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The weekend of upsets continued on Saturday with three higher ranked team going down on top of the seven that were upset yesterday. The biggest upset in terms of ranking took place in Starkville but I’ll start off in Evanston where Northwestern was looking to snap a 27-match, 19 year, losing streak to in-state rival Illinois.

Even though Northwestern was shutout by the Illini earlier this season it had to be optimistic with a big home crowd on hand. Northwestern got things started off on the right foot by claiming the doubles point for the 12th time in 14 tries with a 6-4 win at No. 2 and a 6-3 win at No. 3.

Illinois rebounded in singles and took four opening sets but it wouldn’t be able to close out any of them in straight sets. Northwestern’s Alp Horoz didn’t have any issues closing out his match in straight sets as he whipped Brian Page 6-2, 6-1 at No. 6 in just under an hour.

Julian Childers put the Illini on the board with a come from behind 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 win over Fedor Baev at No. 4 and Aron Hiltzik would even the match at 2-2 with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win over Strong Kirchheimer at No. 3.

Northwestern’s Sam Shropshire put Northwestern back ahead after he upset Jared Hiltzik 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 at No. 2. Shropshire jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the third set before Hiltzik won three straight to go ahead 4-3. Shropshire broke Hiltzik’s 5-5 service game and then served it out for the win.

Sam Shropshire (Pic vai Brian Lee/Daily Northwestern)

Illinois sophomore Aleks Vukic evened the match at 3-3 with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 win over Konrad Zieba at No. 1 which meant it all came down to a pair of freshmen at No. 5 to decide it.

Illinois’s Asher Hirsch took the first set 6-2 and led 5-2 in the second set but Ben Vandixhorn rallied back to even it at 5-5. It’d go to a tiebreak and Hirsch would lead 5-2 but Vandixhorn took six of the next seven points to take it 8-6 to force a third set. Vandixhorn went up a quick break in the third set and took the final set 6-2 to give Northwestern its historic win over Illinois.

Facts from NU’s recap: beat a top-10 team for the first time since the ITA began archiving rankings in 1981.  At 13-1, they are off to the best start in program history, surpassing the 1988-89 team, which began that year 12-1.

#11 Northwestern 4, #8 Illinois 3
Mar 12, 2016 at Evanston, Ill. (Combe Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #6 Aleks Vukic (ILL) def. #11 Konrad Zieba (NU) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
2. #83 Sam Shropshire (NU) def. #8 Jared Hiltzik (ILL) 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
3. #63 Aron Hiltzik (ILL) def. #95 Strong Kirchheimer (NU) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
4. Julian Childers (ILL) def. Fedor Baev (NU) 2-6, 6-3, 6-0
5. Ben Vandixhorn (NU) def. Asher Hirsch (ILL) 2-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2
6. Alp Horoz (NU) def. Brian Page (ILL) 6-2, 6-1
Doubles competition
1. Jared Hiltzik/Alex Jesse (ILL) def. Fedor Baev/Strong Kirchheimer (NU) 6-3
2. Konrad Zieba/Sam Shropshire (NU) def. Aron Hiltzik/Aleks Vukic (ILL) 6-4
3. Alp Horoz/Mihir Kumar (NU) def. Julian Childers/Pengxuan Jiang (ILL) 6-3
Match Notes:
Illinois 7-6; National ranking #8
Northwestern 13-1; National ranking #11
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (6,4,3,2,1,5)
Official: John Coleman T-2:49 A-457

