After three victories over ranked ACC opponents and a big jump up the rankings, the Miami Hurricanes Men’s tennis team suddenly had Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tennis Championships circled on their calendar. There was now a chance to be selected for a berth in the national championships for the first time in three years. They headed into Virginia last weekend with a new life on their season but quickly saw their winning streak and momentum stopped.
On Friday, the ‘Canes went up to Charlottesville to face the defending NCAA champions Virginia Cavaliers. And as reported in an earlier article, they were no match for the No. 4 Cavaliers and they were easily beaten 7-0. To make matters worse, the ‘Canes no. 1 player, Omar Aly was out of the lineup with an injury sustained during the NC State match.
Of their remaining dual matches, the ‘Canes need to defeat maybe one more ranked ACC rival to get into the NCAA tournament. Their first opportunity came on Sunday when they went to Blacksburg to play the No. 54 Virginia Tech Hokies. The Canes were ranked higher at No. 39, but with Aly out, it was going to be tough. To make the odds even worse, the Hokies were riding some momentum of their own after defeating No. 24 Florida State on Friday.
When the lineups were announced, William Albanese was missing from the lineup as well. Albanese usually plays in the No. 5 position but with his absence, freshmen Bernard Tefl and David Shebshayevich (love that name!) were in the No. 5 and 6 positions. The tough task of playing a motivated team on their home courts without their No. 1 and No. 5 players was too much for the ‘Canes to overcome this time. They fought hard but only Shebshayevich (did I mention I love this name?) was able to get a win in a third-set tie break and the ‘Canes went down 6-1.
The ‘Canes (13-6, 3-3) now head home to host No. 14 Duke, No. 8 North Carolina, go on the road to face No. 9 Notre Dame and unranked Boston College, and finally finish their regular season at home against No. 24 Florida State. The dual match against the Seminoles on April 19 just may be the match to decide the ‘Canes fortunes on Selection Sunday, April 27.
Next match: Vs. No. 14 Duke, April 4 at 2 p.m.