The No. 1 Virginia men’s tennis team advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 for the sixth consecutive season with a 4-0 win over North Carolina in a second round match Saturday afternoon at the Snyder Tennis Center. The Cavaliers (31-0) will meet another ACC rival, Florida State, in the round of 16 on Thursday in College Station, Texas.
“Anytime you play a team three times in a season that is as good as North Carolina, it is never easy and I am proud of the way that we played,” said Virginia head coach Brian Boland. “We have a lot of respect for UNC. They always have good teams and this year was no different. But we just keep getting better with each match.”
The Cavaliers took the 1-0 lead by winning a close doubles point. The Tar Heels (17-11) gained an early advantage as No. 17 Taylor Fogleman and Clay Donato topped No. 12 Dominic Inglot (London, England) and Michael Shabaz (Fairfax, Va.) 8-3 at the top position. Virginia drew even as Lee Singer (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) and Drew Courtney (Clifton, Va.) defeated Brennan Boyajian and Zach Hunter 8-5 at No. 3 doubles. No. 13 Sanam Singh (Chandigarh, India) and Houston Barrick (Brentwood, Tenn.) clinched the opening point with their 8-5 win over Andrew Crone and Alex Raifee at No. 2 doubles. The win was Singh and Barrick’s 39th win of the season, setting a new school record for doubles win in a year by a team, breaking the mark of 38 set by Somdev Devvarman and Treat Huey last season.
“To give North Carolina a lot of credit, I thought that they came out with a lot of energy and fire in doubles,” said Boland. “We responded at No. 2 and No. 3 and that was an important point for us in terms of momentum.”
In singles, Virginia used the momentum from doubles and won all six first sets. The score quickly was extended to 2-0 as Shabaz cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 win over Boyajian at No. 3 singles. Courtney added a 6-2, 6-1 win over Hunter at the No. 5 position to make the score 3-0. Singh then sealed the win with his 7-5, 6-4 win over Fogleman at No. 2 singles.
“I was particularly pleased with how we came out in singles and won all six first sets,” said Boland. “We had a few close ones with Dom and Sanam and Lee, and they found a way to win those tight sets. That is impressive and is something that we focused on in between doubles and singles. We talked about coming out and playing strong from the first point. We did that against Wake Forest in the ACC final and we did another good job of that today. Hopefully that carries through to next week in College Station.”
The win extended the Cavaliers’ school record winning streaks to 48 consecutive home wins and 46 consecutive wins against ACC opponents (regular season and tournaments). The victory was also the 200th win for Boland at Virginia, as he improves to 200-41 as the head coach of the Cavaliers.
After defeating the Tar Heels for the third time this season, the Cavaliers will now meet another opponent for the third time this season in Florida State. Virginia won 4-3 in the regular season meeting in Tallahassee and topped the Seminoles 4-0 in the ACC Tournament semifinals.
“We have been one of the top eight seeds in this tournament for the past six years and we have a lot of experience and know what to expect,” said Boland. “At this point, it isn’t as much who you play as how you are playing and how prepared you are. We need to focus on the thing we need to do between now and Thursday and then leave everything on the court.”
The Virginia-Florida State round of 16 match is slated for noon CT (1 p.m. ET) on Thursday at the Mitchell Tennis Center on the campus of Texas A&M. No. 1 Virginia 4, No. 37 North Carolina 0
1. #17 Fogleman/Donato (UNC) def. #12 Inglot/Shabaz (UVa) 8-3
2. #13 Barrick/Singh (UVa) def. Crone/Raifee (UNC) 8-5
3. Singer/Courtney (UVa) def. Boyajian/Hunter (UNC) 8-5
1. #14 Dominic Inglot (UVa) led #32 Clay Donato (UNC) 7-5, 4-4 DNF
2. #26 Sanam Singh (UVa) def. #63 Taylor Fogleman (UNC) 7-5, 6-4
3. #27 Michael Shabaz (UVa) def. Brennan Boyajian (UNC) 6-2, 6-1
4. #70 Houston Barrick (UVa) led Andrew Crone (UNC) 6-3, 4-3 DNF
5. Drew Courtney (UVa) def. Zach Hunter (UNC) 6-2, 6-1
6. #90 Lee Singer (UVa) led Cameron Ahari (UNC) 7-6(3), 3-1 DNF
Order of Finish