The fourth-ranked Virginia men’s tennis team advanced to the semifinals of the 2014 NCAA Tournament with a 4-0 victory over No. 5 Baylor Sunday afternoon at the Ken Byers Tennis Center on the campus of Georgia Tech, after rain moved the match indoors. The Cavaliers (27-2) advance to the NCAA Semifinals for the fifth consecutive year, while the Bears end the season with a 26-6 record.
Virginia will meet top-seeded usc in the semifinals Monday. That match will start at 5 p.m. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens at the University of Georgia.
“I was pleased with the performance today, ” said head coach Brian Boland. “It can sometimes be difficult to drive over an hour to play indoors, but the guys handled it well. They were into the match from the start and focused at the task at end.”
Virginia opened the match by winning the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead. The Cavaliers grabbed an edge in doubles as Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (Charlotte, N.C.) and Mac Styslinger (Brimingham, Ala.) rallied from down two early breaks, 3-0, to post an 8-5 win at No. 2 over Diego Galeano and Tony Lupieri. Baylor drew even with a win at No. 3, where Julian Lenz and Michel Dornbusch topped Mitchell Frank (Annandale, Va.) and Ryan Shane (Falls Church, Va.) 8-6. The opening point came down to the match at No. 1, where neither side could take advantage of break point opportunities, as it went to a tiebreaker. In the breaker, Alex Domijan (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) and Justin Shane (Falls Church, Va.) came back from a 5-3 deficit to win the final four points of the match for an 8-7(5) victory over Patrick Pradella and Mate Zsiga.
“We made some changes today in doubles,” said Boland. “We had some guys who have played together some this year, so we mixed some things up. Alex and Justin came through at No. 1 to clinch it. That was some high-level doubles, on all three courts. It was great atmosphere during the doubles and I hope the guys enjoyed it, I know I did.”
Virginia carried the momentum from winning the doubles into singles, taking five of the six first sets to seize control of the match. The Shane brothers extended the lead 3-0 as Justin downed Zsiga 6-1, 6-3 at No. 5 and Ryan topped Galeano 6-1, 6-3 at No. 3. Domijan sealed the win with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Lenz at No. 1, edging out J.C. Aragone (Yorba Linda, Calif.) to record the clinching point. Aragone was serving 6-4, 6-5 (ad-in) when his match at No. 6 against Lupieri was abandoned.
“We got off to a great start in singles, but Baylor kept fighting,” said Boland. “They made it hard for us all the way to the end. That is what you expect in a NCAA quarterfinal match.”
The Cavaliers and Trojans will meet in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in the last eight years. After Virginia won in the 2007 quarterfinals in Athens, usc defeated the Cavaliers four straight years from 2009-12, including in the 2011 and 2012 finals. The teams haven’t met since the 2013 ITA National Team Indoor Championship final in Seattle, a 4-2 Cavalier victory.
“We are really looking forward to playing Southern Cal,” said Boland. “We played them last time indoors and were able to get the win. It is always a great match when we play them and I know tomorrow will be no different.”
#4 VIRGINIA 4, #5 BAYLOR 0
1. #38 Domijan/J.Shane (UVa) def. #21 Pradella/Zsiga (BU) 8-7(5)
2. Kwiatkowski/Styslinger (UVa) def. Galeano/Lupieri (BU) 8-5
3. Lenz/Dornbusch (BU) def. Frank/R.Shane (UVa) 8-6
Order of Finish: 2,3,1
1. #6 Alex Domijan (UVa) def. #3 Julian Lenz (BU) 6-4, 6-3
2. #14 Patrick Pradella (BU) led #4 Mitchell Frank (UVa) 7-6(4), 2-2 DNF
3. #46 Ryan Shane (UVa) def. #31 Diego Galeano (BU) 6-3, 6-4
4. #113 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (UVa) led Michel Dornbusch (BU) 7-5, 4-4 DNF
5. Justin Shane (UVa) def. Mate Zsiga (BU) 6-1, 6-3
6. J.C. Aragone (UVa) led Tony Lupieri (BU) 6-4, 6-5 DNF
Order of Finish: 5,3,1