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State of the Program - Men’s Tennis

Theeeyyyy’rrrreee baaaack

NCAA TENNIS: MAY 16 Division I Men’s & Women’s Tennis Championships Photo by Mary Holt/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It feels strange to say that, despite having won four of the last seven NCAA titles, 2019 was a resurgence for the UVA Men’s Tennis team. That’s because 2018 was so bad considering this team’s expectations. Add to that, after head coach Brian Boland’s departure after the 2017 season, fans were left to wonder whether it was the program or the coach.

Fortunately for the Wahoos, second-year coach Andres Pedroso was able to right the ship rather quickly and get the Cavaliers back to the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals and back to the NCAA Finals site, a place the Hoos have been accustomed to visiting over the last decade.

UVA Men’s Tennis Five Year Results

Year Record ACC Record; Rank Postseason Result
Year Record ACC Record; Rank Postseason Result
2018-2019 24-5 10-2; ACC Runner Up Elite Eight
2017-2018 14-13 6-8; None None
2016-2017 33-2 12-1; ACC CHAMPS!!! NATIONAL CHAMPS!!!
2015-2016 30-4 11-1; ACC Runner Up NATIONAL CHAMPS!!!
2014-2015 30-2 12-0; ACC CHAMPS!!! NATIONAL CHAMPS!!!

2019 Recap

2019 Stars: Carl Soderlund, Brandon Nakashima, Henrik Wiersholm, Giani Ross, William Woodall

Coming into the season, there were legitimate question marks for the Hoos. Not only did they finish with a losing record in conference (something that hadn’t happened since 2003), but they also only had one competitor in the NCAA Singles Tournament: unseeded Aswin Lizen. There was talent, sure, but the talent was unproven. After a solid start to the fall season, Virginia started the conference season with a bang. In just their third conference outing, the Hoos took down #1 Wake Forest, 5-2. That launched them to a 10-2 conference season with the only losses to #13 Notre Dame and the rematch with with Demon Deacons.

In the ACC Tournament, the Cavaliers took down Florida State in the quarterfinals before knocking off the #9 Tar Heels to advance to finals. Finally their bid for the ACC Title came up just short as they fell to the Demon Deacons in the finals. For their efforts, the Hoos swept all the ACC awards with Carl Soderlund winning Player of the Year, Brandon Nakashima winning Freshman of the Year, and head coach Pedroso winning Coach of the Year.

The momentum would continue into the NCAA Tournament where they swept the Charlottesville Regional defeating St. Johns and South Carolina. The following week they took down #12 Stanford to advance to the NCAA Finals site in Orlando. Unfortunately, they ran into Wake Forest in the Quarterfinals and fell 4-2 to end their season. Despite the end result, it was a welcome sign for the Hoos to be playing the final week of the season.

2020 Outlook

Key Returners: Carl Soderlund, Brandon Nakashima, Giani Ross, William Woodall, Matthew Lord, Ryan Goetz

Upon further review, it’s not a surprise that Brian Boland left after the 2017 season. After winning three out of four national championships and having the core of the team leave to graduation, it seems like the right time. His departure left Pedroso with big holes to fill. And fill them he did. Despite the down year in 2018, the pieces were and are there. UVA brought blue-chip rated recruits in each of the last three years, but more importantly the Hoos are LOADED next year.

Out of the teams’ starting lineup, only Henrik Wiersholm is gone. Along with Soderlund and Nakashima, the teams’ stars, Ross is back along with doubles stars from this year William Woodall and Matthew Lord. But the key might be Ryan Goetz. After being injured for two months, Goetz returned in April but never found the form that had him ranked as highly as 54th in the country in the fall. Given the stars they’ve got returning, it’s not a stretch to assume to assume the Hoos will be right back at the finals site come next May.