April 23, 2011

RAMS REACH CAA CHAMPIONSHIP FOR 15TH TIME WITH 4-3 DEFEAT OF WILLIAM & MARY

NORFOLK, Va. – The names and faces may change, but the result seems to stay the same with the Virginia Commonwealth University men's tennis program.

Out of the 16 seasons that the Rams have been a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, the Rams have played for the men's tennis championship 15 times after VCU toppled fourth-seeded, 4-3, on Saturday afternoon at Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center.

"It's a nice accomplishment to be in the championship match again, but we're not satisfied just getting there," Head Coach Paul Kostin said. "We need to come with the same focus and determination we've showed in the latter part of this year. UNC Wilmington is a talented team and we're going to have to bring our A game if we want to come away champions again."

The match didn't start the way the Rams wanted it to with the Tribe jumping all over the doubles point and posting two quick 8-1 and 8-6 victories to take a 1-0 lead.

As they had all year long, VCU's top players did what they needed and got the Rams back in front. It started with sophomore Max Wennakoski smoking Ben Guthrie, 6-0, 6-0 at the second singles position.

CAA Co-Player of the Year Tim Johannsen followed suit with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Anton Andersson at number one singles and the Black & Gold found itself back in front, 2-1.

William & Mary got a singles victory at the fourth and fifth spots, but an easy 6-3, 6-0 win by junior Filip Svensson set the stage for freshman Antoine Baroz to bring home the match victory.

Baroz did just that with a tough, 7-6 (6), 6-0 over Jamie Whiteford at the third singles position and sent the Rams to the CAA Championship match once again.

VCU will take on third-seeded UNC Wilmington at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The Seahawks are one of only two teams to ever beat the Black & Gold in the CAA Championship (2009).

#1 VCU 4, #4 William & Mary 3
Singles

#1 – Johannsen def. Anton Andersson (W&M), 6-2, 6-2
#2 – Wennakoski def. Ben Guthrie (W&M), 6-0, 6-0
#3 – Baroz def. Jamie Whiteford (W&M), 7-6 (6), 6-0
#4 – Sebastien Vidal (W&M) def. Vazquez, 6-3, 6-4
#5 – Ben Hoogland (W&M) def. Salomon, 6-1, 6-2
#6 – Svensson def. Ilja Orre (W&M), 6-3, 6-0
Order of Finish: 2,1,5,6,4,3
Doubles
#1 – Whiteford/Vidal (W&M) def. Vazquez/Salomon, 8-6
#2 – Orre/Guthrie (W&M) d. Johannsen/Baroz, 8-1
#3 – Wennakoski/Svensson vs. Andersson/Banks (W&M), DNF 7-5

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