Photo courtesy of ITA Tennis
The University of Virginia hadn’t lost a point in its first three matches at the 2017 ITA Division I National Men’s Team Indoor Championship.
In Monday’s final against No. 3 Ohio State, the top-seeded Cavaliers conceded a point, and while on paper their 4-1 victory looked routine, it was anything but.
With the Buckeyes on the verge of closing out matches at No. 3 and No. 5 singles, Virginia’sJ.C. Aragone outlasted Herkko Pollanen 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) at No. 4 singles to clinch the match and send the boisterous crowd at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Virginia, home happy.
The two-time defending NCAA champions, Virginia earned its sixth #ITAIndoors title with the win, third-most in the history of the event.
The Cavaliers claimed the doubles point and early 1-0 lead, thanks to victories by No. 55-ranked Luca Corinteli and Carl Soderlund at No. 1 doubles (defeated No. 38 Mikael Torpegaard and Pollanen 6-0) and Aragone and Collin Altamirano at No. 3 doubles (topped Matt Mendez and Hunter Tubert 7-5).
Henrik Wiersholm increased the UVa margin to 2-0 with a 7-6, 6-2 victory at No. 6 singles over Kyle Seelig. The Buckeyes earned their first point of the contest when No. 2-ranked Torpegaard took down Altamirano at No. 1 singles 6-3, 7-6.
Things began to get interesting after that, as the remaining four singles matches ventured into deciding third sets.
Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, ranked No. 28, bounced back from dropping the opening set to take down No. 8 Hugo Di Feo 3-6, 7-6, 6-2 at No. 2 singles, moving Virginia a point away from the title. As Aragone and Pollanen were battling at No. 4 singles, Ohio State’s JJ Wolf was one game from closing out Soderlund at No. 3 singles. After dropping the first set 3-6, Wolf won the second 7-6 and was up 5-3 in the third. At No. 5 singles, Martin Joyce was up 6-5 and 30-15 in the third set against Alexander Ritschard before their match was halted due to Aragone’s clinching victory.