Virginia vs. Georgia Tech
The No. 4 Virginia men’s tennis team picked up a 5-2 victory against Georgia Tech Friday at the Virginia Tennis Facility at Boar’s Head Resort.
Although it was a different ACC opponent, it was the same story for the hot Cavaliers (13-2 7-0 ACC) as they handled business in doubles early against the Yellow Jackets (9-6, 3-4 ACC). Freshmen Jeffrey von der Schulenburg and Iñaki Montes de la Torre grinded out their sixth consecutive doubles match win with a 7-5 victory over redshirt freshman Brandon McKinney and sophomore Zummy Bauer, while junior Ryan Goetz and freshman Chris Rodesch defeated sophomore Pablo Schelcher and junior Brandon Freestone in a close 6-4 match.
In singles, Virginia freshman Alexander Kiefer flew through a 6-1, 6-2 victory against freshman Chen Dong on court six. Von der Schulenburg gave Virginia a 2-0 lead in the match with a win against redshirt freshman No. 59 Andres Martin — Georgia Tech’s lone ranked player — 6-4, 6-2. Senior Gianni Ross clinched the victory for the Cavaliers with a 7-5, 6-2 win against McKinney.
The other three matches were played out as Montes won with a 10-8 super tiebreaker to put Virginia up 5-0. On the top court, graduate student Carl Söderlund dropped the super tiebreaker in his match against redshirt freshman Marcus McDaniel 10-7. On court three, Rodesch played tiebreakers to decide both his first and second sets, losing 7-3 and then a close 10-8 against Schelcher.
Coach Andres Pedroso opted to go with an alternative singles lineup as Kiefer and Ross' play helped earn the win for the Cavaliers over the Yellow Jackets. In doubles, Rodesch and Goetz earned a nice bounce-back win after a tough outing against Florida State.
“Alex Kiefer and Gianni Ross down at five and six came out and proved to be dominant down there, so I was really proud of them,” Pedroso said. “Chris and Ryan have a little bit of a tough run recently and they came up with a W … They played their best doubles in a couple of weeks so I was proud of that.”
Virginia vs. Clemson
Virginia followed the Georgia Tech win with a win Sunday against another divisional opponent Clemson (6-9, 1-6 ACC). In doubles, Goetz and Rodesch defeated senior Yizhou Liu and freshman Jorge Plans Gonzalez 6-4, while von der Schulenburg and senior Matthew Lord defeated senior Carlos Kelaidis and freshman Andrew Puscas 6-1 to earn the doubles point.
In singles, Söderlund bounced back from the Georgia Tech match with a dominant outing against Liu, only dropping one game in a 6-0, 6-1 victory. Ross, in his second consecutive start, continued to impress with a 6-0, 6-1 win against Puscas on the sixth court giving the Cavaliers a 3-0 lead in the match.
Gonzalez picked up a point for Clemson, defeating Kiefer 6-1, 6-3 to make the score 3-1 against Virginia.
On court four, Goetz saved two set points after being down 5-3 to go on to win his first set 7-5 against freshman Spencer Whitaker. Goetz continued to ride that momentum with a dominant second set, winning 6-1 to earn the Cavaliers their seventh consecutive victory.
Rodesch earned the Cavaliers their fifth point against freshman Ryuhei Azuma, while Kelaidis grabbed a second point against von der Schulenburg for Clemson to conclude the 5-2 match win for Virginia.
“I thought it was a great team effort today,” Pedroso said. “Guys competed across the board. We got in some holes in doubles at the beginning, but we problem-solved and figured it [out] and played a little better.”
The Cavaliers continue to find ways to win, and confidence appears to be contagious among the entire team with non-starters stepping up in the victories on Friday and Sunday. Virginia remains undefeated in the ACC and has gradually risen in the rankings as it eyes the number one seed in the country.
Looking ahead, Virginia gets a well-deserved break as its match against Kentucky has been canceled this Friday. The Cavaliers will then face a difficult two-game stretch with Duke March 26 and a huge rematch against No. 1 North Carolina March 28.
For now the team can rest, but the Cavaliers have a real opportunity to earn the top seed in the country with a revenge game win against North Carolina.