— Virginia Men's Tennis (@UVAMensTennis) May 20, 2023
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Virginia men’s tennis team (29-4) defeated Texas (26-4) by a 4-1 score on Saturday (May 20) in the semifinals of the 2023 NCAA Men’s Tennis Team Championship at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida.
The Cavaliers won the doubles point in 28 minutes with a pair of 6-1 victories and then took three of four completed singles matches. Junior Alex Kiefer won the clinching point in a third-set tiebreaker on court five.
5-seed Virginia will face 3-seed Ohio State in the championship match on Sunday, May 21 at 12 p.m. The contest will stream live on NCAA.com.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” said head coach Andres Pedroso. “And, you know, we’re so lucky to get to play in the final, another NCAA final. How much fun! And we’re really looking forward to it.”
Virginia jumped out to an early lead with 6-1 wins in doubles by Chris Rodesch and Jeffrey von der Schulenburg on court two and Ryan Goetz and Alex Kiefer at three.
Texas changed the momentum, taking four first sets in singles. Chris Rodesch won one of those first sets, topping No. 1 Eliot Spizzirri in a tiebreaker 7-2.
Micah Braswell tied the match at one with a 6-2, 6-1 victory on court three. Dahlberg, the other Cavalier to win his first set, also won his second to down Nevin Arimilli 6-3, 6-2 and put UVA back in the lead 2-1.
The other four courts all split sets and went to third sets.
Ryan Goetz was the first to finish his third set. He rebounded from his 4-6 setback in the opener against Siem Woldeah on court four to win the second set 6-4. He took the decider 6-1 to put Virginia on the brink.
Kiefer was edged 6-4 in his first set against Cleeve Harper on court five, but took the second set 6-1 to force the third set. Kiefer was up a break and serving 5-4, but Harper broke back to tie it 5-5. The match was still tied at 6-6, forcing a tiebreaker. Kiefer pulled out a 7-5 victory in the tiebreaker to clinch the match.
Rodesch was up 5-3 and serving for his match when play was abandoned. Iñaki Montes was up 3-0 in his third set against No. 28 Pierre-Yves Bailly.
“Credit to the Texas Longhorns,” said Pedroso. “I mean that program is so professional. Their coaches are so classy. Their players battle so hard. It was such a fair match. A couple of people told me before the match, ‘You’re gonna really enjoy playing Texas because they’re so fair and so classy and they bring a lot of energy, but they play college tennis the way it’s supposed to be played.’ So, I want to give the Longhorns a lot of credit and just say congrats for an incredible season.”
Virginia has advanced to eight of the last 12 NCAA finals. The team is playing for its sixth NCAA title.
UVA and Ohio State faced one another twice this season, with the Buckeyes winning 4-1 and 4-0 in those contests.
Virginia has won 21 straight matches and has not lost an outdoor match this season.
#5 Virginia 4, #1 University of Texas 1
- #9 Chris Rodesch (VA) vs. #1 Eliot Spizzirri (UT) 7-6 (2), 4-6, 5-3, unfinished
- #26 Inaki Montes (VA) vs. #28 Pierre-Yves Bailly (UT) 2-6, 7-5, 3-0, unfinished
- #61 Micah Braswell (UT) def. #49 J vd Schulenburg (VA) 6-2, 6-1
- #87 Ryan Goetz (VA) def. #54 Siem Woldeab (UT) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
- Alexander Kiefer (VA) def. Cleeve Harper (UT) 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (5)
- Mans Dahlberg (VA) def. Nevin Arimilli (UT) 6-3, 6-2
- #58 Inaki Montes/William Woodall (VA) vs. #3 Eliot Spizzirri/Cleeve Harper (UT) 3-3, unfinished
- Chris Rodesch/J vd Schulenburg (VA) def. #75 Siem Woldeab/Pierre-Yves Bailly (UT) 6-1
- Ryan Goetz/Alexander Kiefer (VA) def. Chih Chi Huang/Evin McDonald (UT) 6-1
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (3,6,4,5)
Highlights from the semifinal victory against Texas