Men’s tennis splits pair of matches

The No. 16 Tech men’s tennis team travelled to the state of Virginia to take on two highly talented ACC foes. The first match came against the No. 37 ranked Virginia Tech Hokies on April 15, followed by taking on the No. 1 ranked Virginia Cavaliers a day later.

The Jackets came into the trip to Virginia on a hot streak, having won eight of their past 10 matches and four of their last five ACC matches. Despite the previous success, Tech managed only to end the trip in a split.

The win came against a very close match against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg with the Jackets just edging the Hokies 4-3. The loss came at the hands of the Cavaliers, who swiftly put down the Jackets, 6-1 in Charlottesville.

First on the court was the newest duo in Tech’s deep doubles lineup, junior Kevin King and senior Miguel Muguruza. Muguruza replaced injured Tech sophomore Juan Spir, who normally plays with King in the No. 1 doubles position. The pair took on Virginia Tech’s team of junior Patrick Daciek and sophomore Trpimir Kujundzic. The match went smoothly for the untested Tech team, winning easily, 8-5 to give the Jackets the early lead.

Playing the second flight for Tech was the pair of seniors Guillermo Gomez and Dean O’Brien, who have put together for a solid 34-23 career ACC doubles record and normally play in the No. 3 position for the Jackets.

They faced Virginia Tech junior Luka Somen and sophomore Lucas Oliveria looking to secure the doubles point. The match went back and forth throughout before the Georgia Tech twosome put the match away on a tiebreak, winning 9-8 (7-3).

With the doubles point in hand, the final match proved to be even more contested than the last. The veteran team of seniors Eliot Potvin and Ryan Smith came onto the court to face the No. 42 Hokie tandem of fellow seniors Pedro Graber and Will Beck.

The match turned out to be a tight battle from start to finish, as each team fought back after losing the previous point on a number of different occasions. The experience on both sides of the net kept it an even match all the way through the normal points and sent the match to a tiebreak before the singles matches began.

After going shot for shot in what marked the final regular season ACC doubles match for both teams, the Georgia Tech pair finally put away the victory 9-8 (7-5) after a torrid comeback attempt from Graber and Beck.

First up in the singles matches would pit Potvin against Virginia Tech’s Graber. Though Graber showed some fight in the second set after dropping the first, Potvin proved to be too much to handle, taking the win easily, 6-2, 6-4 to give Georgia Tech a 2-0 lead.

Tech sophomore Magin Ortiga took on Beck to try to further the Jackets’ lead. Through a closer match than the scores showed, Ortiga played his more experienced opponent well, though ultimately lost, 6-3, 6-4. The win pulled Virginia Tech to 2-1 in the points and put the pressure on the remaining Tech team to secure the victory.

In the No. 5 position, O’Brien took on the Hokies’ Oliveira in a crucial match for both teams. Through a back and forth match of evenly matched players, O’Brien was able to take the advantage and put the match away, winning 6-4 6-3. The crucial win gave Tech another point, putting the match at 3-1.

The deciding match would be played by No. 15 ranked Gomez in the first flight against Virginia Tech’s No. 53 Luka Somen. With the Tech players and coaches watching, Gomez would cruise to an easy victory, taking down his opponent in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2).

King and junior Dusan Miljevic dropped their matches, but Georgia Tech had already clinched the victory.

A day later against Virginia, Tech looked to put up a strong performance against the nation’s No. 1 team. Instead, the Cavaliers’ talent proved to be too much even for the experienced Tech squad.

The afternoon began with doubles play. In the first doubles match, Gomez and O’Brien took on Virginia junior Steven Rooda and talented six-foot-seven freshman Alex Domijan, and the Tech seniors rolled to an 8-0 victory.

The early lead did not last long, as Tech then fell in the following two matches to give the Cavaliers the doubles point.

The singles portion of the match did not bode well for the Jackets either. O’Brien was the only Tech player to earn a victory against a loaded Virginia team that included four players ranked in the nation’s top 50 and two in the top 10.

Once again, Tech won the opening match in singles, with O’Brien rolling over the Cavaliers’ Shane in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3.

Next Kevin King lost to No. 2 nationally ranked Domijan in a highly contested match, especially through the tiebreak, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) at the No. 5 position.

Up next Murguruza would face off against Uriquen in one of his first ACC singles matches this season. Though he forced the first set to a tiebreaker, Murguruza would eventually fall 7-5, 6-3.

Virginia clinched the match on court one, as No. 8 Michael Shabaz took down No. 15 Gomez 6-3, 6-4. Potvin and Ortiga dropped their matches against ranked foes on courts three and four as the Cavaliers took the match 6-1.

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