CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Virginia men’s tennis team (6-1) suffered its first loss of the season in the semifinals of the 46th annual ITA Division I National Men’s Team Indoor Championship Presented by Oracle, losing 4-2 to No. 2 seed North Carolina (5-0) on Saturday (Feb. 13) at the Atkins Tennis Center in Champaign, Ill.
Virginia won the doubles point and built up a 2-0 lead with a win by freshman Jeffrey von der Schulenburg (Zurich, Switzerland) on singles court three, but North Carolina won four-straight singles matches to advance to Sunday’s final.
Virginia will conclude play at the championship when it faces either Baylor or Illinois in a consolation match on Sunday at 4:30 ET.
Junior Ryan Goetz (Greenlawn, N.Y.) and freshman Chris Rodesch (Angelsberg, Luxembourg) opened the match with a 6-3 win on the second doubles court. North Carolina picked up a 6-4 victory on court one to knot things up. Von der Schulenburg and freshman Iñaki Montes (Pamplona, Spain) closed out a 6-4 win on court three to secure the doubles point for the Cavaliers.
In singles, von der Schulenburg won a tight first set 6-4 but dominated No. 41 Benjamin Sigoin 6-0 in the second set to give UVA a 2-0 lead. The Tar Heels answered with a straight-set win on court six to make it 2-1. Montes, who had lost his first set 6-3 on court two, was in a hole in the second set but battled back to make it 5-5, only to fall 7-5 to No. 55 Rinky Hijikata to make it 2-2.
Both Goetz and Rodesch had lost their first sets on courts four and five, with Goetz being edged 8-6 in a tiebreaker to decide his. Both rallied to win their second sets 6-4 to force third sets.
On the top court, grad student Carl Söderlund (Stockholm, Sweden) battled fifth-year senior William Blumberg, who is currently ranked No. 2 in the ITA singles rankings. Söderlund took the first set 7-5, but Blumberg won a tiebreaker 8-6 to decide the second set, forcing a third set.
Rodesch dropped his third set 6-4 to Josh Peck as UNC took its first lead, 3-2. Goetz fought off match points while trailing 5-1 in his third set, but ultimately fell 6-2 to Brian Cernoch who clinched the victory for the Tar Heels.
- Virginia is ranked No. 7 in the latest ITA team rankings but is the No. 6 seed in the eight-team championship. North Carolina is ranked No. 2 and is also the three-seed
- This year’s ITA Indoors’ field has been halved from the usual 16 teams to just eight, and the four-day tournament shortened to three days
FROM ANDRES PEDROSO
“The team fought hard and the Tar Heels were a bit better than us today. They are a great team with a lot of experience and we are gaining experience by the day. I know our guys already have their focus geared towards tomorrow.”
#2 North Carolina 4, #7 Virginia 2
- #2 William Blumberg (NC`) vs. #29 Carl Soderlund (VA) 5-7, 7-6 (6), 1-0, unfinished
- #55 Rinky Hijikata (NC`) def. Inaki Montes (VA) 6-3, 7-5
- #106 J vd Schulenburg (VA) def. #41 Benjamin Sigouin (NC`) 6-4, 6-0
- Brian Cernoch (NC`) def. Ryan Goetz (VA) 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-2
- #100 Josh Peck (NC`) def. Chris Rodesch (VA) 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
- Simon Soendergaard (NC`) def. Gianni Ross (VA) 6-2, 6-4
- #6 William Blumberg/Brian Cernoch (NC`) def. Carl Soderlund/William Woodall (VA) 6-4
- Ryan Goetz/Chris Rodesch (VA) def. #5 Mac Kiger/Simon Soendergaard (NC`) 6-3
- Inaki Montes/J vd Schulenburg (VA) def. Rinky Hijikata/Benjamin Sigouin (NC`) 6-4
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (,3,6,2,5,4)