DURHAM, N.C. -
The Virginia men's tennis team won its seventh consecutive ACC Championship, its ninth title in the past 10 years, with a 4-1 victory over Wake Forest Sunday in the ACC Tournament final at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center on the campus of Duke University. The Cavaliers (24-0) rallied from dropping the doubles point to down the Demon Deacons (20-8) with four straight set wins in singles.
"It was a great match and it feels good to win another ACC Championship," said head coach Brian Boland. "I was happy with how we performed today. It wasn't easy. Congratulations to Wake, they played a great match. I am really proud of (WF head coach) Tony Bresky, who worked for me for 10 years. He has Wake in the ACC final and the top 20 nationally in his second year there. It is a real tribute to him and his hard work that they have already reached this level."
Wake Forest took an early advantage in the match by winning a doubles point filled with rain interruptions and a change of venue. As the match began outdoors at the Cary Tennis Center, doubles play started and stopped several times through the spans of intermittent rain. During that time, the Cavaliers took an early edge by winning at the No. 3 spot, where Julen Uriguen (Guatemala City, Guatemala) and Justin Shane topped Jon Ho and Anthony Delcore 8-0. The Demon Deacons drew even with Danny Kreyman and Adam Lee downing Alex Domijan (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) and Mitchell Frank (Annandale, Va.) 8-4 at No. 2 doubles. The decisive match at No. 1 was tied at 4-4 when the rain became too heavy to overcome and the match was moved indoors to Duke.
In the match at No. 1 doubles, Wake's David Hopkins and Amogh Prabhakar used a late break to edge Jarmere Jenkins (College Park, Ga.) and Mac Styslinger (Birmingham, Ala.) 8-6 to give the Deacons the opening point. It snapped Virginia's 18-match doubles point streak and was just the second time this season that the Cavaliers lost the opening point.
"I didn't enjoy losing the doubles point, but I thought it was great for us," said Boland. "As we play in postseason, that is going to happen at times. You have learn how to respond to it and I thought the guys didn't let it faze them in singles. To Wake's credit, they did a great job of using the momentum of doubles into the start of singles. We stepped up and met their competitiveness. This match was great for us in terms of preparing for the NCAA Tournament."
The Cavaliers rallied in singles, winning five of the six first sets to grab momentum in the match. Frank evened the score at 1-1 as he completed a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Prabhakar at the No. 3 position. Uriguen, who was named ACC Tournament MVP by going 2-0 in singles and 3-0 in doubles during the week, gave Virginia the lead with his 6-1, 6-4 win over Delcore at No. 6.
"It is an honor to be MVP of this tournament," said Uriguen. "I have been playing well all week. I have put in a lot of hard work over my four years, so to end my ACC career this way, with our team winning another championship, is really special."
Seconds after Uriguen clinched, Domijan extended the advantage to 3-1 as he topped Kreyman 6-4, 6-4 at No. 2 singles. The final point was secured by the senior, Jenkins, at No. 1, who defeated Hopkins 6-3, 6-2 to seal the championship.
The victory was Virginia's 106th consecutive win over ACC opposition (regular season and tournaments) and its 21st straight win in the ACC Tournament.
"Every championship we have won is just as special as the first," said Boland. "Each year, we have had a chance to experience this with a different group of guys. Each group has its own personality, but the consistent thing is the joy they feel winning this title. This conference is so strong and has just a great history, that every player knows what an honor it is to be an ACC Champion."
The Cavaliers earn the ACC automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The field of 64 will be unveiled on Tuesday and first and second round action will occur at 16 campus sites on May 10-11.