Post-Match Quotes from Northwestern’s recap
 “We are trying to build a program here,” head coach Arvid Swan said. “Our guys are buying in, and we are trying to break streaks. That was certainly a goal to beat Illinois.”
“We knew we had to bring our A-game today, and we did,” Swan said. “I am really proud of the team.”
Post-Match Quotes from Illinois’s recap
“I give Northwestern a lot of credit. We had winning positions and multiple match points in spots where they came back and won,” head coach Brad Dancer said. “Once we didn’t capitalize, Northwestern did a good job of seizing opportunities. I’m not sure how to express the team’s gratitude to the Net Nuts and all our alumni that made a road trip turn into an electric home atmosphere. Our students and all our supporters in Chicago are incredible. THANK YOU from the whole team.”
“We need to have that growing mindset and building toward specific purposes,” Dancer said. “It’s an important time for all of us to have ownership. We are definitely looking to getting to California and the competition against Baylor.”
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Mississippi State blanked No. 12 Kentucky for the first time since 1969 (per MSU recap) by really taking it to Kentucky in every faucet of the game. The match was originally scheduled to be played on Friday but rain pushed it back to Saturday and after the way the match went Kentucky probably wished it never stopped raining.

Rishab Agarwal (Pic by Kelly Price/MSU Athletics)

Mississippi State dominated in doubles by winning 6-1 at No. 1 and 6-2 at No. 2 and also led at No. 3 when the point was clinched.

State took five opening sets in singles and Rishab Agarwal, Nuno Borges, Niclas Braun, and Strahinja Rakic would each win in straight sets at 2, 3, 4, and 5 with Braun clinching the team win at No. 4.

State was on the verge of closing out the other two matches out as well but both were abandoned after it started to rain. Both teams have a quick turnaround with State hosting LSU on Sunday while Kentucky goes an hour down the road to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama.

#44 Mississippi State 5, #12 Kentucky 0

March 12, 2016 A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre Starkville, Miss.
Doubles competition
1. Nuno Borges/Niclas Braun (MSU) def. William Bushamuka/Nils Ellefsen (UK) 6-1
2. Mate Cutura/Trevor Foshey (MSU) def. Ryotaro Matsumura/Enzo Wallart (UK) 6-2
3. Rishab Agarwal/Vaughn Hunter (MSU) vs. Gus Benson/Kevin Lai (UK) 5-4 susp.
Singles competition
1. #36 Mate Cutura (MSU) vs. #23 William Bushamuka (UK) 6-2, 4-6, 5-3, susp.
2. #77 Rishab Agarwal (MSU) def. #108 Ryotaro Matsumura (UK) 6-4, 6-2
3. Nuno Borges (MSU) def. Nils Ellefsen (UK) 7-6(4), 7-6(1)
4. Niclas Braun (MSU) def. Enzo Wallart (UK) 6-3, 6-4
5. Strahinja Rakic (MSU) Trey Yates (UK) 6-1, 7-5
6. Trevor Foshey (MSU) vs. Austin Hussey (UK) 2-6, 6-1, 5-4, susp.
Match Notes
Mississippi State 10-3; National Ranking #44
Kentucky 10-3; National Ranking #12
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2);  Singles (2,5,4,3)
Post-Match Quotes from Miss State’s recap
“The guys are hungry and we need these ranked wins, ” head coach Matt Roberts said following the win. “The guys trust each other and they’re seeing that all of their hard work is paying off on the court. It’s a gradual process for us, because we have a lot of young guys and they have to understand what college tennis is all about.
“We know our doubles have the potential to beat a lot of good teams, Roberts said. “We’ve been working a lot on our doubles play lately and they’re visualizing on winning the point, which has paid off.
“We’re happy about today’s win, but we know we have a lot of work ahead of us, “Roberts said. “We are still hungry and we’re going to take it one match at a time. Tennessee is a great team and they’re always good in doubles, so we know we have to bring it tomorrow.

Post-Match Quotes from Kentucky’s recap
“The boys looked a bit tired today and the level of play was a little below what it has been, fifth-year head coach Cedric Kauffmann said. “We will bounce back. This is a tough young group.
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Virginia will be the new No. 1 on Tuesday after defeating No. 13 Oklahoma 4-3 in a neutral site matchup that took place in Tulsa. Virginia took the doubles point with wins at 1 and 2 and then picked up three first sets in singles after Thai-Son Kwiatkowski came back from 5-2 down to take the set 7-5 at No. 2.

