Men's Tennis Prepares for ACC Tournament

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

April 23, 1998

Virginia Men's Tennis
40th Annual ACC Tournament
Bill Moore Tennis Center
Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Ga.
April 23-26, 1998

Cavaliers Putting it Together Down the Stretch: Virginia is having one of its best all-around seasons in over a decade in 1998. The Cavaliers are 14-6 overall this spring, including a 5-3 mark in ACC play. Since dropping consecutive conference matches to Clemson and Wake Forest (by identical 5-2 scores), they have reeled off five wins in the last six matches heading into the ACC Tournament. The lone setback was a 5-2 loss to top-seed Duke on April 11. The Wahoos have won four of their last five matches against teams ahead of them in the rankings--again, the lone loss was the Duke match. Virginia closed out the regular season with impressive wins over Florida State (5-2) and North Carolina (6-1).

Second Consecutive Upper Division ACC Finish: When Thomas Johnston took over the head coaching reins in 1994, some of his goals were to build one of the top programs in the country and compete for ACC championships. He is clearly working toward those goals by regularly finding his team ranked in the polls. But the push for an ACC title is getting closer, too. This season the Cavaliers finished third in the league with a 5-3 record for the second consecutive season. This marks the first time in school history the team has won at least five conference matches in back-to-back seasons. It is also the first time since 1973-74 that the Cavaliers have finished third or higher in the league in consecutive seasons.

Head Coach Thomas Johnston: Thomas Johnston has built the Virginia program into one of the top up-and-coming programs in the country and has caused people to take notice. His Cavaliers have fashioned a 14-6 record this season (5-3 in the ACC), in one of UVa's best seasons in over a decade. In his fifth year as head of the Cavalier program, Johnston has a 68-44 (.607) record. He was the head coach at the Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) Colleges from 1985-90 and has an overall career record of 153-85 (.643).

Virginia in the ACC Tournament: The Cavaliers come in as the ACC Tournament's third seed, their highest seed ever. (The current ACC Tournament format began in 1990.) Last season the Cavaliers upset Georgia Tech 4-1, before falling to top-seeded Duke 5-0 in the semifinals.

Virginia has advanced to the semifinals four times (1990, '94, '96, '97), but has never played in the finals.

Wake Forest Match Began the Turnaround: The Cavaliers fell to Wake Forest 5-2 at home on March 28 in one of their toughest losses of the year. After the match the team met and whatever was discussed seems to have worked. The Cavaliers have won five of six matches since, including four wins over teams ranked ahead of them.

Three With 20+ Wins: For the fourth consecutive season, three Cavaliers have won at least 20 matches. Hyon Yoo, who led the team with 23 wins as a freshman in 1996, leads the way with 27 victories. Freshman Huntley Montgomery is second with 24 triumphs, while sophomore John Winter has 21 wins. Winter led the team with 26 wins last season.

Freshmen Lead Cavaliers: Virginia's line-up features three freshmen in the top six in what might be one of the youngest line-ups in the nation. Brian Vahaly (from Atlanta) plays #1, Huntley Montgomery at #2 and Tommy Croker at #6. Vahaly replaced Bear Schofield atop the line-up in early March and has won eight of his last 10 matches there. Montgomery's resurgence has mirrored that of the team this spring. He lost three consecutive matches late last month, but has since put together a five-match winning streak. Croker moved into the line-up early in the spring and has improved throughout the spring, winning his last two matches.

Strength Throughout the Line-Up: Virginia has put together perhaps the best line-up in school history this season, winning at least 60 percent of its matches at #1-5. Led by Hyon Yoo, the Cavaliers are 17-3 this spring at #4 and 16-4 at #3. The Cavaliers have also received exceptionally strong play at #5 (12-6) and #2 (13-7).

Yoo, Winter ACC Singles Champs: For the first time in school history, two Cavaliers are ACC singles champions. Junior Hyon Yoo, an All-ACC choice in 1996, is the champion at #4 this season. He fashioned a 7-1 league record, including 5-1 at #4 and 2-0 at #3. Yoo leads the team with a 27-9 record and has won his last 10 matches. Winter, a second generation Cavalier whose father lettered in 1969-70, is the #5 champion. He posted a 5-3 league mark, including 4-2 at #5 and 1-1 at #4, this spring. A rangy serve and volley player, he won his first 11 dual matches this spring. He is 16-3 this spring and 21-10 overall.

Undefeated Freshman Pair Claims Doubles Crown: Atlanta-native Brian Vahaly and Huntley Montgomery are the ACC champions at #2 doubles. The freshman tandem completed an undefeated conference season, going 7-0 at #2 and 1-0 at #1. They are the first doubles team to go undefeated in all league matches since North Carolina's Roland Thornqvist and Darryl Wyatt went 8-0 at #1 in 1992. Vahaly and Montgomery are 24-9 this season. After a slow start this spring, they have been on fire over the last two months. They split their first eight matches this spring, but have reeled off eight wins in the last nine matches. They moved up to #1 for the North Carolina match to end the regular season and are expected to remain there in the ACC Tournament.

Schofield Return Boosts Squad: Senior co-captain Bear Schofield is slowly getting back to full strength after battling an ankle injury throughout most of the spring. The two-time All-ACC honoree has had to pick his spots and has missed six dual matches this spring. He was expected to play #1 this season, but with his injuries (and the fine play of Brian Vahaly) he has moved to #3. He is 7-7 this spring and 13-11 overall this season.