For the first time since 2012, Virginia men’s tennis has swept All-ACC honors, as junior Carl Söderlund, freshman Brandon Nakashima, and Head Coach Andres Pedroso took home Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, and conference Coach of the Year awards, respectively, on Thursday.
Coming off of three consecutive national titles, Virginia men’s tennis struggled in 2018 (at least by their standards), bowing out in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Columbia, 4-2. This achievement, however, shows UVA’s return to the national scene in 2019; the Hoos currently sit as the country’s fifth-ranked team after compiling a 21-4 overall record.
The marked improvement was thanks in no small part to the aforementioned Söderlund, whose 19 wins in the spring - the majority of which came from the No. 1 position - earned him the conference’s top individual ranking. For the Swedish native, it is the third time in three seasons that he has made an All-ACC team.
Newcomer Brandon Nakashima has also made quite the impact in Charlottesville in just one season, becoming the only member of the team to achieve a spot in both the singles and doubles national rankings at one point in 2019. Nakashima, who played mostly at No. 2 singles and partnered with redshirt senior and second-team All-ACC performer Henrik Wiersholm at No. 1 doubles, went a combined 31-8.
Having big shoes to fill following the departure of four-time NCAA champion head coach Brian Boland, Coach Pedroso, now in his second year at the helm, has righted the ship and put his team back into conference and national contention. His nod for ACC Coach of the Year marks the eighth time a Virginia men’s tennis head coach has earned the distinction.
Up next for the team is the 2019 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship, beginning on Friday, May 3. You can check out who the Cavaliers will be facing on Sunday’s Selection Show, streaming live on NCAA.com this Sunday at 6 PM. Also be sure to stay tuned to Streaking The Lawn for updates on the team’s results.