ACC Men’s Tennis: Virginia Faces Wake For Title

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Cavaliers rally from 3-0 deficit vs. UNC; Deacons top Virginia Tech

CARY, N.C. (theACC.com) – Just when it appeared North Carolina might truly have Virginia’s number, the nine-time defending champion Cavaliers refused to loosen their grip on the Atlantic Coast Conference men’s tennis title.

Coach Brian Boland’s top-seeded squad stormed back from a 3-0 deficit with four straight singles wins to post a 4-3 victory over the fourth-seeded Tar Heels in Saturday’s ACC Men’s Tennis Championship semifinal match at Cary Tennis Park.

The remarkable comeback sent the top-ranked and defending NCAA champion Cavaliers (24-3) into Sunday’s 2 p.m. championship match against second-seeded and nationally seventh-ranked Wake Forest (28-5).

The Demon Deacons topped sixth-seeded Virginia Tech 4-2 in Saturday’s other semifinal action to reach the tournament finals for the second consecutive year and the third time in four seasons.

Both of Saturday’s semifinal matches were delayed for two hours and 43 minutes due to thunderstorms and lightning in the Triangle area. But the storms cleared out by early evening, allowing the contests to be completed on the outdoor courts.

Virginia claimed a 5-2 win over Wake Forest when the teams met at Charlottesville on April 15. The loss is the only one the Demon Deacons have suffered since March 6. The Cavaliers will carry an eight-game winning streak into Sunday’s title match.

Sunday’s championship match will be streamed live by ESPN3. Former United States Davis Cup team captain Patrick McEnroe will serve as the lead announcer. McEnroe, who captained the U.S. Davis Cup championship team in 2007, will be joined by Paul Torricelli on second chair. Torricelli spent over two decades as head coach at Northwestern, where his teams twice went unbeaten in Big Ten play. Brian Clark will also be on hand as the sideline reporter.

A capsule look at Saturday’s semifinal action:

No. 1 Virginia 4, North Carolina 3
The nationally third-ranked Tar Heels (25-4) seemed on the verge of posting their third win over the Cavaliers this season. After UNC captured the doubles point, Brayden Schnur took a 6-0, 6-4 win over defending NCAA champion Ryan Shane at the No. 1 singles slot, and Ronnie Schneider scored a 6-4, 6-1 win over Collin Atlamirano at No. 2.

But the Cavaliers chipped away from there. Luca Corinteli won in straight sets on Court 6, and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski delivered a three-set win at No. 3 to cut the deficit to 3-2.

The momentum swung on No. 4 singles, where Virginia’s J.C. Aragone outlasted Robert Kelly in a three-set, 7-5 tiebreaker to knot the score at 3-all. Henrik Wiersholm’s three-set win over Jack Murray at No. 5 completed the comeback.

No. 2 Wake Forest 4, No. 6 Virginia Tech 3
The Hokies (16-8), playing their third match in as many days, pushed a higher-seeded opponent to the limit for a second straight match. But the Demon Deacons met the challenge, with Dennis Uspenksy’s 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win over Aaron Gomez on court No. 6 providing the clincher.

In addition to the doubles point, Wake also got straight-set victories from Petros Chrysochos at No.
2 and Romain Bogaerts at No. 4.

Joao Monteiro turned back Wake’s Skander Mansouri in three sets at No. 1, and Mitch Harper posted a straight-set victory at No. 5 to account for Virginia Tech’s scoring.