Cavalier Corner

August 2013

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Breakthrough Men's Tennis Captures First National Championship V By Greg Waters irginia men's tennis fans, coaches and players had envisioned the moment many times. Yet once again, the moment — the championship-clinching point — that had eluded one of the premier college tennis teams seemed to be slipping away. Men's team of the year tennis But when UCLA's Adrien Puget's forehand went wide, securing UVa's first NCAA tennis championship, second-year Mitchell Frank did what many Cavaliers before him had always wanted to do. He dropped to his knees in triumph. With the finals tied at 3-3, down a break and facing championship point, Frank completed an improbable 0-6, 6-4, 7-5 come-from-behind win to end six seasons of disappointment where the Wahoos advanced to the NCAA semifinals or final only to return to Charlottesville without a national championship. "I remember looking up at the scoreboard and seeing [Virginia's] Julen Uriguen down 4-1, it was a double-break with the [UCLA] guy serving, so I kind of knew it was going to come down to me," Frank said. Frank fell behind 5-3 in the third set and was down 40-30 with Puget serving for the championship. But the Frenchman's foot grazed the bottom of the net, tying the game at deuce, and the rest is now UVa athletics lore. "It's 40-30, he's serving and you're trying not to look," Frank noted, "but you can see the look on everyone's face, the 'Oh my gosh, it's going to happen again and we're going to lose a heartbreaker.'" Despite having to battle from behind on numerous occasions throughout the final, and some déja vu of the conclusion to seasons past, Mac Styslinger said the team remained focused, and the adversity of the day made the outcome that much sweeter. "I never sensed any panic, but once we won I think it meant that much more to the guys who have suffered those finals losses," the first-year said. "They've been through the hard times, and to come out and win it was special." Head coach Brian Boland called the tournament title "an amazing journey" as he reflected on the accomplishment at the post-match press conference. "It feels great," Boland with a huge smile. "I couldn't be happier for the players. It's been quite a journey and we've been so close so many times and we finally got there." The win concluded a season in which the Cavaliers dominated all comers across the college game, appropriately earning them the honor of being designated UVa's Men's Team of the Year. Virginia (30-0) went undefeated, including winning its 106th consecutive contest over ACC opposition and its 21st straight match in ACC Tournament play en route to a seventh straight ACC crown. UVa swept the NCAA and ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) Indoor championships, and Jarmere Jenkins and Alex Domijan captured singles titles at the ITA Intercollegiate Indoor Championships and the ITA All-American Championships, respectively. The team capped off the season when Jenkins and Styslinger secured Virginia's fifth NCAA Individual tennis title, cap-

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