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Virginia men’s tennis wins fifth national title in program history

The Cavaliers secured the championship with a 4-0 win against Kentucky

<p>The Cavaliers earned their fifth national championship in program history this Sunday.</p>

The Cavaliers earned their fifth national championship in program history this Sunday.

The No. 7 Virginia men’s tennis team (28-5, 12-0 ACC) took down No. 8 Kentucky (26-8, 10-2 SEC) to cap off a stellar tournament run this Sunday, earning its fifth overall national championship — all of which were earned in the past decade. The Cavaliers also defeated No. 2 Florida (26-3, 12-0 SEC) and No. 6 Tennessee (26-8, 8-4 SEC) prior to defeating the Wildcats in the championship match.

Virginia versus Florida

In the quarterfinals, Virginia faced the defending national champion Gators in what looked to be a thriller of a match. However, the Cavaliers took care of business as they cruised to a 4-1 victory. This was the only time that Virginia allowed an opponent to score a point on them throughout the tournament. 

After Virginia won the doubles point, a thunderstorm delayed the match for nearly two and a half hours. When play finally resumed, Florida fifth-year Andy Andrade scored a singles win against senior Ryan Goetz to tie the match at one apiece. That would be all for the Gators, as fifth-year Gianni Ross, along with sophomores Jeffrey von der Schulenberg and Iñaki Montes de la Torre, would all win their matchups to upset Florida and send the Cavaliers to the semifinals.

Virginia versus Tennessee

Virginia remained locked in against the Volunteers, as the pairs of Ross and von der Schulenberg as well as Goetz and Montes won the doubles point yet again. The Cavaliers were also helped by singles victories from Ross and von der Schulenberg. With a 3-0 lead, Montes de la Torre and graduate student Bar Botzer raced to earn the clinching point for the Cavaliers. That honor would officially go to Botzer, as he was able to win his match just seconds before Montes de la Torre. Botzer’s championship pedigree was repeatedly demonstrated throughout the tournament, as he had previously earned a national title in his time with Wake Forest in 2018. With the 5-0 victory, Virginia moved on to the championship match.

Virginia versus Kentucky

The Cavaliers have appeared in seven of the last 11 championship matches, and that experience showed as Virginia handled Kentucky, a team appearing in its first ever national championship, with a 4-0 victory.

Ross and von der Schulenberg started off doubles play with a 6-1 victory, and Goetz and Montes de la Torre were not far behind with a 6-3 victory to clinch the doubles point. Once singles play began, it became a question not of whether the Cavaliers could win their singles matchups, but of who could win first. 

Botzer grabbed the next point for Virginia as he rolled to a 6-1, 6-1 victory on court six. With a 2-0 lead, Goetz, Montes de la Torre and Ross were all in position to earn the final two points of this championship match for Virginia.

Montes de la Torre was next on the board, as he finished off a 6-2, 6-2 win to put the Cavaliers within a point of the trophy. Goetz was involved in a tiebreaker to decide his match at the same time that Ross also began serving with match point. Ross would be first to clinch, however, as his opponent’s shot landed out of bounds to seal the victory for Virginia. Ross was later named NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player.

This was the first title for Coach Andres Pedroso at the helm of the program. 

“It means a great deal to win the national championship,” Pedroso said. “I’m just so grateful. So grateful.”

While the season has come to a close for the Cavaliers as a team, Montes de la Torre, Goetz, von der Schulenberg and Rodesch will compete in the NCAA Individual Championships. Competition began Monday.