Illini Rallies Past Irish in Wednesday Nite Thriller; Women's NTI Draw Released; New Rankings Are OutWritten by Bobby Knight
Notre Dame, ranked No. 11, went into Wednesday's night home clash against No. 14 Illinois with an undefeated record and seeking a fourth win over a top 15 opponent but despite a great start in singles they'd be unable to hang on as Illinois came storming back from a 3-1 deficit to win 4-3. Illinois, which was playing just its second match of the season after getting an automatic berth into the National Indoors due to being the host, jumped out to the early 1-0 lead after claiming doubles wins at No. 1 and No. 2. Notre Dame came back in singles and won all six opening sets and would finish three out in straight sets with Alex Lebedev, Tristan McCormick, and Guillermo Cabrera winning at No. 1, No. 4, and No. 6.
Illinois managed to get splits on the other three courts and one by one they'd all fall the way of the Illini. Zeke Clark cut the deficit to 3-2 with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 3 and Caleb Chakravarthi tied it at 3-3 with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 5. The deciding match at No. 2 would be a back and forth affair with Illinois junior Aleks Kovacevic coming out on top over Notre Dame sophomore Richard Ciamarra 6-7, 6-2, 6-4. Ciamarra went up a break at 4-3 in the third but Kovacevic broke back, held, and broke again to close it out.
Sunday Recap: Boston College Upsets #10 Syracuse; Michigan Mauls #6 Texas; Vandy Bounces Back Against Northwestern; Notre Dame Knocks Off Another Top 15 FoeWritten by Bobby Knight
Boston College pulled off the upset of the day on Sunday with a historic first-ever top 10 win when it upset No. 10 Syracuse 4-3 in a match that started before noon but almost lasted until the kickoff of the Super Bowl. The Eagles, now 7-0, jumped out to the early lead with what turned out to be a crucial doubles point with wins at No. 2 and No. 3. Syracuse bounced back in singles and took the opening set on three of the four courts in action however each team would claim two wins a piece which meant it'd come down to the final two matches to go on court at No. 5 and No. 6. Syracuse tied it up at 3-3 with a straight set win at No. 6 but BC would get the clincher from freshman Laura Lopez who picked up a 7-6, 6-3 at No. 5.
"I am so proud of how hard our girls compete," said head coach Nigel Bentley. "They have worked so hard. They understand there are no short cuts. They earned an awesome win today against a top-10 team. Our captain senior Jackie Urbinati had another amazing third set comeback and everyone really fed off her energy. Yufei Long was outstanding beating one of the nation's top players."
"To watch Laura get her first ACC win under that kind of pressure was tremendous to witness. The doubles teams battled hard every point, and everybody contributed to this complete team win. I'm very happy for our team and program, it's a great day for BC women's tennis."
UNC Women Win Top 3 Showdown At Vandy; Ohio State Crushes Stanford; Texas Outlasts UNC; Florida Chomps Past FSU, UCLA Women Over Oklahoma StateWritten by Bobby Knight
The big match of the day on Saturday came on the women's side with No. 3 North Carolina picking up a 5-2 road win over No. 2 Vanderbilt. The Heels came out strong in doubles and took the point with a pair of 6-2 wins at No. 1 and No. 2 and in singles Alexa Graham quickly made it 2-0 with a 6-3, 6-0 win at No. 2 singles. Fernanda Contreras, ITA No. 6, put Vandy on the board with a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 2 ranked Makenna Jones but that'd be just about all Vandy could muster. UNC freshman Cameron Morra made it 3-1 with a 7-5, 7-5 win over fellow freshman Carolyn Campana at No. 4 and UNC sophomore Alle Sanford would provide the clincher at No. 5 with a 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 win over Emily Smith. The final two matches were played out with Vandy getting its second point with a win from Georgia Drummy at No. 3 while UNC's Jessie Aney rolled at No. 6 in a match that didn't start until after the first singles match was completed since Vandy's indoor facility has only five courts.
If you tried to follow this top 3 showdown at home the only way you could see the scores was if you clicked on the video link for each court because for some reason Vandy has stopped providing live scoring. While streaming video is great not having a live scoring page to summarize everything is extremely poor. The summarized scoring updates on twitter were bad at best with neither team putting forth much effort. If you're looking to grow the sport making it extremely difficult to get basic scoring updates is not the way to go.
Friday was a tremendous way to start off the weekend with 4-3 thrillers the story of the day. The only men's showdown between top 25 teams took place in South Bend between No. 13 Notre Dame and No. 12 Virginia. The Cavaliers came into the match riding a 12-match winning streak against the Irish with Notre Dame's only win in the series coming all the way back in 2000. The Irish grabbed the early lead with lopsided wins at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles but the Cavs came back in singles with straight set wins from Carl Soderlund, Henrik Wiersholm, and Gianni Ross at No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 to make it 3-1. Notre Dame's Guillermo Cabrera made it 3-2 with a straight set win at No. 6 but Virginia looked to be in control after first semester freshman Brandon Nakashima led 4-2 in the third at No. 1 and fellow freshman Ryan Goetz was up a break at 3-2 in the third at No. 5.
Notre Dame's Alex Lebedev would come back to win five of the final six games to defeat Nakashima 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 to even the match at 3-3 and William Howells would erase his break deficit and add another break to clinch the match with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win. In the final game, Goetz was overruled after the opening point and since it was his fourth overrule the corresponding game penalty ended the match.
I've updated my live scoring page with all the known links for the upcoming ITA Men's & Women's Kickoff Regionals. If you want some insight into each regional head over to Chris Halioris's site College Tennis Ranks. Chris has done several regional previews and will likely have one on each regional by Friday. Also make sure you check out the latest podcast from Cracked Racquets which has plenty of good conversation about the kickoff weekend.
As it stands right now I'm most likely not going to have much coverage this season with free time still pretty hard to come by. I am going to try to put together live scoring links for the kickoff weekend (assuming no one else does on another site) and then after that it'll just depend on what I can round up in the limited time that I have. For your daily news coverage keep heading over to ZooTennis plus the Tennis Recruiting Network and Cracked Racquets also continue to churn out quality content. This coming season should be as competitive as ever so I look forward to following all the action just as much as you folks.