Champions: GW Men's Tennis Knocks Off VCU, 4-1, for A-10 Title
Colonials Battle for Four Singles Wins to Earn League's Automatic Bid to NCAA Tournament
April 20, 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - No. 57 George Washington knocked off No. 50 VCU in come-from-behind fashion to claim the 2014 Atlantic 10 Men's Tennis Championship title on Sunday afternoon at the indoor Boar's Head Sports Club.
The No. 1 seed in the championship, GW garnered its third A-10 title in four years and earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. With a 17-6 overall record, the Colonials reached the 17-win mark for the third straight year.
GW fell behind, 0-1, in doubles play to second-seeded VCU, but battled back to win four singles matches and take home the league crown. The Colonials avenged a narrow 4-3 loss to the Rams (15-13) in the 2013 title match.
"Four years ago we won our first conference title since 1979 when our now-seniors were freshmen," Head Coach Greg Munoz. "This year was so special as we saw the entire team mature throughout the season, particularly this semester, and everything about it came to a storybook ending today."
The Colonials fell behind early in doubles action when the No. 3 team of seniors Viktor Svensson and Ulrik Thomsen dropped a 4-8 decision to Alejandro Argente and Jean Baptiste Mateo. Senior Nikita Fomin and sophomore Danil Zelenkov tied things up in the No. 2 match, however, when they fought for an 8-7 (6) tiebreaker victory. VCU clinched the doubles point in dramatic fashion as the No. 1 and 62-ranked duo of junior Francisco Dias and freshman Julius Tverijonas were edged by the No. 38 team of Alexis Heugas and Nick Jones in a tiebreaker, 8-7 (10), to take a 1-0 lead.
Dias knotted the match at 1-1 when he earned a commanding 6-3, 6-3 win at the No. 1 singles spot over Heugas, the No. 67 player in the country. Zelenkov extended the Buff and Blue's lead to 2-1 when he defeated Jones in a three-set battle in the third flight. After claiming the first set, 6-2, and dropping the second, 3-6, Zelenkov topped Jones, 6-4, in the third set to secure the match.
Competing in their final A-10 Championship, a pair of seniors helped GW lock up the win. Svensson pushed GW's lead to 3-1 over VCU when he beat Voscek in three sets at the No. 5 spot. Svensson took the lead with a 6-2 victory in the first set, but dropped the second, 1-6, and won the match with a 6-4 decision in the third set. Fomin then clinched the match for GW with a comeback win at No. 2 singles. After a 4-6 loss to Argente in the first set and falling behind, 1-4, in the second, Fomin claimed second set in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (4) and earned a 6-2 win in the third set to lift the Colonials to victory.
"Nikita came to GW two years ago with the dream of making the NCAAs a possibility, and he was the perfect person to clinch this match," Coach Munoz said. "Everyone played fearless today and we proved that we deserved that top seed."
The Colonials have now been crowned A-10 Champions in 1979, 2011, 2012 and 2014. GW will learn where it is headed for the regional round of the NCAA Tournament at the NCAA Team Tournament Selection Show, which will take place on Tuesday, April 29 at 5:30 p.m.