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Barrick and Singer thrive under radar

Seniors shine in final home match at Snyder, look to capture first NCAA Championship to cap off careers

This past Sunday, men's tennis seniors Houston Barrick and Lee Singer were celebrated for their decorated careers during senior day.

"We were trying to hold back the tears," Barrick said, part jokingly.

Though it was an emotionally taxing day, the co-captains knew they still had one match left at home - and an opportunity to go out in style.

"It's a tough moment because it's right after doubles, and you've got your adrenaline flowing and you have to go right into singles," Barrick said. "But we had to focus on the goal and keep playing. It was a little sad but we'll move on."

Indeed, coach Brian Boland has praised Barrick for his steadfastness throughout his career, always noting his incredible focus and ability to come through in difficult situations, often in three sets.

Barrick, who plays at the No. 5 singles spot and the No. 2 doubles spot with junior Sanam Singh, has been a staple for the Cavalier men's team since his arrival in Charlottesville in 2006.

During his first year as a Cavalier, Barrick played in the same singles and doubles slots as he does currently. At the time, Barrick played alongside former Cavalier Dominic Inglot, and the duo, like the rest of the 2006-07 team, was a dominant force in Division I men's tennis.

He then bounced around the lineup during his second and third years on the team, seeing time at the No. 4, 5 and 6 singles positions. In doubles, though, Barrick has been a constant at the No. 2 position.

During Virginia's match against N.C. State Friday, Barrick, along with his doubles partner, Singh, recorded his 100th singles victory for the Virginia team. The two became the sixth and seventh Cavaliers to join the 100-win club in program history, joining the likes of Cavalier greats Devvarman and Treat Huey.

And as Barrick climbed his way up the Virginia annals, Singer was there every step of the way.

Singer, who seemed more energized than reminiscent, said although the Senior Day celebration and sizeable crowd meant a lot to him as a soon-to-be graduate, it is the team's dominance and cohesion this season that has excited him the most.

"This year overall has been a really good year for me and Houston," Singer said. "I think being team leaders is a cool thing ... We're working with a great group of guys here."

Singer became a powerful force for the Virginia squad during his sophomore campaign, playing on and off with Ted Angelinos in the No. 3 doubles slot. He has held the spot ever since then, last year teaming up with sophomore Drew Courtney and this year with freshman Jarmere Jenkins.

Meanwhile, Singer became a constant in the singles lineup last season. He continues, along with Barrick and Courtney, to secure key points in the bottom half of the team's lineup.

Both seniors are ready for the end of the team's regular season in ACC play and pumped for its possible journey into the NCAA Tournament in the next few weeks. Although the team as a whole hopes to find success in the tournament, it is especially important to the two co-captains as it will mark their last chance to make NCAA history for the team.

"I think especially the seniors ... we're more calm about [the NCAA Tournament]," Barrick said. "It's a good feeling to know that you've done everything you can and of course we want to win it."

Throughout the duo's four-year career, Virginia has often sat atop the NCAA rankings during the regular season. But despite this regular season supremacy, the Cavaliers have yet to capture the NCAA crown, even when all-time singles leader Devvarman dominated the court. During each of the past two seasons, Virginia entered the tournament as the top seed but was ousted in the late rounds of the tournament. Two years ago, the Cavaliers fell to Georgia in the semifinals, 3-4, and were blanked by Southern California in the quarterfinals last year, 0-4.

Boland acknowledged his seniors' achievements but added that the ultimate goal lies ahead.

"I'm really proud of Houston Barrick and Lee Singer and certainly happy for them as they end their regular season careers as Cavaliers," Boland said. "They just had outstanding runs, and I know they know the hard work is ahead of us this season."

And, as is only natural, one of the top things on the Cavalier captains' minds is postseason play. Both hope this year will be the one. Regardless, they finish the year at No. 1.

"We've worked hard for four years now and we've put everything we have into it," Barrick said. "We just have to go out there and do our best ... that's all we can do"


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