When we last left our heroes...
The Hoos avenged a pair of regular season losses to Baylor to set up a finals showdown with the only other team to defeat them this season, the #1 seeded Oklahoma Sooners.
How'd it go?
The Cavaliers won the doubles point in convincing fashion, actually winning all three doubles matches. The final two matches were clinched within several seconds of each other.
From there, the teams fought a tight batch of first sets, eventually splitting them 3-3. Oklahoma knotted the score at 1-all when Spencer Papa beat Alexander Ritschard at #5 singles. The Hoos responded with a pair of straight set wins from Collin Altamirano and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski to push the score to 3-1.
All eyes fell to senior Mitchell Frank at #2 singles, who had won his first set. Frank had been up a break on Andrew Harris, but conceded the break just as the Hoos extended their lead. Harris and Frank exchanged three straight service victories, and Harris set up to serve to force a tiebreaker. Frank won three straight points to gain a triple match point, but Harris proceeded to win the next three points to push the game to deuce. Frank won the next point, and facing match point, Harris hit a shot into the net.
For the second time in his career, Frank fell to hit knees on the court, head in his hands for several seconds before being mobbed by his team.
The win is Virginia's second national championship is men's tennis, putting the Cavaliers in select company. In the dual match era of college tennis, only four schools had multiple titles: Southern Cal, UCLA, Stanford and Georgia. Virginia joins the list.
Ryan Shane, Frank and Altamirano were all named to the All-tournament team in singles, while the Virginia doubles team of Kwiatkowski and Mac Styslinger were selected along with the pair of JC Aragone and Altamirano.
Mitchell Frank was named the Most Outstanding Player, another line on his resume as one of the all-time great Virginia tennis players.
Shane, Frank and Kwaitkowski start singles play tomorrow. Ryan Shane is also in the doubles tournament starting Thursday with partner Luca Corinteli.