. 24 Domijan, known for jumping out on his opponents, was held at bay during the first set by junior Robbie Mudge until 4-3, when Domijan was finally able to break Mudge with a nice passing shot. Domijan steamrolled Mudge in the second set to win the match 6-3, 6-1.
The senior has been red-hot the last two months and has dropped only one set in conference play.
“I believe he is playing the best tennis of his life right now,” coach Brian Boland said. “He is really clicking on all cylinders. He’s improved his serve a great deal over the past couple of months.”
On the second singles court, No. 4 junior Mitchell Frank was locked in a tight battle with No. 52 junior Austin Powell. Frank emerged the victor in the first set after a tiebreaker, 7-6. The long first set appeared to wear down Powell, however, and Frank pulled away to a 6-2 victory to give the Cavaliers a 3-0 advantage.
“For me to be successful — regardless of who I play — I am just going to rally with him,” Frank said. “That’s when I am at my best. When I play matches like that, where the guy kind of does the same thing, it is going to [be a] long match, but at the end of the day I believe that I am the better player so he is not going to want to suffer as much.”
The Wolfpack got on the board when freshman Ian Dempster took down Justin Shane, cutting Virginia’s lead to 3-1.
No. 43 sophomore Ryan Shane posted a comeback victory after dropping the first set. Ryan Shane seemed to get going after his opponent, sophomore Simon Norenius, made a few questionable calls on Ryan’s shots in the second set. Ryan served his way to a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory, clinching the match for the Cavaliers, 4-1.
At No. 5, No. 117 freshman Thai-Son Kwiatkowski would finish the singles portion with a victory against freshman Nick Horton, 7-5, 7-5.
Led by Domijan, the Cavaliers would take down NC State in the doubles portion as well, winning two out of the three matches. Virginia has been changing up its doubles pairings quite a bit this year and have now fielded 26 different doubles combinations compared to just seven last year.
“We have mixed it around but I think that is one the reasons we are playing pretty well in terms of our doubles right now,” Boland said. “We had a little bit different way of going about it this year. Come the postseason we are going to have three really strong teams on the court”
Sunday, the Cavaliers hosted Wake Forest (14-10, 3-6 ACC), starting off the match with a close doubles point win.
After the pair of Domijan and sophomore Harrison Richmond won their match 8-1, the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles would both go to a tiebreaker. At No. 2, the No. 71 pair of freshman Luca Corintelli and Styslinger pulled away with their powerful serves to clinch the doubles point for Virginia. Frank and Kwiatkowski would go onto to fall at No. 3 as the teams decided to finish the match even after the point was decided.
Virginia honored its three seniors between the singles and doubles portion of the matches. During their tenure the Cavaliers won three ITA Indoor Championships, four ACC Championships and the program’s first NCAA Championship.
“It is going to be impossible to replace those guys,” Frank said. “Alex and Justin are one of a kind individuals both as tennis players and as people. The leadership that [Domijan] has provided me has been invaluable. And Justin, I grew up with him and we have been great friends our whole lives. Definitely going to miss having those guys around.”
On Sunday, the Demon Deacons started off sluggishly in the singles portion of the match, dropping the first set on all courts. Frank doubled the Cavaliers’ advantage with ease on the second court, winning against No. 58 senior Adam Lee, 6-1, 6-1.
At No. 1, Domijan would grab an impressive victory against No. 34 sophomore Romain Bogaerts, 6-3, 6-2. Domijan simply overpowered Bogaerts throughout the match, and Bogaerts expressed his frustration many times during the match as he was unable to match Domijan’s forehands down the line.
On the third court, Ryan Shane clinched the match for Virginia for the second time during the weekend. The victory gave Virginia the outright claim for the most consecutive ACC wins in any sport with 117 — previously set at 116 by Duke women’s tennis from 1989-2000 — and clinched the school’s 11th straight ACC title.
Virginia will travel to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech in its final regular season match Saturday at 11 a.m.