#ACCMTEN in NCAA Semifinals: Virginia Reaches NCAA Final with 4-2 Win at No. 2 Baylor

Cavaliers to meet Oklahoma Tuesday for the NCAA Championship

WACO, Texas (VirginiaSports.com) – The third-ranked Virginia men’s tennis team reached the NCAA final for the fourth time in the past five years with a 4-2 semifinal victory over second-ranked Baylor, the tournament’s host, Monday at the Hurd Tennis Center. The Cavaliers (28-3) rallied from dropping the doubles point to win four singles matches and down the Bears (25-6) in an epic four-hour match. 

The Cavaliers will play top-seeded Oklahoma in Tuesday’s final. The Sooners edged No. 5 TCU in the other semifinal, 4-3.

 “That was really exciting and it was great to be a part of a college tennis match like that,” said head coach Brian Boland. “There was a lot of excitement and drama out there today. Congratulations to Baylor on a great season. I am sure it is tough for them, hosting the event, to go down, but they left it all on the court. I am so proud of my team and we are excited to be able to play one more match as a group."

 Baylor opened the match by capturing the doubles point for a 1-0 lead. Julian Lenz and Diego Galeano gave the Bears an early edge with an 8-4 win at No. 1 over Ryan Shane (Falls Church, Va.) and Luca Corinteli (Alexandria, Va.). The Cavaliers answered with a win at No. 2, where Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (Charlotte, N.C.) and Mac Styslinger (Birmingham, Ala.) downed Tony Lupieri and Mate Zsiga 8-6. 

The doubles point came down to the match at No. 3, where the Baylor duo of Vince Schneider and Felipe Rios forced a tiebreaker with a service break as the Cavalier pair of Collin Altamirano (Sacramento, Calif.) and J.C Aragone (Yorba Linda, Calif.) served for the match at 7-6. In the breaker, the first 11 points were won against serve before Baylor held on the final point to close out the 8-7(5) victory and give the Bears the lead in the match.

The teams split the six first sets in singles, but Virginia won the only two matches to finish in straight sets to take a 2-1 lead. Shane drew the Cavaliers even as he posted a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 1 singles over Lenz. Aragone gave Virginia the lead, 2-1, with his 6-3, 7-5 victory at No. 6 singles over Rios. 

The final four singles matches went to a decisive third set. Baylor drew even in the match at 2-2 as Galeano defeated Kwiatkowski 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 at No. 4 singles.

Virginia clinched its place in the final as two matches finished within a second of each other. Mitchell Frank (Annandale, Va.) closed out a 6-0, 2-6, 7-5 win over Lupieri at No. 2 singles. Just as Frank’s match point was won, the final shot of the match at No. 3 singles went into the net by Baylor’s Max Tchoutkian, giving Altamirano a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win and the Cavaliers the team victory.

“There were a lot of momentum changes throughout the match,” said Boland. “Them getting that tight doubles point was huge. Our guys just kept battling and that is something they have done well all season. This wasn’t the first time we faced some adversity this year. This team has a lot of toughness and they showed it today.”

Tuesday’s final, which begins at 1 p.m. CT (2 p.m. ET) at the Hurd Tennis Center and will be broadcast on NCAA.com, is the first-ever postseason meeting between the Cavaliers and Sooners. The teams met earlier this season on March 10 in Norman, a 4-3 Oklahoma victory.

“We are looking forward to having the chance to play Oklahoma,” said Boland. “There is a lot of mutual respect between our programs. Both teams had tough matches today and will have to get ready for another exciting match tomorrow.”