The men’s tennis team is currently riding high on a five-game winning streak, with the last four occuring in conference play.
No. 37 Virginia’s (11-5, 4-1 ACC) midseason turnaround has come just at the right time, as they are traveling to the homes of both No. 21 Duke Blue Devils (12-8, 3-2 ACC) and No. 5 North Carolina Tar Heels (13-4, 4-1 ACC). The only match that the Cavaliers have played of this caliber so far was at No. 7 Illinois (12-5, 3-0 Big 10), which Virginia lost in a 3-4 heartbreaker.
A big part of Virginia’s success in the past four games has been the consistent performance of sophomore Carl Söderlund (No. 38). Söderlund has gone 7-1 as Virginia’s top seed, with several impressive wins over highly ranked opponents. Most recently, Söderlund defeated Clemson senior Alex Favrot (No. 47) during Virginia’s road upset of the then No. 38 Tigers. This match, as well as the sophomore’s impressive defensive play during the doubles point, was a critical part of the Cavalier victory.
Also critical for the Cavaliers matchups on Friday and Saturday will be the results of the match on the No. 6 court. Virginia has at times struggled mightily to get results on the lower courts, but it seems to have found a lineup that works with freshman Kyrylo Tsygura on court 6. Tysgura has gone 3-0 in the past three matches, compared to Virginia’s 2-11 record on the No. 6 court before those games.
The Cavaliers have found other ways to win while still losing there in the past, but those were in matchups against smaller teams that Virginia used to give it’s bench players some experience. In the ACC however, as the No. 6 goes, so goes the match.