CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 5 Virginia men’s tennis team (18-3, 9-2 ACC) picked up a 4-2 victory over No. 9 North Carolina (16-5, 8-3 ACC) on Friday (April 12) on the indoor courts at the Boar’s Head Sports Club.
The Cavaliers won the doubles point and then battled for singles victories on courts one, two and six to down the Tar Heels. Senior Aswin Lizen (Douglas, Isle of Man) clinched the victory with a win on court six.
“Credit to North Carolina for such a well-played match,” said head coach Andres Pedroso. “Once again, we played a complete match. Tons of ups and downs, but that is what we have done all year. It is what we talk about every single day, and these guys are getting really good at it. The resilience of this team has impressed me all year. That is our biggest weapon.”
In doubles, North Carolina picked up a 6-3 victory on court three before senior Henrik Wiersholm (Kirkland, Wash.) and freshman Brandon Nakashima (San Diego, Calif.) evened the match with a 6-3 victory of their own on court one. On court two, junior Carl Soderlund (Stockholm, Sweden) and sophomore Matthew Lord (Bloomfield, Conn.) picked up a late break to win 7-5 and give the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead heading into singles.
In singles, the two teams split first sets with UVA winning three, including sophomore Gianni Ross (Chicago, Ill.) taking his in a tiebreaker, 7-3, and UNC taking three. The Tar Heels closed out straight-set victories on courts three and four to take a 2-1 lead. Söderlund, who had won his first set 6-0, broke No. 35 Benjamin Sigouin to win his second set, 7-5, and tie the match at two. Nakashima, who split sets with No. 95 Joshua Peck on court two, won the third set, 6-3, to give UVA the 3-2 advantage.
Lizen had rebounded from being edged, 6-4, in his first set by winning his second set, 6-1. In the third set, Lizen went up a break, but then was broken himself by Mac Kiger. The third set wound up in a 6-6 tie, forcing a tiebreaker. Lizen fell behind 5-2 in the tiebreaker but came charging back, winning five-straight points to win it 7-5 and clinch the victory for the Cavaliers. UNC was up a break in the third set on court fiver when play was halted.
With the victory, the Cavaliers are now alone in second place in the ACC standings after coming into the match tied with North Carolina.
Virginia closes out the regular season by hosting Virginia Tech (16-7, 6-5 ACC) on Sunday, April 14 at 1 p.m. at the Snyder Tennis Center. Sunday’s match is Senior Day with Wiersholm and Lizen set to be recognized in a pre-match ceremony.