A year after claiming the Atlantic 10 championship in its inaugural season in the conference, the VCU men’s tennis team fell to George Washington University 4-1 in the finals at Boar’s Head Sports Club, in Charlottesville, Va. on Sunday, April 20.
The win marks GW’s third championship in four years, with VCU’s 2013 victory serving as the exception.
The second-seeded Rams were dominant through the quarterfinals and semifinals, sweeping their opponents in both rounds respectively. However, the team was unable to carry the momentum into the final match against the Colonials.
Head coach Paul Kostin’s team received a first-round bye and beat Fordham University 4-0 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, the Rams topped third-seeded Duquesne University by the same score, setting up a rematch with last year’s title runner-up GW. But there, VCU struggled in singles play, losing four of the six matches, en route to defeat.
Senior Alejandro Argente and freshman Jean Baptiste Mateo combined with senior Alexis Heugas and redshirt junior Nick Jones to win the doubles point; however, five of VCU’s six singles competitors dropped the opening set of their matches.
Argente, Jones and sophomore Michal Voscek dropped tie-breaking third sets, while No. 67 Heugas lost in consecutive sets to GW’s Francisco Dias. Mateo and freshman Wilder Pimentel did not finish their singles matches respectively.
The Rams’ 4-0 sweep of Duquesne in the semifinals on Saturday helped Kostin reach his 23rd conference final in 24 years as head coach at VCU.
Heugas, Jones, Argente and Mateo once again combined to secure the doubles point for VCU. Sophomore Vuk Velickovic joined Huegas and Mateo in victorious singles matches, while Argente, Pimentel and Voscek did not finish.
Against Fordham, it was the pairing of Pimentel and Voscek that joined Heugas and Jones to win VCU the doubles point. Jones, Voscek and Velickovic claimed their singles matches and Heugas, Argente and Pimentel did not finish.
Despite woes during the 2013-2014 regular season, VCU concluded the year at No. 50 in the nation, according to the International Tennis Association rankings. There were several stretches, specifically in the latter half of the season, during which the team endured losing streaks. However, the majority of these losses were to top-50 teams in the nation.
The Rams finished their second season in the A-10 with a 2-0 record in the conference and a 15-3 record overall.
Next year, VCU will look to make its third consecutive title appearance.