After three straight seasons (and four of the last five) that ended with the Cavaliers hoisting the NCAA championship trophy, the Virginia men’s tennis team crashed back to Earth in 2017-18. The Hoos finished with an overall record of 14-13 (5-7 ACC) and fell to Columbia in the second round of the NCAA tournament. This was the first season under new head coach and Director of Tennis Andres Pedroso. Later this week, we’ll take a deep dive into the issues that the Cavaliers had to deal with this season, including youth, inexperience, and some injury.
Today, we’re just going to look back on the Cavaliers’ season. Let’s get to it!
Virginia kicked off the season with back-to-back wins over Richmond and Temple, both of which were narrow 4-3 victories. The Hoos then dropped two straight — to Texas Tech and Ole Miss — before a win over Eastern Kentucky and a loss to Kentucky. Three straight wins saw the Cavaliers to an early 6-3 record on the season before playing an outlier ACC game in Louisville.
Outside of No. 9 Illinois, Virginia didn’t play any ranked teams in the non-conference. The Illini used the doubles point — one of Virginia’s weak spots this past season — to snag a 4-3 win in Urbana and keep Pedroso’s squad from snagging their first big win of his tenure.
The Hoos wrapped up the non-con schedule with a win over the University of Central Florida to finish with a 7-5 record outside of the ACC.
The Hoos dropped their first ACC match of the year in a 6-1 drubbing by Louisville. Virginia followed it up with four straight ACC wins over Boston College, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, and Clemson. To balance things out, Virginia lost the next four, falling to No. 21 Duke, No. 5 North Carolina, Miami, and No. 12 Florida State.
Against North Carolina and Florida State, the Hoos struggled mightily and fell 6-1 and 5-2, respectively. Virginia held their own against Duke and Miami, battling before losing 4-3 in both cases.
Virginia’s best ACC win of the season came over No. 23 NC State, but the Hoos followed it up with back to back losses to Wake Forest and Virginia Tech. Wake went on to win the NCAA tournament, but dropping one to the Hokies in Blacksburg was devastating as the Cavaliers fell in a third set tiebreaker in the final match.
The Cavaliers earned the No. 9 seed in the tournament and got revenge on their early season loss to Louisville with a decisive 4-1 victory over the Cardinals. That win earned another matchup with No. 1 (both in the nation and in the ACC seeding) Wake Forest. Just like the initial meeting, the Demon Deacons had no problem dispatching the Hoos, winning 4-1.
At 13-12, Virginia was sent to the New York Regional at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. to take on VCU in the first round. The Hoos picked up the crucial doubles point to kick things off, and swept the Rams 4-0 to easily move on to the second round where they faced No. 16 Columbia.
The second round match against the Lions was delayed four hours due to rain, and after just shy of two hours of play, rain forced the contest indoors. Columbia went ahead 2-0 thanks to the doubles point and a win on court five. Carl Söderlund and Aswin Lizen won their individual matches, but victories on courts three and six secured the win for the Lions.