No. 8 Virginia men’s tennis — who secured the No. 1 seed in the ACC tournament — cruised to a tournament victory with wins over Miami, Florida State and Duke. The Cavaliers (24-4, 12-0 ACC) defeated the Hurricanes (15-10, 5-7 ACC) in the quarterfinals, the Seminoles (19-8, 8-4) in the semifinals and the No. 2 seed Blue Devils (20-6, 11-1) in the final. The set of victories gives Virginia its third straight ACC tournament victory and has them peaking just as the NCAA championship begins.
Match 1 — Virginia 4, Miami 2
With what appeared to be their easiest opponent on paper, the Cavaliers had their hands full with Miami. In unusual fashion, Virginia started off slow, losing the doubles point. The duo of junior Alexander Kiefer and graduate student Ryan Goetz fell in the first match, while Juniors Chris Rodesch and Jeffrey von der Schulenburg lost by a 6-4 score next to give the Hurricanes an early doubles point.
Facing a deficit going into singles play, Virginia looked to bounce back with its starting six. Rodesch responded, delivering a 6-3, 6-2 win in the first singles match to get Virginia on the board. Freshman Douglas Yaffa looked to give the Cavaliers their first lead, but instead, Miami jumped back on top with a 2-6, 2-6 win.
The Cavaliers reversed their cold start, though, and regained momentum in the match. Von der Schulenburg, Goetz and Kiefer would go on to win the next three matches, sealing off a 4-2 victory in the quarterfinals.
Match 2 — Virginia 4, Florida State 1
With early tournament jitters under their belt, Virginia looked to carry over the momentum from the end of the Miami match. On doubles courts, the Cavaliers went back to the same two duos they used for the quarterfinal match. The pairings worked, as both Kiefer and Goetz and Rodesch and von der Schulenburg delivered crucial victories to give Virginia the doubles point.
The Cavaliers did not stop there, continuing their dominance on singles courts. Many of the same faces continued to provide the necessary sparks. As he did in the quarterfinals, Rodesch opened up singles play with a win, 6-1, 6-4. Von der Schulenburg followed with a 6-3, 6-2 win to give Virginia a commanding 3-0 advantage.
A Florida State win cut the lead to two, but Goetz had no trouble getting Virginia back on track with a match-sealing 6-4, 6-3 win. With the 4-1 victory, the Cavaliers were able to move on to play Duke in the championship game.
Match 3 — Virginia 4, Duke 1
A dominating first two rounds did not mean that the Cavaliers were done. With one match to go to complete the ACC three-peat, Virginia had to be sharp Sunday when it faced Duke. They were just that, dominating the Blue Devils from start to finish. For the third consecutive match, Coach Andres Pedroso chose to keep the same doubles pairings, which paid off to give the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead heading into the singles matches.
On singles courts, the Cavaliers were dominant as well. Von der Schulenburg started the matches this time around with a 6-4, 6-2 win to set the tone for the rest of the match.
Duke responded with a win over junior Iñaki Montes, but that was all the Blue Devils would be able to muster. Three set wins from Goetz and freshman Mans Dahlberg secured a 4-1 win and the ACC Championship.
After hitting a rough stretch early in the season where they lost four of six matches to out-of-conference opponents, the Cavaliers have won 16 straight, with each victory coming in conference play. With the team hitting their stride at the perfect moment, it is easy to see the Cavaliers making another run at a national championship.
Next for the team is the NCAA Championships. Virginia will know where it is selected on May 2 at 6 p.m. during the selection show, and the first round will begin May 5.