J.C. Aragone (Pic via Daily Progress)

Virginia’s Henrik Wiersholm didn’t have any issues as
he blew past OU’s Florin Bragusi 6-0, 6-4 at No. 5 which put UVA up 2-0.  OU’s Axel Alvarez put the Sooners on the board with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Ryan Shane at No. 1 but Thai-Son Kwiatkowski made it 3-1 with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Alex Ghilea at No. 2.

J.C. Aragone clinched the win with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Maxime Mora at No. 4.  The final two matches were played out with OU’s Spencer Papa defeating Collin Altamirano 7-6, 6-2 and Andre Biro getting past Mac Styslinger 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 at No. 6.

I was following the live scoring/streaming but for whatever reason they only live scoring on three courts and the video crapped out mid-way through the first sets and never came back (at least it didn’t for me). The scoring and video worked fine for the earlier USC/Tulsa match so it was disappointing to have it not work for the higher profile match. Let’s hope this isn’t an issue when the NCAA Championships roll into town in May.

#4 Virginia 4, #13 Oklahoma 3
March 12, 2016 at Tulsa, OK (Michael D. Case Tennis Center)
Singles competition 
1. #41 Axel Alvarez Llamas (OU) def. #13 Ryan Shane (VA) 6-2, 7-5 
2. #3 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VA) def. #99 Alex Ghilea (OU) 7-5, 6-3 
3. Spencer Papa (OU) def. #47 Collin Altamirano (VA) 7-6(5), 6-2 
4. #116 J.C. Aragone (VA) def. #92 Maxime Mora (OU) 6-4, 6-3 
5. Henrik Wiersholm (VA) def. Florin Bragusi (OU) 6-0, 6-4 
6. Andre Biro (OU) def. Mac Styslinger (VA) 7-6, 3-6, 6-4
Doubles competition 
1. #6 Ryan Shane/Luca Corinteli (VA) def. #24 Spencer Papa/Axel Alvarez Llamas (OU) 6-2 
2. #7 Mac Styslinger/Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VA) def. #46 Alex Ghilea/Andrew Harris (OU) 6-3 
3. Andre Biro/Maxime Mora (OU) def. J.C. Aragone/Collin Altamirano (VA) 6-2 
Match Notes:
Virginia 12-2; National Ranking #4
Oklahoma 7-6; National Ranking #13
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (5,1,2,4,3,6)
Post-Match Quotes from Virginia’s recap
“Oklahoma is a great team so we are pleased to come out with the win,” said Virginia head coach Brian Boland. “We continue to show signs of improvement with each match, but we still have lots of work ahead of us.”
Post-Match Quotes from Oklahoma’s recap

“We played a very good match today and just came up a little short, head coach John Roddick said. “Give UVA a lot of credit, they played well. There were a lot of positives to take from this match and hopefully we can keep improving.

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In the opening match of the day in Tulsa it was No. 15 USC trouncing No. 26 Tulsa 7-0. USC took the doubles point with wins at 1 and 2 then the Trojans picked won on all six singles courts with three of them coming in straight sets.

Nick Crystal was off quickly with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Carlos Bautista at No. 2 and a short while later Laurens Verboven won 6-3, 6-4 over Dominic Bechard at No. 6. Max de Vroome would clinch the team match with a 7-6, 6-1 win over Or Ram-Harel at No. 1 and then Jake DeVine, Logan Smith, and Thibault Forget would each win in three sets to complete the shutout.

USC returns to the court next weekend when it faces Oklahoma and Baylor at the BNP Paribas Challenge in Indian Wells while Tulsa goes to TCU on Tuesday.

