No. 22 Virginia kicked off the weekend with a win over Iowa (0-1) to earn a place in the championship match at the ITA Kickoff Weekend hosted in Columbus, Ohio. The Cavaliers (3-0) defeated No. 3 Ohio State (1-1) to win the regional competition and earn a berth to the ITA National Team Championship for the 11th time in the last 13 years.
Freshmen Jeffrey von der Schulenburg and Inaki Montes de la Torre started the day off strong for the Cavaliers with a 6-2 win over junior Joe Tyler and redshirt freshman Matt Clegg on the No. 3 doubles court. Schulenburg and Montes have both started the season hot with two straight doubles wins in their first season with Virginia.
Graduate student Carl Soderlund and junior William Woodall dropped their first doubles match of the season with a 3-6 loss to sophomore Oliver Okonkwo and junior Will Davies on the No. 1 doubles court, tying the doubles point at one apiece. Junior Ryan Goetz and freshman Chris Rodesch then clinched the doubles point for Virginia on the No. 2 doubles court with a 6-4 win over senior Kareen Allaf and sophomore Nikita Snezhko, giving the Cavaliers a 1-0 advantage heading into the singles matches.
Three Cavaliers won their singles matches in straight sets to win the match 4-0 for Virginia. Goetz earned Virginia a 2-0 lead over Iowa with a resounding win over Tyler scoring 6-1 in the first set and 6-0 in the second set. Von der Schulenburg recorded his second singles win of the season with a win over Okonkwo on the No. 3 singles court. Rodesch clinched the victory for the Cavaliers, beating Snezhko in straight sets by scores of 6-4 and 6-1 in the first and second sets, respectively. The remainder of the matches were not played out after Virginia clinched the victory.
The victory over the Hawkeyes sent the Cavaliers to the championship match against No. 3 Ohio State. Virginia took an early lead over the Buckeyes by winning the first two doubles matches and capturing the doubles point. Von der Schulenburg and Montes won on the No. 3 doubles court with a score of 6-4 against sophomore Cannon Kingsley and graduate student Kyle Seeling. Goetz and Rodesch clinched the doubles point with a 6-4 win against Ohio State junior James Trotter and sophomore Justin Boulais.
In the singles matches, senior John McNally tied the match for the Buckeyes at 1-1 with a straight set victory over Goetz. The next match to finish was between Virginia’s Montes and Ohio State’s Seeling, with Montes winning 6-2 in the first set and 6-3 in the second set. Von der Schulenburg then gave the Cavaliers a 3-1 overall lead with a win in straight sets over Trotter. Rodesch dropped his match against freshman JJ Tracy in the No. 5 singles to bring the overall score to 3-2.
Senior Gianni Ross clinched the victory for the Cavaliers with a win in three sets over Ohio State sophomore Robert Cash. After losing the first set 2-6, Ross rebounded to win the next two sets by scores of 6-3 and 6-1 in the first and second sets, respectively, bringing the final score to 4-2 in Virginia’s favor.
“I’m very happy for the team because I know how hard they have worked and sacrificed since the season was canceled last March,” Coach Andres Pedroso said. “As always in these matches with [Ohio State], it came down to a few points and I’m just proud that our guys [stayed] composed and competed together until the end. We look forward to the opportunity in Champaign.”
With a win over Ohio State, the Cavaliers advance to the ITA Division 1 National Men’s Team Indoor Championship, which will be held Feb. 12-14 and hosted by Illinois at the Atkins Tennis Center.
Virginia returns to action against Old Dominion on January 30 in Charlottesville.