The third-ranked UVA men’s tennis team advanced to the NCAA semifinals for the sixth consecutive year with a 4-0 victory over No. 6 Texas A&M in a quarterfinal match Saturday at the Hurd Tennis Center on the campus of Baylor University. The Cavaliers (27-3) needed under two and a half hours to dispatch of the Aggies (24-5) and set up a semifinal showdown with second-seeded and tournament host Baylor.
The Virginia-Baylor semifinal is scheduled for Monday at 1 p.m. CT (2 p.m. ET) at the Hurd Tennis Center. It will be the third meeting of the season between the Cavaliers and Bears. Baylor defeated Virginia 4-3 in February in the quarterfinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Chicago. In March, the Bears won a 5-2 match over the Cavaliers, played indoors in Waco.
“We are looking forward to the opportunity to play Baylor in the semifinals,” said head coach Brian Boland. “They are a great team, which we saw in the two matches earlier this season when they beat us. They are the No. 2 team in the nation, playing on their home courts in front of their fans, and should be the favorites. We embrace the underdog role and are excited for the opportunity to play this match on Monday.”
The Cavaliers opened the quarterfinal match with the Aggies by taking the doubles point for the 20th time in the past 21 matches. Collin Altamirano (Sacramento, Calif.) teamed with J.C. Aragone (Yorba Linda, Calif.) to post an 8-5 win at No. 3 over Arthur Rinderknech and AJ Catanzariti. Virginia clinched the opening point with a win at No. 2 where Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (Charlotte, N.C.) and Mac Styslinger (Birmingham, Ala.) defeated Jeremy Efferding and Jordan Szabo 8-4.
“I am really pleased with how the team played today,” said head coach Brian Boland. “We came out with a lot of energy in doubles and that really got us off to a good start. Congrats to A&M on a great season. Winning the SEC is an incredible accomplishment and that was a really good team we played today, We are thrilled to move on and have a chance to play another match.”
Virginia carried its momentum into singles, winning five of the six first sets. The score quickly jumped to 3-0 as a pair of Cavaliers posted convincing singles wins. Alexander Ritschard (Zurich, Switzerland) was first off the courts as he posted a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 5 over Catanzariti. Kwiatkowski followed with a 6-1, 6-2 victory at No. 4 over Harrison Adams.
Aragone clinched the Cavaliers’ place in the semifinals as he topped Jordi Arconada at No. 6, 6-4, 6-3.
“The guys played well in doubles and then continued that high level in singles,” said Boland. “We have faced a lot of adversity this year, and today there probably wasn’t as much. The guys kept the momentum going throughout the match. There were a few times against Columbia where the momentum started to turn a little bit, but I was really proud of our focus and discipline today and how we were able to stay in control throughout.”
Virginia’s six-year streak of reaching the semifinals is the longest streak in the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship since UCLA’s six-year run from 1992-97. The Cavaliers have reached the semifinals in eight of the past nine years.
“The consistency of our program is one of the things I am most proud of,” said Boland. “It is a testament to the players and the pride they have every time they wear the orange and blue. We are looking forward to the opportunity to play in another final four and see what we can do.”
#3 VIRGINIA 4, #6 TEXAS A&M 0
1. #2 Corinteli/Shane (UVa) vs. #10 Adams/Vinsant (TAMU) 4-7 DNF
2. #42 Styslinger/Kwiatkowski (UVa) def. #56 Efferding/Szabo (TAMU) 8-4
3. Altamirano/Aragone (UVa) def. Rinderknech/Catanzariti (TAMU) 8-5
Order of Finish: 3,2
1. #8 Ryan Shane (UVa) vs. #47 Jeremy Efferding (TAMU) 6-2, 2-3 DNF
2. #20 Mitchell Frank (UVa) vs. #80 Shane Vinsant (TAMU) 6-3, 2-1 DNF
3. #77 Collin Altamirano (UVa) vs. #84 Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) 1-6, 6-1, 0-1 DNF
4. #19 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (UVa) def. #78 Harrison Adams (TAMU) 6-1, 6-2
5. Alexander Ritschard (UVa) def. #92 AJ Catanzariti (TAMU) 6-2, 6-1
6. J.C. Aragone (UVa) def. Jordi Arconada (TAMU) 6-4, 6-3
Order of Finish: 5,4,6