The University of Miami men’s tennis team could not have scripted a more climactic victory than Sunday’s win over Wake Forest.
The Hurricanes clinched their first ACC win of the season with a 4-3 victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
“It was a big win for us,” coach Mario Rincon said. “We had lost to Wake Forest earlier in the year, a close match that went right to the end and we couldn’t close it out. This time it was totally the opposite.”
Junior Victor Mauz stepped up as the hero of the match with his tiebreaker win that gave the Hurricanes the 4-3 edge over the Demon Deacons.
“I saw it was going to be on my match, it was 3-3, and that was probably the first time I have come back from that far away,” he said. “I just tried to concentrate on myself, my shots, point after point, and I fought really hard to come back.”
Despite dropping the doubles point, Miami’s singles wins from sophomore Omar Aly, freshman Henrique Tsukamoto, and sophomore Diego Soto kept the team in the match. With three points apiece for UM and Wake Forest, the match was decided by the sixth singles matchup between Mauz and Wake Forest’s Alex Tsai.
“I saw it was 4-0, 40-love, and thought, ‘there’s no way we were losing again against the same guys that beat us 4-3 already,’” Mauz said.
Mauz gave credit to his teammates and their support during his clutch performance.
“I would never have done that in a single match, alone,” he said.
Rincon gave high praise to the character and determination of his team.
“Victor is such a team player, he is the ultimate fighter; I’m really glad that he was the last man on the court,” Rincon said. “He is such a hard worker and has so much heart, I know he will appreciate this moment for a long time.”
Rincon and his team work hard each day with their sights set on a tournament berth.
“Victor stayed poised, kept fighting, making the key plays, little by little he got back into the set, and made it even and pulled it off in the tiebreaker,” Rincon said. “It was a great win for him, we needed this win here at home, we feel like we are a team that still has opportunities and there is room for us in the NCAA tournament and today was an important day for us.”
The win over Wake Forest follows Friday’s crushing 4-3 defeat to the N.C. State Wolfpack.
Despite strong play from first doubles team, freshman Wilfredo Gonzalez and Aly, the Canes dropped the doubles point to N.C. State.
In dramatic fashion, Gonzalez claimed his singles point over Robbie Mudge (7-5, 5-7, 10-6) but the Wolfpack had already clinched the match.
“Wilfredo, Victor, Diego, all won their singles matches, obviously playing really well, every match in the ACC is really tough, at a really high level, they got their wins today, but all our men competed very hard,” Rincon said. “There’s always a lesson to be learned.”
The Hurricanes head to the Northeast next weekend to take on Boston College.