The No. 3 Virginia Cavaliers’ men’s tennis team picked up its 12th ACC championship on Sunday in a thrilling 4-3 upset of the nation’s top-ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
The contest featured a rematch of the 2015 and 2016 ACC Championship teams. In 2015, the Hoos defeated the Deacons, 4-2. Last year, Wake Forest avenged the loss with a 4-3 thriller that ended Virginia’s nine-year streak of claiming the title. But in the 2017 rubber match, it was the Hoos — coming in as the underdog — who came away victorious.
Virginia took the early lead, sweeping the doubles point with wins by Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Alexander Ritschard over Wake Forest’s Alan Gadjiev and Borna Gojo on Court 2, 6-3, and Collin Altamirano and J.C. Aragone over Petros Chrysochos and Dennis Uspensky on Court 3, 6-4.
Wake Forest claimed the first singles point with a straight set victory by No. 4 Chrysochos over No. 90 Ritschard. From there, Virginia brought home two straight set victories — No. 15 Kwiatkowski over No. 51 Gojo and No. 46 Altamirano over Uspensky — to take a 3-1 lead. Wake Forest would come back to tie the match with two wins of their own.
Virginia survived Wake Forest’s comeback when No. 117 Aragone clinched the match for the Hoos with an upset over No. 75 Christian Seraphim, 7-6 (8), 4-6, 6-3. For his efforts, Aragone was named the ACC Tournament MVP for the second time in his career.
“It was pretty remarkable—but I’m not surprised. It’s J.C. J.C. has a heart of gold and has been through a lot of adversity,” said Virginia head coach Brian Boland after the match.
Next up for the Hoos will be the NCAA Regionals, which begins on Friday, May 12. The Hoos have an automatic bid, but the complete field will be announced on Tuesday, May 5. It will be the last NCAA Tournament for Boland, who leaves at the end of this year to become the head of men’s tennis for USTA Player Development.
“It’s been an unbelievable ride in college tennis,” said Boland. “It’s hard to leave something I love so much, but it was time for a greater challenge and the time has come. I absolutely love college tennis.”
“I’m proud to represent the ACC, which I consider the best conference in the country. I’m proud of the coaches and colleagues I work with within the conference.”