The No. 6 Virginia men’s tennis team (22-5, 12-0 ACC) made an exciting run through the ACC Men’s Tennis Championship as the tournament’s top seed, emerging as champions Sunday. Having won both the conference regular season and tournament titles, they now await their positioning in the NCAA Championship.
Quarterfinals: Virginia versus Florida State
The Cavaliers opened play with a 4-0 victory over the No. 8 seed Seminoles (16-10, 5-7 ACC), and Virginia looked extremely dominant throughout the match. Sophomore Iñaki Montes de la Torre and senior Ryan Goetz started doubles play with a 6-2 victory, and they were followed by a 6-0 win from sophomore Chris Rodesch and graduate student Bar Botzer to secure the doubles point for Virginia. Graduate student Gianni Ross and sophomore Alexander Kiefer saw their doubles match go unfinished as the Cavaliers had already clinched the point.
Botzer then went on to win the first singles point for the Cavaliers, and he was quickly joined by Rodesch and Montes to clinch the 4-0 victory. All three won their singles matchups in straight sets to send Virginia on to the semifinals against fourth-seeded Louisville (19-8, 9-3 ACC). Sophomore Jeffrey von der Schulenburg and Goetz were both leading by a set, and Ross was in a tight battle before their matches were abandoned.
Semifinals: Virginia versus Louisville
The Cavaliers earned another sweep against an opponent with their 4-0 defeat of the Cardinals. In doubles, Botzer and Rodesch picked up a 6-3 win on court two, while Montes and Goetz had to fight for a 7-5 victory on court one. Ross and Kiefer had reached the tiebreaker by the time Montes and Goetz had clinched the doubles point for Virginia.
In singles, Rodesch wasted no time extending the Cavaliers’ lead to two as he quickly dispatched his opponent with a 6-2, 6-2 win on the top court. Ross was the next to finish with a 6-1, 6-3 victory on court six. Finally, Goetz won the clinching point on court four to send Virginia to the ACC title game for a rematch of last year’s championship against No. 17 North Carolina (16-8, 9-3 ACC) — the No. 3 seed in the tournament.
Championship: Virginia versus North Carolina
In one of their biggest tests of the season, the Cavaliers had to come from behind in order to defeat the Tar Heels and capture the program’s 14th ACC Championship.
In doubles, Rodesch and Botzer won their matchup yet again, but North Carolina stormed back to earn victories on courts one and three to take the doubles point and the early 1-0 lead over Virginia.
Ross picked up a singles win in straight sets on court six to tie the match at one apiece, and von der Schulenberg had to come back from being down a set in order to win his matchup in three sets. Goetz was able to do the same, coming from behind to earn another point for the Cavaliers and build a comfortable 3-1 lead for the team. Goetz would later be named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
However, Virginia was not out of the woods yet, as North Carolina responded with two singles victories of their own, dispatching Botzer and Rodesch to tie the match up at three, and putting the fate of the ACC title on court number two, where Montes was engaged in a thriller of a match.
This final singles matchup went all the way to a tiebreaker in the third set, in which Montes grinded out a hard-fought victory by a score of 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 before being swarmed by his teammates in celebration.
“This is what an ACC final should look like every single year,” Coach Andres Pedroso said. “Our guys just showed how tough they are, how resilient they are and all the work that they put in. I’m really proud of them. We’re looking forward to the next two, three weeks. We think we have a chance against anyone and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Next up, Virginia will wait to learn its seeding for the NCAA tournament, which will be announced in a selection show Monday at 6 p.m. The Cavaliers will next take the court when the NCAA Championship begins at four-team regional sites May 6.