CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- No pomp, no circumstance just Virginia men's tennis back to work before the grind of another season.

"It's all about the pursuit and it's all about the journey of trying to do what we did last year and maximize," UVA men's tennis coach Andres Pedroso said, "Sometimes that'll mean you win the title, sometimes it means you come up a little short, but it's all about that journey."

UVA will begin their journey in 2023 on Sunday, hosting a doubleheader against UNC Wilmington followed by Richmond.

Last year's journey was unconventional going from 5-5 to winning 23-straight matches and eventually the program's fifth NCAA title, securing their spot back atop the college tennis mountain.

"At the moment we're at the top ranking so everyone wants to beat us," junior Iñaki Montes said, "It's tough to defend, what the Class of 2017, they did three years in a row of winning the championship, that's really tough, so hopefully we can have a chance."

"Don't think about a target on their back in my opinion, it's an allusion and there's a lot of great teams," Pedroso said, "We're cleaning the slate, we're starting from zero and just taking it one match at a time."

While clean, the slate for the Cavaliers is still loaded with five of their top six players returning, only losing NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player Gianni Ross to graduation.

"The experience helps, last year half of our team was really young and to have those guys come back with another year under their belt, that's going to help a lot," Pedroso said, "Experience matters in all the big moments we play in."

Another year for Virginia's stellar junior class of Montes, Chris Rodesch and Jeffrey von der Schulenburg, all ranked among the top-50 players in the country, along with Alex Kiefer, who Pedroso expects to take a step up this season.

"From the beginning, from their first year, they've really taken on a huge role on this team, not just on the court but off the court as well," fifth-year Ryan Goetz said, "So it's just been great seeing them practice, seeing them develop, especially Inaki and Chris, their games compared to what they were first year it's completely different."

"We're so super close, our families are also really close, we do vacations with each other," Montes said, "We're just around 24 hours around each other, so we're pretty close and our competition is really high."

UVA begins this season where last year ended as the country's top team, but the Cavaliers know all eyes are on what they do next.

"Those expectations come once you decide to play for UVA tennis, that's just the bar and it makes it more fun, it's a privilege," Pedroso said "We felt that my first year. That just comes with being a UVA men's and women's tennis player and we embrace it, it's more fun that way."

No one knows those expectations like Goetz and Virginia's other fifth-years like William Woodall and Bar Botzer, who also won an NCAA Championship with Wake Forest back in 2018.

"Every year that I've been here I feel like UVA has a target on their back given the previous four titles from the 2014, 2015, 16, 17," Goetz said, "I've always felt like we've had the target on our back and I think all these other teams are coming for us."