The Virginia men’s tennis team won the program’s first National Championship in Champaign, Illinois back in 2013. On Sunday, the 2022 Hoos brought home their fifth title from the same location. It is the first with Andres Pedroso at the helm.
The Cavaliers captured the crown with a 4-0 victory against Kentucky. That completed an incredible run through the tournament that saw the Wahoos lose only one team point during the six-match run through the bracket. They defeated Fairleigh Dickinson, VCU, South Carolina, and Kentucky 4-0, Tennessee 5-0, and Florida 4-1 to claim the trophy.
“It means a great deal to win the National Championship,” Pedroso said in a news release. “I’m just so grateful. So grateful. It was definitely in the back of our minds. We’re always thinking National Championship at some point, but I didn’t know if it was gonna happen this year or year seven or year nine. I am super happy for these guys. They have evolved through the year after five losses in a row in February. So really happy for them.”
Indeed, Virginia stood 5-5 on the season after losses to TCU and Florida in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships on Feb. 18 and Feb. 19. That came after a road span featured losses at Ohio State, Baylor, and TCU. The Cavaliers would not lose again.
UVA closed out the indoor event with a victory against Washington that turned out to be the start of a 23-match winning streak that culminated in the National Championship on Sunday. Along the way, the Hoos also captured the ACC Regular Season and ACC Tournament titles. Other than a close 4-3 win against North Carolina in the conference championship match, Virginia dominated every final score of the postseason.
That included the final against Kentucky.
The Cavaliers jumped out quickly by taking the doubles points with wins at No. 2 and No. 3. Ryan Goetz and Inaki Montes prevailed 6-3 at No. 2, while Gianni Ross and Jeffrey von der Schulenburg cruised 6-1 at No. 3. The momentum picked up steam early in singles as Bar Botzer rolled 6-1, 6-1 at No. 6 and Montes posted a 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 2. That put UVA on the doorstep.
Fittingly, Ross sealed the championship victory. He enrolled at Virginia in the spring of 2018. That same year, Pedroso led his first season as coach of the Cavaliers. On Sunday in Illinois, they – along with senior Jefferson Dockter – celebrated a title when Ross clinched the match with a 6-4, 6-4 victory at No. 5 singles.
“He’s my first recruit at the University of Virginia,” Pedroso said via Virginia Spors TV. “He has worked so hard over the last five years and he came back for a fifth year, which meant the world to me and all the guys. Now he’s getting ready for a pro career and he’s really excited about it. The guy is an unbelievable student. He’s just embraced all aspects of the experience so really proud of him.”
Ross was named NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player. Montes, von der Schulenburg, and Botzer joined him on the All-Tournament Team for singles. The Hoos swept the doubles spots. Botzer and Chris Rodesch took the honors at No. 1, while Ryan Goetz and Montes were the pick at No. 2. Ross and von der Schulenburg were the choice at No. 3.
The fact that the program had captured its first National Championship since 2017 was still sinking in as the celebration continued in Champaign.
“It was surreal for the 15 to 20 minutes after the match ended, but I’m starting to believe it now,” Pedroso said via Virginia Spors TV. “These guys worked hard and they put their put themselves in a position to do it. So really proud of them. Our composure was huge.”
“Where can I start? I don’t have words to describe what I’m feeling at the moment,” Montes said via Virginia Spors TV. “It’s pretty special. We’ve worked really hard like I’ve been saying the whole season. We had a rough start in the season. We lost I think five matches in a row. … So pretty happy. I can’t describe what I’m feeling.”
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Awesome accomplishment, especially given the start. Way to overcome the adversity and continue to improve. Great life lessons.
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