By Jeff White (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dropping the doubles point is never ideal in an NCAA tennis tournament, especially in the later rounds, but the University of Virginia men’s team stayed poised after falling behind 1-0 in its quarterfinal with Kentucky on Thursday night.
The reigning NCAA champion Cavaliers had faced—and overcome—such obstacles before, so they weren’t fazed as they headed into the singles matches.
“They know that it’s part of the experience of going all the way to a national championship,” UVA head coach Andres Pedroso said Friday afternoon. “Most likely you’re going to need to lose the doubles point and come back in singles at least once on your way to the final. So it’s just part of the process, and to be a great team you have to be able to bounce back from [dropping] a doubles point.”
Storms forced the suspension of play Thursday night before any of the singles match could be completed at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. Play resumed Friday at 10 a.m., and the fifth-seeded Wahoos went back to work against No. 4 seed Kentucky.
The result was a 4-2 victory that sends Virginia to the NCAA semifinals for the 12th time in the past 16 tournaments.
“We just came in with the right mentality,” graduate student Ryan Goetz said after the quarterfinal, the rematch of last year’s NCAA final. “You win some doubles points, you lose some. That’s part of the game. After the doubles point, whether we win it or lose it, it’s 0-0, and we fight to the end in singles.”
UVA (28-4), which has won 20 consecutive dual matches, will meet top-seeded Texas (26-3) at noon Saturday in Orlando. Second-seeded TCU will play third-seeded Ohio State in the other semifinal.
Kentucky finished the season at 27-5. The Wildcats edged Virginia 4-3 in Charlottesville on Feb. 3 and had momentum after winning the doubles point Thursday night, but the Hoos felt confident when play was suspended.
“We felt like we were in a good position,” Pedroso said. “We got off to good starts on most of the courts, and it gave us a look at their singles and how they were going to play against us. So I think we had a pretty clear idea of what we needed to do today to get four singles points and eventually, after a lot of ups and downs and a lot of challenges, which is what this tournament is all about, we got those four points.”
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