No. 3 men’s tennis defeats USF and UCF in Florida

The Cavaliers were nearly upset by USF, before finishing the road trip strong with a convincing win against UCF

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Senior Henrik Wiersholm clinched the Cavaliers' victory over UCF Tuesday.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The No. 3 Virginia men’s tennis team (10-2, 2-1 ACC) headed to Florida this week to face South Florida (9-5, 1-0 AAC) Sunday in Tampa and Central Florida (8-8, 1-0 AAC) Tuesday in Orlando to officially kick off their outdoor season.

The Cavaliers started off the week at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts against South Florida, a team coming off a five-game winning streak that included a key win against conference rival Tulane. Despite not being ranked in the ITA Top-50, the Bulls put up a strong fight against Virginia, starting off the match with a doubles win — defeating the Cavaliers in an area where they have been dominant to start off the season. 

However, Virginia was quick to move past this initial loss, as the Cavaliers won matches in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots thanks to straight-set wins by redshirt senior Henrik Wiersholm and freshman Brandon Nakashima. 

Junior Carl Soderlund was the next Cavalier to finish, but was upset by South Florida senior Alberto Barroso-Campos, tying the match at 2-2. Nevertheless, thanks to a straight-set win by sophomore Gianni Ross in the No. 4 spot and a grueling three-set win by senior captain Aswin Lizen in the No. 5 spot, Virginia was able to leave Tampa with a 4-3 victory. 

The Cavaliers next faced Central Florida –– a team that also defeated conference rival Tulane –– Tuesday afternoon at the UCF Collegiate Tennis Center. Virginia was hot out of the gates, winning the doubles point. The Knights brought the match even at the No. 6 spot, however, with the Central Florida freshman Manoel Alencar defeating Cavalier freshman William Woodall. 

That would be the Knights’ only victory, though, as wins by Ross, Soderlund and Wiersholm propelled the Cavaliers to a 4-1 triumph over Central Florida. 

Virginia restarts ACC play Friday at No. 27 N.C. State (10-5, 1-0 ACC), followed by a rematch Sunday with 2018 National Champion No. 2 Wake Forest (15-2, 2-0 ACC) in Winston-Salem, N.C.

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