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April 25, 2010
CARY, N.C. - Virginia maintained its stronghold on the Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Tennis Championship with a 4-2 win over second-seeded Duke in Sunday's title match at Cary Tennis Park.
The ACC title was the fourth straight and the sixth in seven years for the Cavaliers (35-1), who have now won 61 consecutive matches against conference opposition. As the nation's top-ranked team, Virginia has designs on a No. 1 national seeding when NCAA Tournament pairings are announced May 4.
"This always a great accomplishment," Virginia coach Brian Boland said. "We have such a great respect for all the ACC teams and all the programs across the league. The depth of the conference now is stronger than ever, so to win the championship is just as meaningful as the first one we won back in 2004. I am really proud of the guys. They worked hard all year. They had their sights set on several goals, and this was certainly one of them. Now we are now looking forward to the NCAA Tournament in front of us."
After capturing the doubles point, the Cavaliers put the match away with singles wins from Jamere Jenkins at No. 3, Drew Courtney at No. 4, and Houston Barrick at No. 5.
But the Blue Devils (18-8) pushed Virginia hard. Courtney's win over Torsten Wietoska required a three-set tie-breaker, and Barrick's win over Jared Pinksy also went three sets. ACC Player and Freshman of the Year Henrique Cunha scored a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over fellow top-10 ranked opponent Michael Shabaz at No. 1, and Luke Machese won a three-set battle with the Cavaliers' Lee Singer at No. 6.
"We had so many matches out there that could have gone either way," said Barrick, who was named the Championship MVP after his 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-1 win over Pinsky clinched the match for the Cavaliers. "Duke is such a talented team, and they fought us all the way. I am sure we are going to see them down the road."
Boland praised the efforts of Barrick, a senior co-captain who has never been played in a losing match against ACC opposition and has been part of 129 team wins during his career.
"You don't see many players with the mental perseverance and mental toughness that Houston Barrck has," Boland said. "He lost the first set today, and it didn't even faze him. He's very special. In my 14 years as a head coach, I can count on one hand the players I've had who were competitors at his level.
"I've had the good fortune to coach him for four years, and I will take him for a few more weeks as we head into the NCAA Tournament."