April 15, 1997
Virginia Men Prepare for 39th Annual ACC Tournament
Where: The Racquet Club of the South--Norcross, Ga. (April 17-20, 1997)
Cavaliers Much Improved over '96: Virginia ended last season with an 11-11 record and has improved three wins as the Cavaliers enter the 1997 ACC Tournament. Virginia is 14-7 this spring, including a 5-3 ACC mark. The Cavaliers tied North Carolina and Georgia Tech for third place in the ACC, but are seeded fifth in the tournament due to various tie-breakers.
Best ACC Peformance in 13 Years: The Cavaliers' 5-3 ACC record this spring is their best league record since the 1984 Cavalier squad compiled a 5-2 league mark. Virginia's finish this season (tied for third) is also its best ACC finish since the 1984 team finished third.
Head Coach Thomas Johnston: Thomas Johnston has guided Virginia to its best season in recent years in 1997. In his fourth year as head of the Cavalier program, Johnston has a 53-36 (.596) record at Virginia. He was the head coach for six seasons at the Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) Colleges from 1985-90 and has an overall career record of 138-77 (.642).
Virginia in the ACC Tournament: The Cavaliers are the fifth seed in the ACC Tournament for the second consecutive season and the third time overall.Last season Virginia upset Clemson 4-1 in the quarterfinals before falling to top seed North Carolina in the semifinals. The Cavaliers were also the #5 seed in 1992 and lost to Clemson 5-2. The highest the Cavaliers have been seeded since the single elimination format was implemented in 1990 is #4 (1990, '91).
Virginia has advanced to the semifinals three times (1990, '94, '96), but has never played in the finals.
Cavaliers in the ITA Rankings: Virginia jumped to 15th in the Rolex Collegiate Tennis Rankings released on March 18. It was the highest ranking in the program's history. The Cavaliers are currently ranked 35th in the rankings released April 15.
Virginia has defeated five ranked teams this season (all rankings as of match time)-- #10 South Alabama, #50 South Florida, #24 Florida State, #48 Georgia Tech and #67 Wake Forest. All of Virginia's seven losses this spring have been to ranked opponents.
Scott Lebovitz is ranked 54th nationally among singles players in the current ranking. The senior from Marietta, Ga., was unranked to begin the season, but has been listed in the last three rankings. His rank is believed to be the highest ever for a Virginia men's tennis player.
Virginia's doubles team of Bear Schofield and Justin Smith is ranked 35th in the current doubles ranking., They are 11-9 this season and advanced to the quarterfinals of doubles play at the National Clay Court Championships in September.
Virginia vs. Georgia Tech during the 1997 Regular Season: The Cavaliers and Yellow Jackets engaged in one of the most thrilling ACC matches of the spring on March 30 in Charlottesville. Virginia won 5-2, but the match was much closer than the final score indicated.
Bear Schofield's upset of Benjamin Cassaigne at No. 2 clinched the victory for the Cavaliers. Schofield, playing at the number-two position for just the second match of the year, downed the nation's 45th-ranked player in a rousing three-set match 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Virginia won the doubles point with victories at #2 and #3. Scott Lebovitz put the Cavaliers ahead 2-0 with a 6-3, 6-1 win over B.J. Traub at #1, but the Yellow Jackets got closer with Matt Cozad's win over Justin Smith at #4. Virginia's Hyon Yoo won at #3, but Georgia Tech stayed close with Tim Bibby's win over Kent Koch at #6. With the final outcome in doubt, Virginia got the clincher from Schofield at #2 and another win by John Winter at #5.
Three Post 20 Wins: For the third consecutive season, three Cavaliers have won at least 20 matches. Freshman John Winter leads the team with 25 wins. Captain Scott Lebovitz follows with a career-high 22 wins. This is the fourth consecutive season Lebovitz has won at least 20 matches. Bear Schofield is third on the team with 20 wins. Hyon Yoo is bidding to become the fourth Cavalier with 20 wins--he has 18.
Coming Home: Senior captain Scott Lebovitz returns to home for this season's ACC Tournament. A native of Marietta, Lebovitz graduated from Walton High School. He is second on the team in wins this season with 22. He is the first Cavalier in the 1990s to win 20+ matches in four consecutive seasons. As Virginia's #1 player, he has played some of the top players in the nation this season. This spring he has faced 11 players ranked in the Rolex singles rankings at match time and has a 5-6 record.
Junior Aaron Strimban (Marietta, Ga/The Walker School) and freshman Jeff Dawkins (Atlanta/The Lovett School) also hail from the Atlanta area.
Schofield Has the Hot Hand: Junior Bear Schofield has been one of the Cavaliers' hottest players this spring. He has an overall record of 20-12, but is 14-6 this spring in dual matches. He went undefeated in March, putting together a nine-match winning streak during the month. It was the longest winning streak for Virginia in two years. His streak ended when he lost two consecutive matches to begin April, but he has won his last two matches heading into the ACC Tournament..
Doubles Play Comes Around: The Cavaliers lost the doubles point in four of the first six matches of the spring forcing head coach Thomas Johnston to make some changes in his line-up. With a revamped doubles line-up in place against #15 VCU on Feb. 22 the Cavaliers won the doubles point. And the move continues to pay dividends. Since the change Virginia has won the doubles point 11 times and lost it just four times. Twice when Virginia lost the doubles point, the Cavaliers won the match anyway.
Bear Schofield and Hyon Yoo have been the most lethal combination. They are 12-2 since being paired and have won eight of their last nine.
Virginia's No. 3 team of Kent Koch and John Winter has won eight of nine since the change. In an odd twist, they played together for five matches earlier in the season, but lost them all.
Virginia in the ACC Tournament (1986-96)
TEAM W L Pct First Round* Quarterfinals* Semifinals* Finals*
Clemson 1 3 .250 0-0 1-1 0-1 0-0
Duke 0 2 .000 0-0 0-1 0-0 0-0
Florida State 0 1 .000 0-0 0-1 0-0 0-0
Georgia Tech 1 2 .333 0-0 0-1 0-1 0-0
Maryland 2 1 .667 1-0 1-0 0-0 0-0
North Carolina 3 2 .600 0-0 1-0 0-1 0-0
N.C. State 1 0 1.000 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Wake Forest 0 1 .000 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Total 8 12 .400 1-0 3-4 0-3 0-0
* - since single elimination format instituted in 1990