UVa. men’s tennis downs Notre Dame, in Elite 8
The fourth-ranked Virginia men’s tennis team advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the 10th consecutive year with a 4-1 victory over No. 13 Notre Dame Friday at the Henry Field Stadium at the Dan Magill Tennis Center. It marked the fourth victory this season for the Cavaliers (26-2) over the Fighting Irish (21-10).
“I was pleased with how our team came out and played today, ” said head coach Brian Boland. “I thought it had carried over from last weekend when we started to play our best tennis of the year. I give a lot of credit to Notre Dame. That was the fourth time we had to play them this year. It is tough to play anyone four times, particularly a team as competitive and talented as Notre Dame. We have a lot of respect for them and they gave us a great test.”
Virginia opened the match by winning the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead in the dual match. The Fighting Irish pair of Greg Andrews and Alex Lawson posted an 8-6 win at No. 1 over Alex Domijan (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) and Harrison Richmond (Pawleys Island, S.C.) to give Notre Dame the edge. The Cavaliers answered a minute later as Mitchell Frank (Annandale, Va.) and Justin Shane (Falls Church, Va.) rallied from a 5-2 deficit to down Matt Dooley and Quentin Monaghan 8-6 at the No. 3 position. With the opening point on the line, Mac Styslinger (Birmingham, Ala.) and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (Charlotte, N.C.) teamed for the first time at No. 2 and defeated Josh Hagar and Billy Pecor 8-6 to give Virginia the opening point.
“We have emphasized doubles a lot over the past week,” said Boland. “We have only dropped a couple doubles points all season and it something that traditionally has been a strength. It kind of got away from us last week, but we put some time into it and I liked what I saw out there today.”
Virginia took control of the match by winning five of the six first sets. The score quickly became 3-0 as the Cavaliers posted convincing wins at the bottom of the lineup. Justin Shane was first off the courts, downing Eric Schnurrenberger 6-2, 6-2 at No. 6 singles. Kwiatkowski followed with a 6-2, 6-2 win of his own, topping Eddy Covalschi at No. 5 singles.
The Fighting Irish recorded their point at No. 4 singles where Josh Hagar defeated Styslinger 6-2, 7-5. Minutes later Frank clinched the Cavalier victory as he downed Ryan Bandy 6-3, 6-2 at the No. 2 position.
“During singles, Notre Dame never gave in,” said Boland. “They made us go out there and earn every point. I think that playing a team like that in your first match of a tournament will only help you as move along.”
The win extended Virginia’s ACC record conference match (regular season and postseason) win streak to 122 matches. It also marked the first time in school history that the Cavaliers had defeated an opponent four times in a season.
The Cavaliers’ 10-year streak of NCAA Quarterfinal appearances is the longest active streak in the nation (and can be tied by Georgia later tonight). Virginia has advanced to the semifinals in six of the past seven years.
Virginia and Baylor met earlier this year on March 1, a 6-1 Cavalier victory indoors at the Boyd Tinsley Courts at the Boar’s Head Sports Club. Virginia has won the last six meetings in the series, including the only NCAA Tournament meeting (a 4-2 Cavalier victory in the 2008 quarterfinals in Tulsa, Okla.).
#4 VIRGINIA 4, #13 NOTRE DAME 1
1. #18 Andrews/Lawson (ND) def. #61 Domijan/Richmond (UVa) 8-6
2. Styslinger/Kwiatkowski (UVa) def. Hagar/Pecor (ND) 8-6
3. Frank/J.Shane (UVa) def. Dooley/Monaghan (ND) 8-6
Order of Finish: 1,3,2
1. #6 Alex Domijan (UVa) led #24 Greg Andrews (ND) 7-6(8), 4-1 DNF
2. #4 Mitchell Frank (UVa) def. Ryan Bandy (ND) 6-3, 6-2
3. #46 Ryan Shane (UVa) led Quentin Monaghan (ND) 7-5, 3-4 DNF
4. Josh Hagar def. #81 Mac Styslinger (UVa) 6-2, 7-5
5. #113 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (UVa) def. Eddy Covalschi (ND) 6-2, 6-2
6. Justin Shane (UVa) def. Eric Schnurrenberger (ND) 6-2, 6-2
Order of Finish: 6,5,4,2