UVa Men’s Tennis: There They Go Again!

First, STOP READING! There is a pre-requisite for reading this post. Do not read another word here until you re-read (you did read it last year, right?) UVa Men’s Tennis: A Dramatic, Perhaps Unique, National Championship! from almost exactly one year ago. Even assuming you did read it a year ago you’ve probably forgotten it by now … so go back and read it again.

…. (Pause while you re-read)

By now, whether you’ve followed the above instructions or not, you’ve probably guessed that, yes, the UVa men’s tennis team has just won the NCAA National Championship, again — the sixth time in eleven years.

There are a couple of striking similarities to last year, other than the final victory in the NCAA tournament. Like last year, UVa lost four matches between Feb. 3 and Feb. 19: 3-4 against No. 5 Kentucky (whom, recall, UVa defeated 4-0 in the 2022 NCAA final); 1-4 against then No. 1 Ohio State; 0-4 against No. 4 Michigan; and again 0-4 against still No. 1 Ohio State. As a result of the defeats UVa’s national ranking fell from No. 1 at the beginning of the season, as the defending NCAA champion, to No. 18 in short order.

Again like last year, there followed a long (21 match) winning streak, resulting in UVa entering the NCAA championship tournament in Orlando ranked, and seeded in the tournament, No. 5. UVa’s tournament results:

  • Quarterfinal: Defeated No. 4 Kentucky 4-2
  • Semifinal:      Defeated No. 1 Texas 4-1
  • Final:              Defeated No. 3 Ohio State 4-0, winning the doubles point and Nos. 1, 2, and 3 singles in straight sets. Ohio State would probably have been ranked No 1 going into the final, after No. 1 Texas had just lost to Virginia and having just beaten No. 2 Texas Christian 4-0 in its semifinal.

Again like last year, UVa defeated teams to whom it had lost earlier in the year, twice to Ohio State by lopsided scores.

Which brings us back to UVa’s 4-0 defeat of Ohio State in the final — as I write, a few minutes ago. I know you’ve just re-read my post linked above, written just after UVa’s victory last year, but in case you cheated and didn’t re-read it, let me quote from it one of the ten reasons I gave why that victory was dramatic and perhaps unique:

7. As the whole world now knows (or at least that portion of it interested in college tennis), in the final match UVa defeated Kentucky 4-0. What is less well-known, or appreciated, is how unusual that score was. The last time an NCAA finalist won without allowing its opponent a single point was 2007! In fact, going back nearly 50 years, to the beginning of the current system of scoring, there have been only eight 4-0 championship matches (including UVa’s recent one), and five of those were won by Stanford when it thoroughly dominated the game in the 1990s. UVa is thus one of only 3 schools in 50 years to have ever won a championship match 4-0.

Time to re-write the record book. UVa now joins Stanford (against Georgia in 1997 and 1998) as the only two teams ever to win consecutive national championships 4-0.


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