CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia has earned an at-large bid to compete in the 2019 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship and will host first and second round matches at the Snyder Tennis Center on Friday and Saturday, May 3-4.
The Cavaliers (21-4), the No. 5 national seed and the top team in the regional, will take on St. John’s (19-5) on Friday (May 3) at 1 p.m. No. 17 South Carolina (17-9) and East Tennessee State (20-4) will play the opening match of the regional on Friday at 10 a.m.
The winners of Friday’s matches will face one another on Saturday (May 4) at 1 p.m.
Admission for the matches is free and free parking is available at the Culbreth Garage. Parking is also available at the Central Grounds Garage (hourly rates apply). There will be live scoring and a live video stream for all three matches through links posted on VirginiaSports.com.
This is the Cavaliers’ 16th-consecutive NCAA Championship bid and the 15th time that they have hosted a regional. The Cavaliers come into the tournament with a 63-16 record in the championships. It’s .797 winning percentage is second only to Stanford at .820 (109-24). Virginia has won four of the last six NCAA titles, including three-consecutive from 2015-17. The Cavaliers have played in six of the last eight NCAA finals, made semifinal appearances in 10 of the past 12 years, have reached the quarterfinals in 13 of the last 14 seasons and have been a top-eight seed 15 times.
The Cavaliers are coming off a runner-up finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The team has won nine of its last 10 matches, its only loss coming against Wake Forest in the ACC tournament final. UVA boasts the 2019 ACC Player of the Year in junior Carl Soderlund (Stockholm, Sweden), ACC Freshman of the Year in Brandon Nakashima (San Diego, Calif.) and the ACC Coach of the Year in second-year head coach Andres Pedroso. Pedroso has helped lead the team to a 12-4 record against ranked teams this year including picking up six wins over top-10 opponents.
Söderlund is ranked No. 3 in the latest Oracle ITA Rankings and earned the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Singles Championship. The first-team All-ACC honoree has compiled a 19-4 record in singles, including a 13-4 record at No. 1 singles. Söderlund is 8-1 in his last 10 matches.
Nakashima, ranked No. 82 in singles, has a 9-2 record at No. 2 singles this season and a 14-5 overall record. He is 6-1 in his last seven completed matches, with his only loss coming against a top-40 opponent. Nakashima and senior Henrik Wiersholm (Kirkland, Wash.) are the first alternates for the NCAA Doubles Championship. The tandem is currently ranked No. 33 and have a 15-3 record as a team.
Senior Aswin Lizen (Douglas, Isle of Man) comes into the NCAA Tournament after winning back-to-back matches in the ACC semifinals and finals. Lizen, one of the two senior captains on the team (along with Wiersholm), has a 12-7 mark in dual matches this spring.
St. John’s won its first BIG EAST title since the 2015-16 season to earn the conference’s automatic qualification into the championship. The Red Storm has won its last 13 matches. Andrei Crapcenco was named the BIG EAST Player of the Year with an 11-6 overall record and a 10-3 mark at No. 1. Dusan Vukicevic was named the BIG EAST tournament’s most outstanding player after rallying from behind to take the final two sets and clinch the Red Storm’s title. This will be the second-ever meeting between the two schools and first since the Cavaliers downed the Red Storm 4-0 in Charlottesville in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Championship.
South Carolina reached the semifinals of the SEC Championship for the first time since 1999 after upsetting No. 11 Texas A&M, but fell 4-2 to then No. 6 Mississippi State in the semis. A pair of Gamecocks are ranked in singles with junior Paul Jubb coming in at No. 5 in the nation, matching the highest rank in program history, with a 31-4 record. Daniel Rodrigues, with a 31-10 record, is ranked No. 92. This is the 25th time that the Gamecocks have earned a spot in the NCAA Championship field, and the sixth time under head coach Josh Goffi. In their last two seasons in the event, South Carolina advanced to the second round. The Gamecocks have reached the round of 16 11 times in program history with the most recent coming in 2004-05. South Carolina’s best NCAA Championship finish came with a spot in the semifinals in 1989. The Virginia women’s tennis team is playing in a regional at South Carolina and could possibly face the Gamecock women on the same day the UVA and South Carolina men could play one another. Virginia holds a 12-10 advantage in the all-time series with South Carolina’s last victory over UVA coming in 1998.
ETSU comes into the tournament on an 11-match winning streak, earning the Southern Conference’s automatic bid. Migual Este, who plays at No. 6, is on a 16-match winning streak. Frazier Rengflo has a 13-2 record at No. 1 this season and is 7-1 in his last 10 matches. This is the Buccaneer’s 13 NCAA Tournament appearance and the squad is aiming for its third postseason win as the Bucs defeated Notre Dame in 2008 and Alabama in 2010. Virginia is 4-0 all-time against ETSU.
The 16 teams advancing from the second round of the tournament will participate in two-team super regionals on the campuses of the higher-seeded teams, set to take place on May 10-11. The eight super regional winners will then advance to the finals site, the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., with the quarterfinals through championship matches being contested May 16-19. NCAA Singles and Doubles will take place May 20-25 in that same location.
2019 NCAA TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP – CHARLOTTESVILLE REGIONAL
FRIDAY, MAY 3
10 a.m. – South Carolina vs East Tennessee State
1 p.m. – #5 Virginia vs. Saint John’s
SATURDAY, MAY 4
1 p.m. – Second Round Match