It came down to the final court, but the Virginia Men’s Tennis team brought home the ACC title in dramatic fashion on Sunday afternoon. The No. 1-seeded Hoos defeated No. 3-seed North Carolina, 4-3, to capture the program’s 13 ACC title and first since 2017.
“Incredible tournament for the Wahoos,” head coach Andres Pedroso said of the first title under his watch. “We’re really excited! Doubles was tough. We came a point away from winning that doubles point. These guys responded like they have all year, so credit to them. They’ve worked so hard, and built an amazing culture.”
North Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the contest thanks to the doubles’ point, meaning the Cavaliers would have to win four of the six singles matches to take the win. UNC’s Brian Cernoch’s cruised to a victory (6-0, 6-2) over Jeffrey von der Schulenburg on Court Two, giving the Heels a 2-0 lead. Virginia won the first set in all but two of the singles matches, setting them up for success.
ACC Championship MVP, Carl Soderland cut the deficit to 2-1 with a quick 6-3, 6-0 win over Benjamin Sigouin on Court One, and Gianni Ross took out Mac Kiger, 6-1, 6-4, on Court Six to knot things up. The Tar Heels regained the advantage shortly after as Virginia’s Chris Rodesch fell in straight sets on Court Three.
A Ryan Goetz victory on Court Five tied things at 3-3, and all eyes turned to the action on Court Four as first year Iñaki Montes was trying to clinch the win over Simon Soendergaard. Montes won the first set 6-4 and took a 5-2 lead in the second. Soendergaard broke Montes to make it 5-3, then held serve to cut his advantage to 5-4. That’s as close as UNC would get to forcing a third set as Montes put him away with a laser to secure the title.
“The culture, the brotherhood these guys have created over the last four years, I give them all the credit,” Pedroso stated after the win. “These guys support each other on the court, off the court, you name it. These guys are there for each other. That’s why they’re so tough to beat. That’s what these guys do. It doesn’t matter if we lose the doubles point, it doesn’t matter if we win it. These guys know that the margin between winning and losing is razor-thin in the sport and collegiate athletics, so they came out and did what they did.”
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Next up, Virginia will see what seed they get in the upcoming NCAA tournament. As champion of the ACC, they get an automatic qualifier to the tournament (not that they would have missed it otherwise). The rest of the field will be announced on May 3, with first and second rounds taking place May 7-9.