The Virginia men’s tennis team had a tough stretch in February. The Hoos opened up the 2022 season 5-0 and only dropped one point in their matchups, but they lost their next five matchups to go to .500. They fell to four different teams (TCU twice), all of whom rank in the top four in the country according to the April 13 ITA Rankings.
Instead of feeling underwhelmed with the missed opportunities to make their mark early in the season, however, the Cavaliers responded in a thunderous way.
Virginia currently sits on a 14-game win streak, and the Hoos went undefeated in conference play for the second year in a row to bring home another ACC Regular Season Championship. They now hold a 26-game win streak over ACC foes that dates back to the 2019-20 season. It marks the 15th title in school history, and the 11th time they went perfect against ACC opponents. (Hoo fans can discuss the team on TheSabre.com tennis message board!)
Virginia coach Andres Pedroso has been proud of the way the team has responded to the February stretch.
“You know, we had a tough February losing five matches in a row to top-five teams, but we learned a lot from it,” Pedroso said. “And the guys responded, and you saw that in the ACC season. So, I’m really happy about it. They were super professional. They just keep evolving, keep growing, and keep working hard together and that’s what this team does when we’re playing together.”
Not only did Virginia win another ACC title, but the team also celebrated Senior Day. Gianni Ross was one of the three players honored. Coming into the day, he compiled a 79-11 record in singles. The other two players, Jackson Allen and Jefferson Dockter, both saw action in singles. For Allen, the Minnesota transfer had not seen as much action as he did at his prior school, but he played in his ninth match of the season. Dockter played his first match of the season from the No. 6 spot.
Boston College came in with a 0-11 record in the ACC, but the Eagles were competitive with the Cavaliers in doubles. Bar Botzer and Alexander Kiefer handled their match at No. 3 doubles with ease, winning 6-1. At No. 2, Ross and William Woodall could never get momentum going, and they fell 6-3 to put all eyes on Court 1. Ryan Goetz and Iñaki Montes held a 4-1 lead early at No. 1 doubles, but Boston College brought it to within reach at 5-4. However, Goetz and Montes won 6-4 after winning the deciding point at deuce.
In singles, No. 17 Chris Rodesch and No. 24 Jeffrey von der Schulenburg, who both have 20 wins or more this season, were not part of the starting lineup. Although he played in doubles, No. 37 Montes was also absent from the top 6. Despite the shuffling, the Cavaliers were perfect from singles as no one dropped a set.
Goetz and Ross, who were on Courts 2 and 3, respectively, dropped one game each, dominating their opponents. This became Ross’ 80th singles win in his Virginia career. The match on Court 4 ended next with Allen’s 6-0, 6-3 win.
The matches on Courts 1, 5, and 6 shared a couple things in common. For one, all matches started at 2-2 in the first set. Another commonality was that the Virginia player would gain control very soon after. Dockter won 6-2, 6-3 in his first singles match in ACC play since 2018. Botzer finished right after in his 6-4, 6-1 win. With the rest of the team looking on, Kiefer clinched the sweep in singles for Virginia, 6-2, 6-3, to commence the celebration.
With this win, Virginia is now 21-0 all-time against Boston College. Next up for the Cavaliers will be the ACC Championship that take place in Rome, Georgia. Virginia receives a double-bye and takes on the winner between the No. 8 seed Florida State and the No. 9 seed Notre Dame in the ACC Championship quarterfinals on Friday.
Even with the team’s dominance in conference play, Pedroso and Virginia will look to reset and keep focus on the postseason.
“We’ve got a lot of tough competition at the ACC Championships,” Pedroso said. “We’re not taking anybody lightly. Every match can be a war. We’ll be ready. That’s how it is in the postseason. It’s everyone’s 0-0. No wins, no losses. It’s a new season. So that’s how we’re gonna approach it.”