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Cavs capture fourth consecutive title

Team runs through conference championships; Boland garners fourth Coach of the Year honor

The nation's top-ranked men's tennis team captured its fourth consecutive ACC crown this weekend after defeating Duke in the finals Sunday in North Carolina. In the process, four players were named to the All-ACC tennis team, and coach Brian Boland was named ACC Coach of the Year for the third time in a row.

Boland said the players gave it their all throughout the tournament, especially in the final match against Duke.

"I thought we played really well," Boland said. We "came out with a lot of focus, and energy got a little bit better with each match."

The team rallied hard against the Blue Devils, especially in the singles matches after it took the doubles point early. In doubles, the Cavaliers won the point thanks to two wins - one at No. 2 with senior Houston Barrick and junior Sanam Singh (8-4) and another at no.3 with freshman Jarmere Jenkins and senior Lee Singer (8-2).

"Duke was a tough test - they're a really good program," Barrick said. "We obviously knew that every match was going to be close."

In fact, the No. 1 doubles team of junior Michael Shabaz and sophomore Drew Courtney did not finish its match against Duke's Henrique Cunha and Reid Carleton and was down 7-8 when the team clinched the doubles point.

In singles, all the matches were complete in three sets, except for Jenkins's match at the no. 3 spot. Jenkins won 6-4, 6-4, against Duke's Dylan Arnould, who is ranked 100 in the ITA singles rankings.

Both Barrick at No. 5 singles and Courtney at No. 4 singles fought out their matches to win in three sets. Barrick rallied back against Duke's Jared Pinsky 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-1. Courtney, meanwhile, defeated his opponent 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7).

"I'm glad I came out on top," Barrick said of his match against Pinsky, who he had faced before his tenure as a Cavalier. "I was struggling with the wind early on ... But I was fortunate enough to figure out what to do and finish strong."

Boland said he was very impressed by Barrick's performance.

"I cant say enough about his effort and composure," Boland said. "Not for a minute did I ever doubt him."

Boland also praised Courtney's dedication to come out strong in his match, as well as the dedication of the entire Virginia team throughout the Duke Match.

"Every single guy left everything on the court," Boland noted.

The only singles losses for the team were at the No. 1 and No. 6 spots. After winning the first set, Shabaz lost to Cunha, who is ranked No. 2 in the ITA singles rankings, 6-4, 3-6, 1-6. At No. 6 singles, too, Singer lost after capturing the second set to Duke's Luke Marchese, finishing the match 4-6, 6-3, 4-6.

Lastly, Singh did not finish his match, as the Cavaliers won 4 points, but was leading Duke's Carleton 7-6, 4-6, 5-3.

The Cavaliers swept through the other rounds of the ACC draw. The squad hey defeated Miami 4-0 Friday and Georgia Tech the next day, 4-1.

Along with the titles of ACC champions, the Virginia men's tennis team had its top four singles players - Michael Shabaz, Sanam Singh, Jarmere Jenkins and Drew Courtney - named to the All-ACC tennis team. Both Courtney and Jenkins received the honor for the first time in their Virginia men's tennis careers.

"It's a great honor for the four young men, and they all deserve it so much," Boland said.

Joining the players in ACC recognition was Boland, who was named ACC Coach of the Year for the third season in a row and fourth time overall.

"It's very special to be honored by your peers throughout the conference that I have so much respect for them," Boland said. "More than anything, it's a tribute to [our] players." Boland added, however, that this recognition could not be possible without the dedication of his assistant coaches, Tony Bresky and Derek Scwhandt. The award was a "direct reflection" of the quality of his fellow coaches, Boland said.

Now on tap for the Cavaliers is a bit of rest and time off from match play. The lull will last until the NCAA season begins May 14 with the regional matchup. Virginia may hold the regionals at home at the Synder tennis courts, which would mark the team's seventh regional at home.

Depending on the results of the regionals, Virginia then will head to the NCAA Championships, which begin May 21 before culminating in the final May 25. Immediately following the team final, the individual tournament begins May 26.

The team is both excited to prepare for the NCAAs, Boland said, and players are also ready to concentrate on their studies and final exams during the next few weeks.

"The next two weeks are critical to us," Boland said, adding that the team plans to keep the same approach into the NCAAs as it has used throughout the year - doing everything it can to prepare.

Barrick also noted that although the next few weeks are essential, he is going to try and find a balance and not get too stressed about the NCAAs.

"We have to enjoy it ... do our best, and train hard," Barrick said, "and take it one day at a time"


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