Top-ranked Virginia wins ITA Indoor Championship against No. 2 USC 4-2
SEATTLE -- Top-ranked Virginia won its fifth ITA National Team Indoor Championship in six years with a 4-2 victory against second-ranked USC in Monday’s final at the Nordstrom Tennis Center. The Cavaliers (6-0) won the doubles point and used consecutive set victories at the top three singles positions to deny the Trojans their second title in a row.
“I am so proud of this team and what they accomplished this week,” head coach Brian Boland said. “During the last two matches, there were times where we kind of had our backs against the wall and we handled the adversity well. Every guy played a role and stepped up when the team needed them. This is another stepping stone for our program, to win another National Indoor Championship. We now have to get ready for the outdoor season and continue to get better to accomplish the goals this team has for itself.”
The Cavaliers needed just 40 minutes to win the doubles point and take a 1-0 lead in the match. Alex Domijan and Mitchell Frank topped Eric Johnson and Emilio Gomez 8-4 at the No. 3 position. A minute later, Julen Uriguen and Justin Shane clinched the point with their 8-3 win at No. 2 against Max de Vroome and Roberto Quiroz.
In singles, the Cavaliers and Trojans split the six first sets, each winning three. Virginia’s lead doubled as Domijan won his fourth match of the tournament at No. 2, his third against a top-15 opponent, topping No. 10 Gomez 6-3, 6-2. USC cut the lead in half at No. 6 where Johnson downed Justin Shane 7-5, 6-4. Jarmere Jenkins increased the lead to 3-1 with his 6-2, 6-4 win at No. 1 against Ray Sarmiento. The Trojans closed the gap to 3-2 with de Vroome topping Ryan Shane 7-6(4), 6-3 at No. 5 singles.
In the third match Virginia won the first set, at No. 3, Frank was serving at 6-3, 5-5 against Quiroz. He fought off two break points against him before holding for 6-5. In the next game he broke Quiroz at love to clinch the championship for Virginia.
“I looked up at the scoreboard and I saw we were up 3-1 and I figured it was going to come down to me,” Frank said. “I was calm in the moment and just wanted to play my game. When I was able to save the break points and hold for 6-5, it gave me some momentum. I had been in a bunch of his service games all day and I was able to get some returns in play. I had been passing well all day and on three of those points he came in and I was able to pass him for winners. It was just a great feeling to get the win for the team.”
It marked the third time Virginia and USC had met in the final of a national tournament. The Trojans downed the Cavaliers in the 2011 and 2012 NCAA Finals. Even though the teams had met in each of the last four years in the NCAA tournament, Monday’s match was the first meeting at ITA National Team Indoors.
“Playing USC is always a challenge,” Boland said. “They have a great program and we have so much for respect for them. We have had a lot of great battles with them in the past, and [Monday] was no exception, and we know that there will be more to come in the future. We look forward to it because the high level of our matches is why college tennis is so great.”
Virginia won an unprecedented four consecutive ITA National Team Indoor Championships from 2008 to 2011, including winning the title in Seattle in 2008 and 2011. The Cavaliers’ five overall NTI championships ranks third in ITA history, behind Stanford (12) and UCLA (7).