URBANA, Ill. - The Virginia men's tennis team reached the NCAA quarterfinals for the ninth consecutive season with a 4-0 victory over California Thursday in a round of 16 match at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the Atkins Tennis Center. It marked the second consecutive year the Cavaliers (27-0) downed the Bears (16-10) in the round of 16.
Virginia will meet Tennessee in the quarterfinals on Saturday. The two teams have met three times over the past five years at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship, but have never before played in the NCAA Tournament.
"I thought we came out and played well for a first match," said head coach Brian Boland. "It is always tough to play a first match of a tournament. We felt like we prepared well for this event and that showed today."
The Cavaliers took the early lead by winning the doubles point. Alex Domijan (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) and Mitchell Frank (Annandale, Va.) gave Virginia the early edge with an 8-5 win at No. 2 over Ben McLachlan and Mads Engsted. Cal drew even at No. 3 where Gregory Bayane and Chase Melton defeated Justin Shane (Falls Church, Va.) and Julen Uriguen (Guatemala City, Guatemala) 8-6, snapping Shane and Uriguen's 17-match win streak. The opening point came down to the match at No. 1 where Jarmere Jenkins (College Park, Ga.) and Mac Styslinger (Birmingham, Ala.) downed Christoffer Konigsfeldt and Campbell Johnson 8-4 to give the Cavaliers the lead.
"Our No. 3 team has been rock solid all season," said Boland. "Today they had an off day, but our teams at No. 1 and No. 2 did a great job of stepping up. It is always nice to win that doubles point, especially when you start reaching this point of the season."
In singles, Virginia started strong by winning five of the six first sets to take control of the match. Uriguen was first off the courts as he completed a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Riki McLachlan at the No. 6 spot to double the lead. Domijan followed with his 6-2, 6-4 win at No. 2 over Konigsfeldt to increase the advantage to 3-0. It was Domijan's 100th career singles victory as he became the 11th player in school history to reach that mark. He joins Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh as the only Cavaliers to reach that milestone during their junior season.
The match was clinched by Styslinger at No. 4, where he topped Bayane 6-4, 6-1. He and Uriguen have posted singles victories in all three of Virginia's NCAA Tournament matches this year.
"I thought we were pretty sharp today," said Domijan. "Doubles was a little tough because they are really good at those positions. In singles, we were aggressive at every position, 1-6, and it showed. I think it was good to get a match on these courts under our belt and now we have to get ready for a tough quarterfinal match."
The Cavaliers' streak of nine consecutive NCAA quarterfinals is tied with Georgia for the longest active streak in the nation.
The Virginia-Tennessee quarterfinal will start at noon CT (1 p.m. ET) on Saturday on the campus of the University of Illinois.