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Cavs dominate field at Snyder

Virginia players take all four spots in semifinals of ITA Atlantic Regional; Domijan, Jenkins win doubles

The Virginia doubles team of sophomore Jarmere Jenkins and freshman Alex Domijan took the court Sunday morning for the ITA Atlantic Regional final with a spot in the National Indoor Championships on the line. Before the match began, Jenkins provided coach Brian Boland with some last-minute information.

"It's an all-U.Va. final, Coach," Jenkins announced as the spectators nearby laughed.

Indeed, Jenkins and Domijan defeated another pair of Cavaliers - senior Sanam Singh and junior Steven Eelkman Rooda - 6-1, 7-5 to claim the victory and a berth in the National Indoors, which Virginia has won three straight years, to be held Nov. 4-7 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. Jenkins also claimed the singles championship for the second consecutive year as senior teammate Michael Shabaz defaulted in the final.

The tournament, held at the Snyder Tennis Center, hosted 128 players in the singles draw from local schools such as James Madison and ACC schools such as Virginia Tech. By Saturday, that number was reduced to four, and all of the participants were Cavaliers. In the doubles draw, the top-seeded duo of Jenkins and Domijan scraped by the Maryland pair of junior Maros Horny and sophomore John Collins with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 semifinal victory to reach the final. Singh and Rooda, the tournament's No. 3 seed, advanced to the final with a 6-3, 6-4 win against the No. 2 seed of sophomore Thomas Dehaen and senior Ivan Salec of Radford.

"We've worked as hard as ever physically, and it's nice to see them reap the rewards of their hard work," Boland said. "We had no expectations for results [before the tournament started], but we're certainly pleased they were rewarded."

While Boland had the rare opportunity to sit back and relax as he watched his players battle it out Sunday, the players fought hard for the victory. Rooda and Singh struggled during the first set but found their rhythm as the match progressed. Jenkins and Domijan led through most of the second set but did not pull away until they broke serve at the end to win the match.

Anyone who expected a halfheartedly played match was surprised to see the intensity displayed by the Cavaliers. Singh, who was visibly frustrated during the early going, turned to Boland after one particularly impressive shot by Jenkins and asked in exasperation, "Did you give them something special before the match?"

In fact, Boland did not provide either pair with any advice before the match to avoid playing favorites. Instead, he left the players to plan their own strategies against the people they see every day in practice.

"[Our plan was] to try to make a lot of returns and hit a high percentage of our first serves," Domijan said.

Jenkins, who is Singh's roommate, had a particularly successful weekend. The physical grind of winning both the singles and doubles titles took its toll, but it was nothing he is unaccustomed to.\n"Three matches a day over a weekend is a lot of tennis, but I've been playing tennis my whole life," Jenkins said. "That's what I signed up for."

Several Cavaliers qualified for the prestigious National Indoor Championships earlier this month at the ITA All-American Championships and sat out this past weekend's regional tournament. Domijan earned a bid by winning the first major tournament of his career, becoming just the third freshman in the history of the 32-year All-American Championships to win the singles title. Singh and junior Drew Courtney reached the quarterfinals of the singles draw. All three will join Jenkins in the singles draw of the prestigious indoor tournament in two weeks. Shabaz is also expected to receive an at-large bid because of his No. 6 ranking. Courtney and Shabaz, who won the All-American doubles title, will compete in the doubles draw, as well.

Now, Jenkins and the Cavaliers will prepare for the Charlottesville Challenger to take place in a week. Although the Cavaliers are optimistic about the way they have played this fall, they are keeping one eye toward the NCAA season in the spring. Boland stressed the importance of "improving each player individually and getting better collectively," rather than focusing on the results.

Domijan's final thoughts on the tournament should be music to Boland's ears.

"I think I'm getting better at doubles," Domijan said. "Jarmere and I have gotten better as a team"