Third-ranked Virginia is in the midst of yet another NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament run, and the team showed its resolve with a dominating 4-0 win in the quarterfinals against #11 Stanford. The semifinal berth is the program's third in a row and its fifth appearance in the last six years.
Early on, the match looked to be a competitive one. The battle for the all-important doubles point went back and forth, as UVA and Stanford won on one quart each. It came down to Jarmere Jenkins and Drew Courtney, who prevailed 7-2 in a tiebreaker, giving the Hoos an early 1-0 lead.
Once singles began, it was apparent that the Hoos would not be tolerating any more excitement. Cavaliers prevailed in five of six first sets, and Courtney, Mitchell Frank, and Justin Shane all quickly defeated their opponents in straight sets. Upon the match's completion, Jenkins and Alex Domijan both held leads over top-40 ranked opponents as well.
Video highlights of the quarterfinal victory, along with discussion from coach Brian Boland, are up on VirginiaSportsTV. Boland praised the team's effort and was especially happy with the energy that his squad showed: "We came out with a lot of energy. It was something that stayed with us throughout the match. I thought we had a little bit of a lull in our match against Cal, but today that energy level stayed up throughout the match, from start to finish. They played with a great purpose."
UVA's title hopes were buoyed by the events that took place later on in the day, when 7th-seeded Pepperdine upset the 2nd-seeded Georgia Bulldogs to earn the chance to take on Virginia. While the Waves have a strong squad that is peaking at the right time, they lack the sheer talent that UGA brings to the table. Additionally, the tournament is hosted in Athens, GA; avoiding a match in front of a raucous and hostile crowd eliminates another potential danger zone for the Hoos. The short turnover between matches (the semis take place today at 5) should also benefit Virginia, who rolled to an easy victory in which no athlete saw a third set.
On the other side of the bracket, which is up on NCAA.com, USC and UCLA compete for a berth in the final. USC seems posed to win on paper, but the Bruins already own an upset victory over their conference rivals just one month ago. USC and Virginia met in last year's final with the Trojans winning a 4-3 thriller. To set up a rematch, both teams must still get past their lower-seeded semifinal opponents. Both matches kick off today at 5 PM in Athens. You could follow live stats and a video stream on Georgia's website and look for more coverage right here, as the Hoos strive for their first ever NCAA tennis title.