CARY, N.C. – The No. 5 Virginia men’s tennis team (21-3) advanced to the final of the 2019 ACC Men’s Tennis Championship after picking up a 4-3 victory over No. 9 North Carolina (18-6) in a semifinal match on Saturday (April 20) at the Cary Tennis Center.
Virginia, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, will face top-seeded Wake Forest (28-3) in Sunday’s championship match. First serve is at 10 a.m. Live stats will be available for the match. It will also stream online as an ACC Network Extra broadcast, which is available to authenticated subscribers of ESPN3 through WatchESPN and the ESPN app.
North Carolina jumped out to a 2-0 lead after securing the doubles point and a straight-set victory on court two. Virginia won three-straight singles matches to take a 3-2 lead, but UNC won a three-set battle on court five to tie the score at three. Junior Carl Söderlund pulled out the victory for the Cavaliers with a win on court one.
“Again, credit to another great team in North Carolina,” said head coach Andres Pedroso. “Both teams left their hearts and souls on the court. I am really proud of our guys. It was just a great college tennis match and I am really humbled and honored to have been a part of it. Every match in college tennis comes down to a point here and there, especially in the post season. Our guys have been working really hard and they got that point today. We are really looking forward to the final tomorrow.”
North Carolina won the doubles point and had the early momentum, winning three first sets in singles and taking the early 2-0 lead with a straight-set victory on court two. Senior Aswin Lizen (Douglas, Isle of Man) put the Cavaliers on the board by winning 6-3, 6-4 over Mac Kiger on court six. Immediately after Lizen clinched his win, three courts went into tiebreakers to determine their second sets. Sophomore Gianni Ross (Chicago, Ill.) won his tiebreaker, 7-2, to pick up a 6-2, 7-6 victory on court four and tie the match at two. Freshman Ryan Goetz (Greenlawn, N.Y.) rebounded from a 6-1 loss in his first set by winning his second-set tiebreaker on court five, 7-3, to force a third set. Söderlund also prevailed in his tiebreaker on court one, 7-4, forcing a third set against No. 19 William Blumberg.
Senior Henrik Wiersholm (Kirkland, Wash.) avoided a tiebreaker on court three by breaking Josh Peck to finish off a 6-3, 7-5 victory that put the Cavaliers ahead 3-2.
Goetz battled on court five, but ultimately fell 6-4, to tie the match at three.
On the remaining court, Söderlund was serving, up 5-3. He fell behind 15-40, but battled back to deuce, only to double fault, putting the match back on serve. Blumberg, on his subsequent service, fell behind 15-40, only to battle back to deuce. Söderlund won the deuce point to clinch the victory for the Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers have won 12 ACC Championships (2004-05, 2007-15, 2017), tied with Duke for second-most in the history of the conference and trailing only North Carolina. Wake Forest is the defending champion. This will be the fourth time in the last five years and UVA and Wake have faced one another in the championship match.
This will be the third meeting this season between the Cavaliers and Demon Deacons. Virginia won the first meeting, 5-2, in Charlottesville while Wake Forest won the conference match-up, 6-1.
The winner of the championship match will earn the Atlantic Coast Conference’s automatic bid into the 2019 NCAA Championship. The full field for the tournament will be announced a week from Monday, on April 29 at 6 p.m.