LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Despite winning the doubles point and earning a singles victory from senior Evan King (Chicago, Ill./Kaplan Prep) at the top of the lineup, the No. 22-ranked University of Michigan men's tennis team fell to Virginia Tech, 4-2, in the first round of the NCAA Championships at Kentucky's Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex.
U-M held a 2-1 advantage midway through the dual, but the Hokies stormed back with consecutive victories at the No. 4, No. 2 and No. 5 singles positions to secure the match.
The Maize and Blue earned the first point of the day with doubles victories at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. After the Michigan tandem of juniors Shaun Bernstein (Plainview, N.Y./Plainview Old Bethpage JFK) and junior Barrett Franks (Christchurch, New Zealand/Shirley Boys') tallied an 8-4 victory over Joao Monteiro and Lucas Olivera at the No. 3 spot, U-M's 57th-ranked tandem of King and junior Alex Buzzi (Key Biscayne, Fla./Gulliver Prep) clinched the point, winning six of the first seven games en route to an 8-3 victory over the 80th-ranked pairing Andreas Bjerrehus and Hunter Koontz.
After the Hokies registered their first point of the match with a victory at the No. 3 singles position, King gave Michigan a 2-1 lead with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 triumph over 61st-ranked Amerigo Contini at No. 1 position. King, ranked No. 13 in the latest ITA rankings, has won 12 consecutive matches and is 23-1 in dual-match competition.
Virginia Tech tied the match once again as Monterio rallied for a 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 win over Franks at No. 3, and 97th-ranked Bjerrehus followed with a 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-4, win over sophomore Alex Petrone (Staten Island, N.Y./Laurel Springs Prep) at No. 2, to put the Hokies within one point of clinching the match.
Shortly thereafter, Virginia Tech claimed the team victory as Oliveira defeated sophomore Michael Zhu (Princeton, N.J./Keystone National), 6-1, 6-3, at the No. 5 position. Buzzi did not finish his match at No. 6 despite winning the first set 6-2.
With the loss, Michigan's season as a team is over, finishing with a 16-10 record. King will compete at the NCAA Individual Championships, beginning on Wednesday, May 22, in Urbana, Ill.
Following are match-by-match results:
No. 1 -- No. 13 Evan King (U-M) d. No. 61 Amerigo Contini (Virginia Tech), 6-4, 1-6, 6-1
No. 2 -- No. 97 Andreas Bjerrehus (Virginia Tech) d. Alex Petrone (U-M), 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-4
No. 3 -- Hunter Koontz (Virginia Tech) d. No. 125 Vlad Stefan (U-M), 6-3, 6-3
No. 4 -- Joao Monterio (Virginia Tech) d. Barrett Franks (U-M), 2-6, 7-5, 6-4
No. 5 -- Lucas Oliveira (Virginia Tech) d. Michael Zhu (U-M), 6-1, 6-4
No. 6 -- Alex Buzzi (U-M) vs. Aaron Gomez (Virginia Tech), 6-2, 1-3 DNF
No. 1 -- No. 57 Evan King/Alex Buzzi (U-M) d. No. 80 Andreas Bjerrehus/Hunter Koontz (Virginia Tech), 8-3
No. 2 -- Alex Petrone/Michael Zhu (U-M) vs. Amerigo Contini/Marko Lovrinovic (Virginia Tech), 4-4 DNF
No. 3 -- Shaun Bernstein/Barrett Franks (U-M) d. Joao Monteiro/Lucas Olivera (Virginia Tech), 8-4
Order of Completion: Doubles 3-1; Singles 3-4-1-2-5