The Virginia Men's Tennis team's 60-win streak against ACC opponents wasn't going anywhere this Sunday in the ACC Championship, as the Cavaliers took care of No. 2 seed Duke with a 4-2 win in Sunday's title match in Cary. Except this time it wasn't because of the usual suspects.
"This always a great accomplishment," Virginia coach Brian Boland said. "We have such a great respect for all the ACC teams and all the programs across the league. The depth of the conference now is stronger than ever, so to win the championship is just as meaningful as the first one we won back in 2004. I am really proud of the guys. They worked hard all year. They had their sights set on several goals, and this was certainly one of them. Now we are now looking forward to the NCAA Tournament in front of us."The Cavaliers took the doubles point easily behind the wins by the No. 32 ranked pair of Houston Barrick and Sanam Singh and the pair of Lee Singer and Jarmere Jenkins. The third match, between Drew Courtney and Michael Shabaz, currently ranked No. 11, and the No. 1 ranked pair of Cunha and Carleton for Duke, ended with Virginia serving down 7-8 because of the Cavaliers wins in the other two matches.
It was back and forth between Virginia and Duke in the Singles. Jarmere Jenkins took care of business quickly, winning his match in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. Duke got on the scoreboard when Blue Devil Like Marchese took down UVa's No. 68 ranked Lee Singer 4-6, 6-3, 4-6, and tied it up when No. 9 Michael Shabaz dropped to No. 7 Henrique Cunha 6-4, 3-6, 1-6.
With three matches left, and trailing after the first set in two of them, it looked bleak for a second for the Cavs. But it was only just a second, as both Drew Courtney and Houston Barrick battled back to win their matches and seal the victory for the Cavaliers.
"We had so many matches out there that could have gone either way," said Barrick, who was named the Championship MVP after his 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-1 win over Pinsky clinched the match for the Cavaliers. "Duke is such a talented team, and they fought us all the way. I am sure we are going to see them down the road."Boland praised the efforts of Barrick, a senior co-captain who has never been played in a losing match against ACC opposition and has been part of 129 team wins during his career.
"You don't see many players with the mental perseverance and mental toughness that Houston Barrck has," Boland said. "He lost the first set today, and it didn't even faze him. He's very special. In my 14 years as a head coach, I can count on one hand the players I've had who were competitors at his level.
"I've had the good fortune to coach him for four years, and I will take him for a few more weeks as we head into the NCAA Tournament."
The ACC title represents the fourth consecutive title for Men's Tennis, and the sixth in seven years.