May 6, 1997
Men's Tennis Makes First Team Appearance in the NCAA Tournament
Virginia Makes First Team Appearance in NCAA Tournament
This is the first time in school history that the Cavaliers have received a team bid to the NCAA Tournament. Virginia had individual competitors in the NCAA Tournament five times from 1968-73, when the field was comprised solely of individual participants.
Cavaliers Much Improved over '96
Virginia ended last season with an 11-11 record and has improved four wins as the Cavaliers enter the 1997 NCAA Tournament. Virginia is 15-8 this spring, finishing with a 5-3 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Best ACC Performance 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 54-37 (.593) 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 139-78 (.641). Johnston is fourth in Virginia history in wins.
Virginia Plays Most Recently in the ACC Tournament
The Cavaliers' most recent competition came three weeks ago in the ACC Tournament. Virginia came into the ACC Tournament as the fifth seed and defeated Georgia Tech 4-1 in the quarterfinals. The Cavaliers bowed to top-seed Duke 5-0 in the semifinals.
Cavaliers in the ITA Rankings
Virginia jumped to 15th in the Rolex Collegiate Tennis Rankings released on March 18, the highest ranking in the program's history. The Cavaliers are currently ranked 34th in the rankings released April 29.
Virginia has defeated six ranked teams this season (all rankings as of match time)-- #10 South Alabama, #50 South Florida, #24 Florida State, #48 Georgia Tech, #67 Wake Forest and #39 Georgia Tech. All of Virginia's eight losses this spring have been to ranked opponents, including four to teams ranked in the top 20.
Scott Lebovitz is ranked 58th 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 four rankings. He was ranked 54th earlier in the season, the highest ever for a Cavalier tennis player. Lebovitz is 23-16 this season and has six wins over ranked opponents.
Virginia's doubles team of Bear Schofield and Justin Smith is ranked 38th 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. South Carolina during the 1997 Regular Season
This is Virginia's second meeting vs. South Carolina this season. The Cavaliers lost to the Gamecocks 6-1 in Columbia, S.C., earlier this season.
The Cavaliers dropped two of three doubles matches to lose the doubles point. Scott Lebovitz and Hyon Yoo won at #3 for Virginia.
All six singles matches were decided in straight sets. Aaron Strimban was the only Cavalier to win his singles match. He replaced John Winter at #6 and defeated Messay Abebe 6-4, 6-3. Winter aggravated a back injury in his doubles match and was unable to play singles. He is expected to compete this weekend.
Virginia is 12-8 all-time against South Carolina, but hasn't beaten the Gamecocks since a 5-4 win in October 1981. The Cavaliers and Gamecocks have met the last two seasons with South Carolina winning both times.
Cavaliers at the Bill Moore Tennis Center Courts
Five of the six Cavaliers expected to compete in the NCAA Tournament have played at Georgia Tech's Bill Moore Tennis Center. UVa defeated Georgia Tech 4-3 here in a dual match last season. Hyon Yoo (#3), Bear Schofield (#4) and Kent Koch (#5) won singles matches, while Scott Lebovitz (#2) and Aaron Strimban (#6) lost. Lebovitz fell lost a singles match here when UVa played Georgia Tech three years ago during his freshman campaign. Freshman John Winter is the lone Cavalier to have never played here.
Lebovitz, Schofield Named All-ACC: Scott Lebovitz and Bear Schofield were named to the 12-member 1997 All-Atlantic Coast Conference squad as selected by a vote of the league's nine head coaches. Schofield is a holdover from last season's All-ACC squad. He is the first two-time All-ACC selection in school history. This is the first time Lebovitz has been voted to the all-league team.
Three Post 20 Wins
For the third consecutive season, three Cavaliers have won at least 20 matches. Freshman John Winter leads the team with 26 wins. Captain Scott Lebovitz follows with a career-high 23 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 19.
Senior captain Scott Lebovitz returns home for this season's NCAA Tournament. A native of Marietta, Lebovitz graduated from Walton High School. He is second on the team in wins this season with 23. 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 12 players ranked in the Rolex singles rankings at match time and has a 5-7 record.
Junior Aaron Strimban (Marietta/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 NCAA Tournament. Neither of his matches in the ACC Tournament were completed since the team outcome was already decided.
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 is 11-6 when winning the doubles point. Three times 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 12-3 since being paired and have won eight of their last 10.
Virginia's #3 team of Kent Koch and John Winter has won eight of 11 since the change. In an odd twist, they played together for five matches earlier in the season, but lost them all.