Feb. 20, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The top-ranked Virginia men's tennis team (9-0) won the title at the 2017 Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Men's Team Indoor Championship by downing No. 3 Ohio State 4-1 on Monday (Feb. 20) at the Boyd Tinsley Courts at the Boar's Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va.
Senior J.C. Aragone (Yorba Linda, Calif.) clinched the match for the Cavaliers with a victory on No. 4 singles. Aragone dropped his first set 6-4 to No. 47 Herkko Pollanen, but won the second, 6-3, to force a third set which was knotted 6-6, forcing a tiebreaker. Aragone won the tiebreaker 7-4 to finish the match.
"It is enjoyable to see a bunch of young men who work really hard come together as a team to celebrate a great victory," said Virginia head coach Brian Boland. "We have had a lot of success in the National Team Indoor Championship over the years, but it has been a little bit of a dry spell since 2013. We had a tough loss last year in the final against North Carolina where they ended our 140-match winning streak against ACC teams, so it was nice to be back in the final and come through today against a really good Ohio State team. We have a lot of respect for the teams here. This was not an easy tournament to get through. I don't think the scores were a reflection of how many challenges we had."
This is the sixth ITA National Team Indoor Championship for the Cavaliers and their first since 2013. UVA has won three of the last four national championships in the sport, winning the NCAA team titles in 2015 and 2016 and now adding the 2017 indoor championship after being the runner-up in 2016.
For the fourth-straight day, the Cavaliers started the match by capturing the doubles point. Senior Luca Corinteli (Alexandria, Va.) and freshman Carl Soderlund (Stockholm, Sweden) cruised to a 6-0 victory over No. 38 Mikael Torpegaard and Pollanen at No. 1. Aragone and junior Collin Altamirano (Sacramento, Calif.) clinched the point with a 7-5 victory at No. 3.
In singles, the Cavaliers and Buckeyes each won three first sets to start singles. Freshman Henrik Wiersholm (Kirkland, Wash.), playing at No. 6, was the final first set to finish, winning it in a 7-2 tiebreaker, but Wiersholm raced through his second set, picking up a 6-2 victory to put the Cavaliers up 2-0. Junior Collin Altamirano (Sacramento, Calif.) battled Torpegaard at No. 1 singles, but Torpegaard, the No. 2 player in the ITA singles rankings, gave Ohio State its first point by winning a tiebreaker in the second set to make put the match score at 2-1. Junior Alexander Ritschard (Zurich, Switzerland) and freshman Carl Soderlund (Stockholm, Sweden), who had both won their first sets, dropped their second sets. Soderlund trailed 5-0 in his second set but battled all the way back to send it to a tiebreaker, which he ultimately lost 7-3. On the flip side, senior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (Charlotte, N.C.) dropped his first set against No. 8 Hugo di Feo, but won a tiebreaker 7-4 to decide the second set and force a third. Kwiatkowski won the third set 6-2 to give UVA a 3-1 lead over Ohio State.
With Söderlund trailing 5-3 and Ritschard down 6-5 in their third sets, Aragone closed out his tiebreaker to win the match for the Cavaliers.
"I am a huge fan of indoor tennis, so for me this has always been a goal," Aragone said. "You don't think about the previous years when you come in here. You can't put that much pressure on yourself. We played our cards today and luckily that ball [his last shot] went in. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow that wouldn't have gone in. As I clinched it, I did think `thank God, this is over' a little bit. I was so tired, I did not want to keep playing. I was just trying to get out of there and save my team, because you never know. [Ritschard] was in a tight match situation. So I was just trying to focus, look ahead and get the point."
Virginia downed Utah State, No. 7 UCLA and No. 5 North Carolina all by 4-0 scores in the first three rounds to reach the final. Ohio State edged No. 2 Wake Forest, 4-3, in the tightest match of the tournament on Sunday to advance to the finals.
The Cavaliers will be playing as individuals in professional tournaments for the next several weeks before returning to dual matches on Saturday, March 18 when they play at Notre Dame. Virginia's next home match will be Sunday, March 26 when they host Duke at 1 p.m on the outdoor courts at the Snyder Tennis Center.
#1 Virginia 4, #3 Ohio State 1
1. #2 Mikael Torpegaard (OSU) def. Collin Altamirano (VA) 6-3, 7-6 (7-3)
2. #28 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VA) def. #8 Hugo Di Feo (OSU) 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2
3. Carl Soderlund (VA) vs. JJ Wolf (OSU) 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 3-5, unfinished
4. #64 J.C. Aragone (VA) def. #47 Herkko Pollanen (OSU) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
5. Alexander Ritschard (VA) vs. #77 Martin Joyce (OSU) 6-3, 5-7, 5-6, unfinished
6. Henrik Wiersholm (VA) def. Kyle Seelig (OSU) 7-6 (7-2), 6-2
1. #55 Luca Corinteli/Carl Soderlund (VA) def. #38 Mikael Torpegaard/Herkko Pollanen (OSU) 6-0
2. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Alexander Ritschard (VA) vs. #25 Martin Joyce/Hugo Di Feo (OSU) 5-6, unfinished
3. Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (VA) def. Matt Mendez/Hunter Tubert (OSU) 7-5
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (6,1,2,4)
T-2:56 A: 571
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Director of News Content
A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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