#15 USC 7, #26 Tulsa 0
March 12, 2016 at Tulsa, OK (Michael D. Case Tennis Center)
Singles competition 
1. #32 Max de Vroome (USC) def. #39 Or Ram-Harel (Tulsa) 7-6, 6-1
2. #35 Nick Crystal (USC) def. Carlos Bautista (Tulsa) 6-0, 6-2
3. #113 Jake DeVine (USC) def. Juan Matias Gonzalez (Tulsa), 6-2, 1-6, 6-4
4. #40 Logan Smith (USC) def. Dylan McCloskey (Tulsa), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
5. #91 Thibault Forget (USC) def. Majed Kilani (Tulsa), 4-6, 6-0, 10-7
6. Laurens Verboven (USC) def. Dominic Bechard (Tulsa), 6-3, 6-4
Doubles competition 
1. #74 Crystal/Verboven (USC) def. McCloskey/Kirby (Tulsa), 6-3
2. DeVroome/DeVine (USC) def. Ram-Harel/Gonzalez (Tulsa), 6-2
3. Bechard/Bautista (Tulsa) vs. Jaede/T.Smith (USC), DNF 5-4
Match Notes:
USC 8-3; National Ranking #15
Tulsa 7-7; National Ranking #26
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (2,6,1,3,5,4)
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In one of the best matches of the day it was No. 24 Michigan holding off a late charge to defeat No. 31 Columbia 4-2. Michigan took the doubles point to claim the early 1-0 lead but it wasn’t an easy point. Columbia’s Mike Vermeer and Michal Rolski won 6-4 at No. 2 while Michigan’s Alex Knight and Runhao Hua won 6-4 at No. 1. Columbia’s Christopher Grant and Miguel Alda had two match points at No. 3 doubles when receiving serve up 5-4, 30-40 but they were able to close it out and ended up falling 7-5 to Michigan’s Gabe Tishman and Myles Schalet.

Myles Schalet put Michigan ahead 2-0 when he knocked off Timothy Wang 6-2, 7-5 at No. 6. It looked like Wang was going to force a third set when he led 5-2 and was up 0-40 on the Schalet serve but the Michigan freshman fought back to win it in straights.

Michigan’s Jathan Malik made it 3-0 when he got past Victor Pham 6-3, 7-6 at No. 2 but Columbia would get on the board with a three set win from Shawn Hadavi at No. 1.

Michigan’s Carter Lin looked like he’d get the clinch at No. 4 however Columbia’s Mike Vermeer fought off three match point to take the second set in a tiebreak and force a third.  Columbia’s Michal Rolski would also force a third set when he took the second set over Runhao Hua at No. 5

Columbia’s Eric Rubin cut the Michigan lead to 3-2 with a 6-7, 6-4, 6-1 win over Kevin Wong at No. 5 so with the other two matches into a third set it looked like it was going to be a photo finish.

Michigan’s Runhao Hua got the key break to go up 6-5 then he served it out from 40-30 to clinch the Michigan win.

“Michigan played well and deserved to win. Obviously not getting the doubles point after having two match points in the decider was tough, but our guys hung around well in singles. It will be great to get outdoors this week,” said Columbia associate head coach Howard Endelman

