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Virginia creams Bulldogs to clinch tournament win

No. 5 Virginia (12-0, 1-0 ACC) accomplished over the weekend what last year’s 32-1 team could not: beating No. 3 Georgia. The Virginia men’s tennis team repeated its 2008 championship run in the ITA National Indoor Championships in Chicago, winning the final 4-1 against the Bulldogs.

Last year during the semifinals of the NCAA tournament, the then-No. 3 Bulldogs upset the then-No. 1 Cavaliers by a score of 4-3. Current senior Dominic Inglot, sophomore Michael Shabaz and sophomore Sanam Singh all lost their respective singles matches during last year’s contest.

Virginia, though, was able to get its revenge this year, again without wins in singles matches from these three veterans. No. 43 Inglot fell to No. 18 junior Nate Schnugg, 6-3, 6-4 for his first loss in singles this season, and neither Singh’s nor Shabaz’s matchups factored into the final outcome of Virginia’s 4-1 victory.

Virginia’s win in the final round of the tournament began with a sweep of the doubles matches. In the one spot for the Cavaliers, the nationally ranked No. 3 team of Singh and junior Houston Barrick defeated No. 40 Schnugg and Jamie Hunt of the Bulldogs by a score of 9-8. Inglot and Shabaz added to the point in their 8-4 trouncing of junior Christian Vitulli and sophomore Borja Malo. After Inglot dropped his singles match to Schnugg, however, the Cavaliers’ fate hinged on singles matches 4 through 6.

First, Barrick prevailed in the No. 4 spot with a 6-4, 6-0 win against Malo. But it was the play from Virginia’s two freshmen that clinched the championship match. In the five spot, freshman Steven Eelkman Rooda beat Bulldogs sophomore Drake Bernstein, 6-3, 6-2. No. 108 Drew Courtney then fought back from a 0-6 blemish in the first set to win the next two, 6-0, 7-5 to complete Virginia’s victory.

The Cavaliers easily took 4-0 wins against Tulsa in round one, and even more impressively, No. 4 UCLA in the semifinals of the tournament.

Rooda and Courtney’s play was instrumental throughout the tournament. The freshmen combined for a 7-1 record in singles, while Inglot, Singh and Shabaz only accounted for six Virginia wins. Courtney was particularly impressive, going 4-0 in singles and 2-1 with junior Lee Singer in doubles over the weekend, earning him his first ACC Player of the Week honor.

The Cavaliers will look to carry their tournament success into ACC play Saturday against Boston College at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville.

—compiled by Andrew Seidman

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