Top-Seeded Virginia Knocks Clemson Out of ACC Tournament
CARY, NC - Fifth-seeded Clemson fell to top-seeded Virginia, 4-0, in the semifinals of the ACC Men's Tennis Championship on Saturday at the Cary Tennis Park in Cary, NC. Clemson, ranked 26th in the nation, fell to 18-7 on the season, while second-ranked Virginia improved to 23-0 overall. Saturday’s match marked Clemson’s first trip to the ACC Tournament semifinals since 2006.
“You don’t always get the result, but they grew a lot, and what we saw today was another step forward, and we saw growth, and that’s so big in this sport,” said Head Coach Chuck McCuen. “We grew.”
The Tigers faced the tall task of playing the Cavaliers, who are undefeated this season and have won 105 consecutive matches against ACC opponents, dating to 2006. The Tigers had shook off a streak of six straight losses in the tournament with Friday’s win over fourth-seeded NC State to set up the matchup.
On Saturday, the Tigers clawed their way in several matches, but were unable to flip the momentum in their favor. Virginia took the doubles point, and won all six first sets against the Tigers en route to the victory.
Virginia won the doubles point in a match for their 18th straight match, and 22nd time in 23 matches this season, to take a 1-0 lead on the Tigers. Justin Shane and Julen Urigen took down Hunter Harrington and Gerardo Meza, 8-5 on court three to give UVA the edge. Alex Domijan and Mitchell Frank, ranked 16th in the nation, defeated Zachary Rigsby and Ayrton Wibowo, 8-5 on court two to clinch the point.
On court one, Dominique Maden and Yannick Maden, ranked 11th in the nation, trailed third-ranked Jarmere Jenkins and Mac Styslinger, 7-3. The Maden brothers are the first pair of brothers to team up in doubles for Clemson in 100 years. Also of note, Jenkins’ brother, Jarmaine, was a two-time All-ACC selection at Clemson from 2004-07.
In singles play, the Cavaliers got off to a hot start, taking the first set on all six courts. The top of Clemson’s lineup had their hands full with two of the top three players in the nation on the other side of the net.
On court one, Yannick Maden and No. 3 Jenkins played a long first set, which Jenkins claimed, 6-3. Maden led, 3-2 in the second set when the match was called. Hunter Harrington also hung in there with No. 1 Alex Domijan on court two, but the Cavalier junior had a 6-4, 5-4 lead when the match was halted. Clemson’s set win came from Zach Rigsby, Friday’s match-clincher. He was playing 27th-ranked Mac Styslinger on court five, and was in the third set when play ended.
Virginia’s points came on courts three, four, and six singles. Justin Shane defeated Austin Ansari, 6-3, 6-2 on court six to take a 2-0 lead. Gerardo Meza fell on court three to No. 39 Mitchell Frank, 6-1, 6-3 on court three, and the clinching win came when No. 69 Ryan Shane defeated Dominique Maden at four, 7-6, 6-4.
“We’ve got such great senior leadership,” said McCuen. “There was no selling out. These are guys that believed in us and made a pledge that we were going to get better each match, and you’re seeing the result. What I love about these guys is that they have persevered and sustained. And, they have not sold out from day one. While it hurts that we didn’t get the win today, we got better today, playing the best team in the country, and that gives us confidence going into NCAAs.”
The Tigers will now await word on selection to the NCAA Tournament, which will come on Tuesday. The team is in line for their first appearance since the 2007 season.
“I’m fired up,” said McCuen. “I cannot wait. It’s been four years to get here. I won’t lie to you, its been disappointing not to get there before now, but this is meaningful because it’s with the guys that we have raised up.”
1. #3 Jenkins/Styslinger (VA) led #11 Y. Maden/ D. Maden (CU), 7-3, DNF
2. #16 Domijan/Frank (VA) def. Rigsby/Wibowo (CU), 8-5
3. #79 J. Shane/Urigen (VA) def. Harrington/Meza (CU), 8-5
Order of finish: 3,2*
1. #3 Jarmere Jenkins (VA) led. #24 Yannick Maden (CU), 6-3, 2-3, DNF
2. #1 Alex Domijan (VA) v. Hunter Harrington (CU), 6-4, 5-4, DNF
3. #39 Mitchell Frank (VA) def. Gerardo Meza (CU), 6-1, 6-3
4. #69 Ryan Sahne (VA) def. Dominique Maden (CU), 7-6, 6-4
5. #27 Mac Styslinger (VA) led Zachary Rigsby (CU), 6-3, 3-6, 2-1 DNF
6. Justin Shane (VA) def. Austin Ansari (CU), 6-3, 6-2
Order of Finish: 6,3,4*