The Virginia men’s tennis team has set a lot of records during coach Brian Boland’s tenure, but the one in its sights now could be the most impressive yet.
This afternoon at the Snyder Tennis Center, UVa will be looking to win its 116th-straight ACC match when it hosts N.C. State.
No, that’s not a typo.
Virginia has won its last 115 ACC matches. A win over the 32nd-ranked Wolfpack today would tie the longest winning streak in ACC history — in any sport.
In the spring of 2006, the Cavaliers lost in the ACC Tournament finals to Duke and haven’t lost a match since.
During that time, the Virginia the men’s basketball team has lost 73 ACC games, while the football team has 41 losses on its ledger.
“It is an impressive streak,” said Wake Forest coach Tony Bresky, who served as an assistant under Boland at UVa for eight years. “When I think back to some of the matches that we could have lost when I was there, we certainly had some tight matches in that time span and were able to pull those out...
“It’s never easy to win that many matches in a row.”
Bresky will be in town on Sunday when No. 5 Virginia and No. 23 Wake square off. His Demon Deacons (14-8, 3-4), who have lost five matches this season by 4-3 scores, will have their work cut out for them in facing UVa on Senior Day.
Beforehand, Virginia (17-2, 8-0) will honor seniors Alex Domijan, Justin Shane and Ian Uriguen.
Shane, a Falls Church native, finds it hard to believe his last regular-season home match is upon him.
“It went insanely fast,” Shane said. “I know exactly what people are saying when they say that time flies through college.”
Shane has been a steady contributor in singles and doubles. He says the highlight of his career was a win he pulled out in front of a hostile crowd at Ole Miss as a sophomore.
Boland, though, says the win that stands out most to him occurred in last spring’s NCAA Tournament finals when he beat UCLA’s Clay Thompson, currently the No. 1 ranked player in the country.
“He defeated him in two straight, convincing sets,” Boland said. “It was one of the best matches I’ve ever seen him play and said a lot about how far he’s come because he had struggled in his first two NCAA championships.”
Shane and Domijan are the only players in Virginia history to have played in three straight NCAA finals.
If it wasn’t for Domijan’s performance in last season’s semifinals against Georgia, UVa may not have gone on to win its first-ever title.
Domijan came up with a clutch three-set win over Georgia’s Nathan Pasha.
Boland calls Domijan, who hails from Wesley Chapel, Fla., and has a 94-10 career singles record, an all-time great.
“He’s a loyal, hardworking, honest and just incredible young man,” Boland said, “who I’ve had the opportunity to work with and see grow on and off the court in his time here.”
Boland says Shane has been a lot like Domijan in that “he brings it every single day.”
“He’s humble, hardworking and has had an incredible career here,” Boland said.
Shane says he wants to win another NCAA title.
“We definitely want to go out with a team win,” he said. “That would be amazing.”
First things first, though: today’s match against N.C. State, a squad which is coming off an upset win over No. 12 Notre Dame on Sunday.
A win would tie the 116-game winning streak held by the Duke women’s tennis program from 1989-2000. A win over Wake on Sunday would put the Cavaliers all by themselves in the record books.
“Obviously this is an incredible run that we’ve had,” said Boland, when asked about the record, “but we need to focus on the match against N.C. State and not allow it to become a distraction.
“And I feel the players will be focused on the task at hand. We’re looking forward to a great match.”