Virginia clinched the doubles point and picked up quick victories at No. 3 and No. 4 singles by junior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (Charlotte, N.C.) and sophomore Alexander Ritschard (Zurich, Switzerland) to take a 3-0 lead over Penn State. The singles matches on courts one, two, five and six were all tied 6-6 in the second set with all four courts heading into tiebreaker at the same time. Penn State’s Leo Stakhovsky won his tiebreaker over senior Ryan Shane (Falls Church, Va.) on court one to close out a 7-5, 7-6 victory and give the Nittany Lions a point. On court five, junior J.C. Aragone (Alexandria, Va.) won his tiebreaker 8-6 to down Aws Laaribi 6-4, 7-6 and clinch the match for the Cavaliers.
The victory earns defending-national champion Virginia a trip to Tulsa, Okla., where the final 16 teams will compete for the national championship May 20-24 at the Case Tennis Center. This is the 13th-consecutive season the Cavaliers have advanced to the round of 16.
“I am happy for the guys to advance as I think this is certainly an exciting team,” said Virginia head coach Brian Boland. “When we go to Tulsa, we are going to need to play a little better than we did today and make sure we finish matches. We made it a little bit harder for ourselves today than I thought we needed to, but at the same time, I like how we played the first half of the match. For whatever reason, we struggled to finish and were out there a little bit longer. Credit to Penn State for the great job they did, the great season they had and how hard they fought. They kept battling and made it hard for us. We are going to have to continue to get better over the next five days and play at a more-intense, focused level, but I know we will be ready come Friday.”
Shane and junior Luca Corinteli (Alexandria, Va.) got things started for the Cavaliers with a 6-3 victory at No. 1 doubles. Aragone and sophomore Collin Altamirano (Sacramento, Calif.) closed out the point with a 6-3 victory at No. 3.
In singles, the Cavaliers won five of six first sets. Kwaitkowski cruised to a quick 6-1, 6-0 victory over Matt Barry on court three. Ritschard improved to 10-0 in singles this season with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Tomas Hanzlik at No. 4 to give UVA the 3-0 lead.
Altamirano battled to a 6-4 victory in his first set at No. 2 over Christian De La Bassetiere and had five match-points in the second set, but De La Bassetiere fought of all of them, forcing the second-set tiebreaker which was abandoned before completion. Both sophomore Henrik Weirsholm (Kirkand, Wash.) and Aragone trailed by a break in their second sets, but both battled back to get on serve and then each also went up a break with a chance to serve for the match, but Laaribi and Collado each picked up breaks to put the matches back on serve with both going to 6-6. Aragone and Laaribi traded points back and forth and were tied 6-6 before Aragone won back-to-back points to take the set and match. Wiersholm and Collado were tied 5-5 in their tiebreaker when their contest was abandoned.
Virginia will take on No.16 Oklahoma State (20-7) on Friday, May 20 at 1 p.m. in the round of 16. UVA has advanced to the quarterfinals 11-straight times, has reached the semifinals in eight of the last nine seasons and has won two titles in the last four years (2013 and 2015).
#1 UVA 4, #37 Penn State 1
- Leo Stakhovsky (PSU) def. #8 Ryan Shane (VA) 7-5, 7-6
- #33 Collin Altamirano (VA) vs. C. De La Bassetiere (PSU) 6-4, 6-6, unfinished
- #9 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VA) def. Matt Barry (PSU) 6-1, 6-0
- #78 Alexander Ritschard (VA) def. Tomas Hanzlik (PSU) 6-1, 6-3
- #110 J.C. Aragone (VA) def. Aws Laaribi (PSU) 6-4, 7-6
- Henrik Wiersholm (VA) vs. Marc Collado (PSU) 6-4, 6-6, unfinished
- #4 Ryan Shane/Luca Corinteli (VA) def. David Kohan/C. Lutschaunig (PSU) 6-3
- #16 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Mac Styslinger (VA) vs. Matt Barry/Leo Stakhovsky (PSU) 4-5, unfinished
- J.C. Aragone/Collin Altamirano (VA) def. Matt Galush/Aws Laaribi (PSU) 6-3
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (3,4,1,5)