ORLANDO, Fla. – The 2017 season will be talked about for a long time among the University of Richmond men's tennis program.
A record number of wins (25), the longest win streak in history (22), the first A-10 finals berth in over 10 years.
The Spiders accomplished all of those this season. That season came to an end on a hot Sunday afternoon at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, where Richmond dropped an unbelievable battle with crosstown rival, VCU, 4-3, in the Atlantic 10 Championship match.
“It's hard to put into words how proud I am of this group,” Head Coach Ben Johnson said. “Honestly, words don't do these guys enough justice. The heart and pride they showed all year long. It was truly inspiring.”
As they had all spring long, the Spiders took momentum early by taking the doubles point for the 26th time in the 29 spring matches.
Seniors Jacob Dunbar and Alexandre Felisa made quick work at the top doubles spot with a 6-3 win. Jonathan Quenard and Caleb Troy battled their way to a 7-5 win at the number two position to secure the doubles point and grab a 1-0 lead.
VCU responded with three straight singles victories to make it 3-1 in favor of the Rams.
The resilient Spiders bounced back with senior Canyon Teague's thrilling 7-6 (3), 6-3 win at #5 singles, followed by a gutty effort from Troy at the #3 spot with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 win to even things up at 3-3.
It came down to a knock-down drag-out fight at the top singles spot with VCU eventually pulling out the three-set victory and claiming the title.
“There are times during your coaching career where you run into a person or a group of individuals that make you into a better coach and inspire you. That's exactly what this group has done. This is a family and this is a season that we will all remember for the rest of our lives,” Johnson added.