Defending NCAA national champion Virginia went into the weekend knowing their goals didn't lie in Charlottesville this weekend. Their goal is in Athens, GA next weekend. But as always, you've gotta win to get there.
And win they did.
After easily handling Army 4-0 on Saturday in a match that was moved to the Boar's Head Sports Club because of inclement weather, the Cavaliers hosted the Nittany Lions of Penn State on the sun-soaked courts of the Snyder Tennis Center.
Virginia found itself in an unfamiliar position following the doubles point - trailing 0-1. Penn State's #1 and #2 doubles teams took down Virginia 8-5 each, giving the Nittany Lions an early edge over the fourth-seeded team in the tournament.
Thankfully, it wouldn't last.
Seniors Justin Shane and Alex Domijian got the scoring going for the Cavaliers, dropping their opponents in straight sets at #5 and #1 singles by scores of 1 & 0 and 1 & 2, respectively. Junior Mitchell Frank followed that with a straight set win at #2 singles with a score of 0 & 2 to put Virginia one win away from advancing to the sweet sixteen.
At that point, the race was on to see whether sophomore Ryan Shane or freshman J.C. Aragone would seal the victory at #3 or #6 singles, respectively. In the end, it was Ryan Shane, following his older brother's lead, who clinched the victory in straight sets 4 & 2. Aragone got a DNF, leading 6-2, 5-3.
The Cavaliers move on to face a familiar foe in Athens for the round of 16: Notre Dame. Virginia dropped the Fighting Irish 6-1 in Charlottesville on March 2nd during the regular season and again 4-0 on April 26th in Cary, N.C. during the ACC Tournament.
The match is set for noon on Friday, May 16th and will be live-streamed via the University of Georgia's NCAA tournament site.