Wahoos welcome early test from No. 1 Wake

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Henrik Wiersholm has plenty of college tennis experience at the sport's highest level. So he knows the value of an early-season matchup with the top-ranked team in the country.

"What is the saying, steel sharpens steel?" the Virginia senior said before stepping on the court for practice at Boar's Head Sports Club on Thursday.

On Friday at Boar's Head, Wiersholm and the Wahoos will welcome No. 1 Wake Forest for the first of two meetings between the programs this season. The Demon Deacons are 6-0 in the season's first month. UVA is 5-1 after an ACC loss at Notre Dame last Friday, and ranked No. 13 nationally this week.

Virginia (2015-17) and Wake Forest (2018) have also combined to win the last four NCAA team championships.

"We scheduled the home-and-away with Wake Forest for a reason. It's that we want to play against the best," said UVA men's tennis coach Andres Pedroso. "And it's great for our team. Development-wise, and it will give us another opportunity to see where we're at, and just fine-tune what we need to do to maximize come April and May."

Friday's match won't count toward this season's conference standings. The rematch on March 17 in Winston-Salem will be considered the ACC meeting between the two programs.

But Friday will be the renewal of the conference's most high-profile rivalry in men's tennis. The two programs have met nine times in the previous four seasons. UVA has won five of those previous meetings, victories over Wake to win the ACC tournament in 2015 and 2017.

The Demon Deacons ended UVA's nine-year run of conference tournament championships by beating the Cavaliers in the 2016 finals. Wake also won both meetings with UVA last year.

"We've battled many times over the past few years, and I don't know, just enjoy going to war with those guys," Wiersholm said. "They're well coached. They're a good group of guys who are pretty talented. And so it'll be a great opportunity early in the season to have a nice little war."

"We're not afraid of anyone, and we're going to give it our best," said Pedroso. "Bring a lot of energy and, yeah, see how it goes."

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