Sports, Tennis

Canes split weekend homestand, beat Virginia Tech 6-1

Steven Levy // The Miami Hurricane

Just two days after being held without a point by the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers, the men’s tennis team knew it would have to get off to a quick start against Virginia Tech on Sunday afternoon at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center.

The 29th-ranked Hurricanes (10-5, 4-1 ACC) wasted no time against the Hokies (11-6, 3-2 ACC), sweeping through their first five matches en route to a 6-1 win.
With the victory, Miami finished its homestand 3-2.

“It was a special day for us, especially after the match we played on Friday,” head coach Mario Rincon said. “The guys came back really strong.”

UM struck first in the doubles match as seniors Christian Blocker and Carl Sundberg won an 8-4 decision over the No. 52 tandem of Luka Somen and Corrado Tocci.

Virginia Tech tied it at one after defeating seniors Keith Crowley and Waylon Chin, but the senior/freshman duo of Eduardo Pavia and Pedro Ast came away with the 8-6 win.

“It all started from the doubles. Our No. 3 doubles played extremely well,” Rincon said. “They’re a relatively new team of [Ast] and [Pavia], but Ast really hit another gear there in the doubles and played extremely well. They were able to win the match and clinch the point.”

The Hurricanes won their first four singles matches to take a 5-0 lead and guarantee themselves the win. During that streak, Miami did not give up a set to its opponents, defeating the Hokies without needing to reach a third set.

Sundberg (6-3, 6-1) and Pavia (6-3, 6-2) led things off, while Chin (6-2, 6-4) clinched the match before freshman Gabriel Flores (7-6, 6-4) took the fifth singles match.

“I feel more confident. I know that going into the court it’s going to be a battle,” Flores said. “I was on a streak before I lost it to Virginia, but it really helped me gain confidence and I know that the team can rely on me in any situation.”

Both the No. 1 and No. 2 singles matches went into the third sets, with Blocker taking the lone loss of the afternoon. By that point, the Canes had already gotten over the 7-0 sweep to the Cavaliers on Friday.

“They pounded us pretty bad,” Flores said. “After the match, one of the things we said that the coaches were looking at was how we were going to react to that. I think as a team we did a really good job, keeping a positive attitude and adjusting. We performed today perfectly.”

As the regular season begins to wind down, the Canes travel to North Carolina this weekend to face Wake Forest and N.C. State.

“I tell the seniors that we only have a few matches left here at home, only two left, but they’re embracing the moment and taking advantage of the opportunity,” Rincon said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our group today.”

Ernesto Suarez may be contacted at esuarez@themiamihurricane.com.

March 27, 2011

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