Between Friday and Saturday four of the top seven teams in the country went down and on Sunday we nearly saw a fifth lose in Champaign. Second-ranked Ohio State hadn't dropped a doubles point in almost two months but they dropped one today after No. 25 Illinois picked up a pair of 6-4 wins at No. 2 and No. 3. Each team took three opening sets in singles and five of the six matches would finish in straight sets. Illinois junior Aleks Vukic ran over the ITA No. 1 Mikael Torpegaard 6-1, 6-3 and freshman Aleks Kovacevic extended the lead to 3-0 with a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 4. Ohio State answered with straight set wins from Hugo Di Feo, Kyle Seelig, and Herkko Pollanen at No. 3, No. 5, and No. 6 to tie the match at 3-3. The match would be decided in a third set at No. 2 between Illinois junior Aron Hiltzik and Ohio State freshman JJ Wolf. Wolf broke Hiltzik to start the third set and would go up 3-1 before Hiltzik held and broke for 3-3. Wolf broke back for 4-3 but Hiltzik broke and held for 5-4. Wolf held and broke for 6-5 but Hiltzik broke back to send it to a tiebreak. Hiltzik won the first point of the tiebreak but Wolf took the next seven to close it out 6-7, 6-4, 7-6(1) to give Ohio State a perfect 12-0 record in the Big Ten.

A year ago Texas Tech won 28 matches and hosted a NCAA Regional but going into tonight's match against No. 4 Baylor the Red Raiders were winless in the Big 12 while having an overall record of just 10-14. Baylor was down a man with Jimmy Bendeck (#4 singles/#2 doubles) a late scratch so BU had to make adjustments to both its doubles and singles lineup. Texas Tech took advantage of the shift and picked up wins at No. 2 and No. 3 to take the early 1-0 lead. In singles play, Texas Tech would add five first sets and both Jolan Cailleau and Jackson Cobb would win in straight sets to make it 3-0. Baylor fought back to get splits at No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 while Texas Tech got a split at No. 2. 

Baylor's Johannes Schretter, Max Tchoutakian, and Will Little would each pull through to tie the match at 3-3. Texas Tech senior Carlos DiLaura led Baylor freshman Constantin Frantzen 4-1 in the third at No. 5 but Frantzen took the next two to pull within 4-3. DiLaura broke back for 5-3 but Frantzen broke and held for 5-5 and two games later it went to a tiebreak. DiLaura went up 4-0 in the tiebreak but Frantzen rallied to tie it at 6-6. Frantzen had match points at 7-6 and 8-7 but DiLaura pulled it out 10-8.

UCLA and Ohio State both won outright regular season conference titles on Friday night with the Bruins defeating crosstown rival No. 6 USC 4-1 while the Buckeyes beat up No. 21 Northwestern 6-1. UCLA jumped out to the early 1-0 lead after claiming the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 2 and then the Bruins added four first sets in singles. Evan Zhu and Logan Staggs won in straight sets at No. 3 and No. 4 to make it 3-0 but USC would get on the board with a straight set win from Thibault Forget at No. 5. USC was getting close to a win at No. 6 and had an early break lead in the third at No. 1 but UCLA's Martin Redlicki would squash any hopes of a comeback after he closed out Nick Crystal 7-6, 7-6 at No. 2. UCLA and USC will both gets byes into the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament which begins on Wednesday in Ojai. 

It was senior day in Raleigh but unfortunately for the host Wolfpack they only had five healthy players and their opponent happened to be No. 1 Wake Forest. Wake took the doubles point after only dropping three games and then the Deacs won five of six matches in singles with NC State freshman Alexis Galarneau salvaging the day for the Pack with a win over Borna Gojo at No. 2. 

The women's SEC Tournament in Nashville had it all on Thursday with three matches coming down to the final court and one that started outside on the back courts and then and finished inside on just five courts after the rain came.  Mississippi State won the opener over Tennessee 4-1 and then Auburn's Andie Dikosavljevic came back from *4-1 and *5-4 down in the third set of the deciding match at No. 1 to propel the Tigers past Arkansas 4-3 in a match that took over four hours.

The third match of the day between LSU and Texas A&M started doubles on the back courts due to the Auburn/Arkansas match running long and then once singles started they could only use four courts for the same reason. A little past the midway point of singles, with rain on the horizon, they moved indoors to Vanderbilt's five-court indoor facility. Texas A&M managed to go ahead 3-2 but LSU's Ryann Foster won in straight sets at No. 3 to tie it up and then a short while later Joana Valle Costa clinched the match by breaking Rutuja Bhosale to win 7-6, 1-6, 6-4. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017 08:00

Shorthanded But Resilient

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What would you call a situation involving a first-year coach who only has six players that have rotated being injured or ill to the point all but four of the regular season matches were played shorthanded as will be the conference tournament?

Bethune-Cookman calls it “Thursday.”

It’s business as usual for the Lady Wildcats (9-10) as they open the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament against Morgan State (7-16) at the Folkes Tennis Center on the campus of Old Dominion University. With senior Debora Echeverria sidelines, Bethune-Cookman will have to find a way to dethrone South Carolina State with just five players.

Been there, done that.

The latest USTA Top 25 is out with both the Wake Forest men and Florida women remaining at No. 1 although their leads at the top are as slim as they've been. On the men's side Virginia is just two votes back at No. 2 while on the women's side Ohio State is only one vote behind Florida. There was no change in the men's top six though Baylor moved up two spots to No. 7 while USC dropped one spot to No. 8 and Texas dropped two spots to No. 9. Florida, South Carolina, and Oregon made the biggest jumps by coming up four spots each to No. 15, No. 18, and No. 21. Georgia Tech took the biggest tumble by dropping five spots to No. 19 after a tough loss at unranked Virginia Tech. Coincidently Columbia only dropped one spot to No. 19 after it fell to unranked Harvard. 

The women's top four remained the same though Vanderbilt shot up six spots to No. 5 after its big win over Florida last Sunday. Pepperdine came up four spots to No. 8 after defeating Stanford and Texas A&M came up six spots to No. 18 after defeating Georgia in Athens. Texas Tech and Auburn each dropped four spots to No. 10 and No. 22 after T-Tech lost to unranked TCU while Auburn fell to Arkansas. 

The Tulane men and TCU women were the only newcomers to this week's poll with each coming in at No. 25. The Kentucky men and LSU women were the only two to fall out after each lost a pair of matches over the weekend. 

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