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Virginia holds serve at home

No. 2 team drops only two matches en route to sweeping three top-15 opponents in three days

After helping the second-ranked Virginia men's tennis team breeze past No. 15 Texas and No. 5 Florida earlier in the weekend, team captains junior Jarmere Jenkins and senior Drew Courtney faced a 10-point super tiebreaker to salvage the doubles point in Sunday's hotly contested doubles match against No. 11 Texas A&M.

"Drew and I were saying, 'This is what it comes down to. This is where we shine,'" Jenkins said.

Jenkins and Courtney prevailed in the tiebreaker, and the singles teams followed suit with a masterful performance to secure a 6-1 triumph, completing Virginia's (4-0, 0-0 ACC) weekend sweep against top-15 competition.

"I'm excited about what I see," coach Brian Boland said. "To bring in three top-15 teams with the caliber of tennis that they can play, it was a very impressive weekend."In Friday's matchup, Virginia overwhelmed Texas (5-1, 0-0 Big 12) and won all but two sets of its 7-0 victory.

The win, however, cost the Cavaliers No.1 singles player freshman Mitchell Frank the remainder of the weekend. The young star suffered a back injury in his 6-2, 3-6 (10-3) singles victory against Texas sophomore Sudanwa Sitaram. Boland called the injury "minor," however, and expects Frank to play Wednesday against Maryland.

Despite Frank's absence, the squad maintained a brilliant level of play with a 6-1 tour de force against Florida (3-1, 0-0 SEC).

The 8-3 upset produced by Jenkins and Courtney against the nation's No. 4 tandem of senior Nassim Slilam and junior Billy Federhofer provided another testament to the Cavaliers' improved doubles play.

"Our doubles has been something I've been concerned about now for a long time, and over the last few weeks I'm more and more excited about what I see and what we can do with our doubles teams," Boland said.

Courtney believes the Cavaliers have benefitted from the chemistry they have developed with their doubles pairings.

"We're kind of getting away from the individual and sticking with certain teams and it's been working well for us," Courtney said.

Sunday's clash with the Aggies (4-1, 0-0 Big 12) featured an alternative scoring format, which allowed four doubles matchups instead of the customary three.

Junior Niall Angus and freshman Jeremy Efferding of Texas A&M halted a furious comeback from junior Julen Uriguen and senior Santiago Villegas to win 8-5 and level the score at 2-2 for the doubles matches, After the victories by Angus and Efferding, the teams from the top three courts returned to play super tiebreakers. In the end, a blistering service return from Jenkins and Courtney clinched the pivotal 12-10 tiebreak defeat of sophomore Junior Ore and redshirt freshman Jackson Withrow and thrilled an exuberant crowd at the Boyd Tinsley Courts.

"Boy was that a tiebreaker for the doubles point," Boland said. "In the regular system we would have already won the point but we had to win it twice in a sense, so that was good for us."

The compelling struggle for the doubles point seemed to simultaneously electrify the Cavaliers and deflate the Aggies in singles. No. 11 Jenkins and No. 57 sophomore Justin Shane swept their matches to complete their weekends without dropping a set in singles, while sophomore Alex Domijan, Courtney and senior Philippe Oudshoorn also defeated their opponents in straight sets to deliver Virginia's staggering 92nd straight home victory.

When the dust settled Sunday evening, the Cavaliers emerged completely unscathed despite squaring off with three teams which entered the season with national title aspirations.

The Cavaliers believe their success during the weekend will pay dividends when the team ventures away from Charlottesville for the ACC and NCAA tournaments later this year. Those competitions will challenge the Cavaliers to play at a consistently high level on successive days.

"Coach wanted to put the schedule together so we could get used to playing big tournaments and get that kind of practice," Jenkins said. "I thought the guys handled it well, and we took every match [one] at a time."

The squad travels to College Park, Maryland Wednesday to open its ACC schedule against the Terrapins.