Virginia wins 3rd straight tennis title; Stanford denied

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Virginia captured its third straight NCAA men’s tennis championship Tuesday, while Stanford’s bid for back-to-back women’s titles was denied by Florida.

With the finals at the University of Georgia delayed by rainy weather, Virginia romped to another championship on the indoor courts with a 4-2 victory over Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina.

The second-seeded Cavaliers won the doubles point when Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Alexander Ritschard defeated Jack Murray and Simon Soendergaard 7-6 in the decisive match. Virginia followed up with victories in three of five completed singles matches to retain the title, clinching the victory at No. 5 when J.C. Aragone held off Jack Murray 7-6, 6-2.

”I always call J.C. Aragone the biggest warrior that I have ever coached, and when he was one of the last matches on I was pretty comfortable,” Virginia coach Brian Boland said.

Also winning singles points for the Cavaliers were Alexander Ritschard at No. 1 and Collin Altamirano at No. 4. The ninth-seeded Tar Heels took the No. 2 singles with William Blumberg and No. 3 with Robert Kelly.

The weather cleared in time for the evening women’s final, which was played on the outdoor courts at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Florida captured its first title since 2012 with a 4-1 victory over the defending national champion.

The top-seeded Gators captured the opening point by cruising to a pair of doubles victories before taking three of four completed singles matches to seal the victory over Stanford. Ingrid Neel provided the deciding point at No. 3 singles, rallying for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 win over Taylor Davidson.

”I didn’t think it would come down to me, but I just kept on fighting,” Neel said. ”I knew that Stanford could turn it around.”

Belinda Woolcock and Kourtney Keegan also captured singles victories for Florida, which captured the seventh national title in school history. Melissa Lord gave Stanford its only point at No. 2 singles.

The sixth-seeded Cardinal was denied its 19th championship.

”They came out very strong in the doubles with a lot of power, so that created a little bit of a tough road when you have to find four (points),” Stanford coach Lele Forood said. ”Our team fought hard and we were fighting back in a couple matches, but we just couldn’t find that one extra.”