#24 Michigan 4, #31 Columbia 2

March 12, 2016 at Tampa, Florida (USF Varsity Tennis Courts)
Singles competition
1. #54 Shawn Hadavi (Columbia) def. #60 Alex Knight (U-M), 6-4, 2-6, 6-2
2. #85 Jathan Malik (U-M) def. Victor Pham (Columbia), 6-3, 7-6 (8)
3. #123 Carter Lin (U-M) vs. Mike Vermeer (Columbia), 6-4, 6-7 (8), 4-4 abandoned
4. Eric Rubin (Columbia) def. Kevin Wong (U-M), 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1
5. Runhao Hua (U-M) def. Michal Rolski (Columbia), 6-3, 5-7, 7-5
6. Myles Schalet (U-M) def. Timothy Wang (Columbia), 6-2, 7-5
Doubles competition
1. Alex Knight/Runhao Hua (U-M) def. #10 Shawn Hadavi/Richard Pham (Columbia), 6-4
2. #33 Mike Vermeer/Michal Rolski (Columbia) def. Jathan Malik/Kevin Wong (U-M), 6-4 
3. Gabe Tishman/Myles Schalet (U-M) def. Christopher Grant/Miguel Alda (Columbia), 7-5
Match Notes:
Michigan 11-3; National Ranking #24
Columbia 8-4; National Ranking #31
Order of finish: Doubles 2-1-3; Singles 6-2-1-4-5
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Troy won for the 9th time in its last 10 matches by upsetting No. 65 UNC Wilmington 4-3. Wilmington took the doubles point with wins at 1 and 3 but Troy came back in singles and took five opening sets.

UNCW’s Christiaan Van der Burgh took the Seahawks only first set and he’d be the first one to finish with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Pablo Moreno at No. 2.

Troy’s Daniel Bustamante and Giovani Samaha won in straight sets at 1 and 3 to even the match at 2-2 and then Mustapha Belcora put the Trojans ahead with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 win over Javier Restrepo at No. 4.

UNCW’s Aviv Ben Shabat tied the match at 3-3 with a 1-6, 7-6, 6-1 win over Hassan Ndayishimiye at No. 6 but Troy’s Andy Lau clinched it for the Trojans with a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 win over Andres Torres at No. 5.

Troy started off the season by playing a tough schedule and really paid for it by going just 1-10 but once everyone got settled in the wins have been raining down from the sky.

Troy 4, #65 UNC Wilmington 3
March 12, 2016 at Tampa, Florida (USF Varsity Tennis Courts)
Doubles competition
1. Christiaan Van der Burgh/Aviv Ben Shabat (UNCW) def. Pablo Moreno/Andy Lau (TROY) 6-4
2. Andre Baldo/Vaclav Slezak (TROY) def. Javier Restrepo/Xander Veys (UNCW) 6-4
3. Gianlucca Massa/Santtu Leskinen (UNCW) def. G Samaha/Hassan Ndayishimiye (TROY) 6-4
Singles competition
1. Daniel Bustamante (TROY) def. Santtu Leskinen (UNCW) 6-4, 7-6
2. Christiaan Van der Burgh (UNCW) def. Pablo Moreno (TROY) 6-4, 6-4
3. Giovani Samaha (TROY) def. Agustin Savarino (UNCW) 6-3, 6-4
4. Mustapha Belcora (TROY) def. Javier Restrepo (UNCW) 6-3, 1-6, 6-2
5. Andy Lau (TROY) def. Andres Torres (UNCW) 6-4, 4-6, 7-5
6. Aviv Ben Shabat (UNCW) def. Hassan Ndayishimiye (TROY) 1-6, 7-6, 6-1
Match Notes:
UNC Wilmington 6-5; National Ranking #65
Troy 10-11

Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,1,3,4,6,5)

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Other Saturday scores:
#16 South Florida def. #23 Penn State 4-0 – USF recap
#33 Rice def. New Orleans 4-0 – Rice recap
#33 Rice def. UT Rio Grande Valley 4-0
#11 Northwestern def. Detroit 7-0
#24 Michigan def. Toledo 5-2 – Michigan recap
#63 New Mexico def. #71 Utah State 4-1 – New Mexico recap
#20 Oregon def. Fresno State 7-0 – Oregon recap
#49 Wisconsin def. Brown 4-2 – Wisconsin recap
Boise State def. Michigan State 5-2 – Boise State recap
San Diego State def. Arizona 4-3 – SDSU recap
#59 Georgia State def. Louisiana Lafayette 4-0 – Georgia State recap
#40 Old Dominion def. College of Charleston 6-1 – COC recap
NAIA #1 Georgia Gwinnett def. Tennessee Tech 4-0 – GGC recap