Coming off a weekend where it swept Miami and Florida State by scores of 4-0 each, No.13 Virginia men’s tennis continued its success with wins over Louisville and Notre Dame. The Cavaliers (12-4, 4-0 ACC) rallied to beat the Cardinals (10-5, 2-3 ACC) 4-2 Friday, before taking down the Fighting Irish (10-7, 1-3 ACC) Sunday by a score of 5-2.
For the first time in ACC play, Virginia faced its first true challenge. After cruising to two wins in the opening weekend, Louisville proved to be more of a threat. The Cardinals came out scorching hot, securing two consecutive wins on doubles courts to move ahead 1-0. It was the first time the Cavaliers had lost the doubles point since the indoor season concluded.
Despite the sluggish start, the Cavaliers held their ground on singles courts. Junior Alexander Kiefer started Virginia off with some much needed momentum, securing a 6-0, 6-3 win to tie the match up at one. Junior Jeffrey von der Schulenburg followed suit, taking the crucial second point with a nail-biting 7-5, 6-4 victory.
Virginia and Louisville would split the next two singles matches, bringing the score to 3-2. Needing just one more win in two more matches to secure their fourth point, the Cavaliers looked to freshman Mans Dahlberg. He delivered in a tightly contested battle, winning in three sets, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
Looking to use their momentum to finish their weekend strong, Virginia headed to South Bend, I.N. to take on the Fighting Irish.
Like they did in the Louisville match, the Cavaliers faced a tough test on doubles courts. Junior Iñaki Montes and graduate student Ryan Goetz delivered a 6-2 in the first match, but Notre Dame responded to tie the doubles courts matches at one. In the pivotal third match, the duo of Kiefer and von der Schulenburg won a fierce 7-6 battle to secure the vital doubles point.
On singles courts, Virginia was played close by the Fighting Irish but ultimately fared well enough to secure enough points for the win. Montes de la Torre and Goetz carried over their success from doubles courts to singles courts, with both winning in two games.
Kiefer, rolling to a 6-1, 6-1 win, and Dahlberg, winning 1-6, 6-2, 10-4, delivered the final blows to the Fighting Irish, and Virginia walked away with a 5-2 win.
Though both Notre Dame and Louisville have losing records in the ACC after this weekend, each opponent still provided a challenge for the Cavaliers. In order to keep up with the top of the league, Virginia needed the road sweep, and the team came through. Dahlberg especially had a strong weekend, taking both games for his first winning streak since the first two games of the season. As the team goes into a pivotal homestretch against two of the better teams in the ACC, his confidence will be needed going forward.
The Cavaliers will face their toughest tests in ACC play next weekend, taking on No. 9 North Carolina and No. 12 Duke. After playing such a grueling non-conference schedule, Virginia should be ready, but it will be an uptick in competition from early ACC play.