Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Aces

Maybe men's basketball won't make a championship run.

Maybe wrestling isn't your cup of tea.

Well don't worry UVA fans tired of lacrosse championships, a new spring obsession has begun. The ITA rankings are out and who has the number one men's tennis team in the country? Virginia. That's right, last year the Cavaliers won the ACC Championship before losing in the round of 16 to UCLA in the NCAA tournament. They peaked at number two in the nation last year but now are numero uno in the land to start the season.

Even more amazingly, men's tennis now becomes the 10th sport Virginia has been ranked number one in the nation at some point during the season. Yes skeptics, those sports include football and men and women's basketball. So, the question becomes, can Virginia hold on to this ranking and new found respect? It's appears obvious that head coach Tony Bresky has the same goal in mind.

"There is a lot of work to be done this year, and we want to finish the season ranked No. 1, not just start it that way." Bresky said. "We are excited for the ranking, but we are also excited for the opportunities this team has to accomplish a lot in the upcoming season."

Opportunities do seem to almost endless when looking at the caliber of players on this years squad. Virginia is the only team in the nation to have two players in the top ten and they're only sophomores. 6th-ranked Treat Huey and 10th-ranked Somdev Devvarman had outstanding freshman campaigns and look to continue their hot streak against some of the nation's best. Junior Marko Miklo stars the year ranked 46th and senior Rylan Rizza comes in at number 53. With depth like this, it's no wonder that Virginia tennis has such high expectations.

Perhaps Virginia's biggest strength however has been their doubles play. The Cavaliers have four teams ranked in the top 50, led by Darrin Cohen and Rizza at number 19. Doubles have proven to be an asset for the Cavaliers, and big for momentum since it is the first part of the match played. UVa dominated the doubles in ACC play, and lost it in their season-ending loss to UCLA. I guess the facts speak for themselves.

The schedule for the Cavaliers is once again one of the hardest in the nation. USC, Texas, Baylor, Texas A &M and Michigan round out a very impressive regular season which will put that number one ranking at risk. Nevertheless, Virginia seems up to the challenge. The problem will now be dealing with the pressure of being at the top. Teams will not start to circle their games against Virginia on the calendar like never before. Can Virginia overcome some of the best efforts from some of the top teams?

I'm just an analyst, not a psychic. However, the ITA seems to think so.


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