They'll be 3 really good ones on Saturday with LA, Chicago, and Austin the places to be.  What's so great is that 2 of these 3 will be on TV with the Pac 12 Network carrying the singles portion of the USC/UCLA match and with the Longhorn Network carrying the Illinois/Texas match in its entirety.

It'll be interesting to see if USC can snap out of its recent funk or if UCLA can ride the comeback of Gage Brymer to an upset win.  It'll be interesting to see how Illinois looks after a 2 week layoff and whether they'll switch up 1 and 2 singles in an attempt to sweep the top 2 spots.  It will also will be interesting to see how Columbia looks playing outdoors at Northwestern and who they'll play in the lower half of the lineup.  Lots of questions to be answered in the next 24 hours - should be a great afternoon of tennis.

Below are my previews of each along with who I think will win on each court.

#14 UCLA (8-5) at #5 USC (11-2) - 2pm est - USC Live Stream - Pac 12 Network Coverage starts at 3pm with singles only.  This will be the 1st of 2 regular season matches between these 2 with a 3rd highly likely in the Pac 12 Tournament.  USC is 8-5 in doubles but has dropped the point the last 2 times out against Tulsa and San Diego while UCLA is 10-3 and has won the point in 7 of its last 8 matches.  I'm going to take the Bruins in doubles with wins at 1 and 3.  

Projected Singles Lineup:
1. #5 Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA 14.93) vs. #8 Yannick Hanfmann (USC 14.94)
2. #33 Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA 13.51) vs. #20 Roberto Quiroz (USC 14.39)
3. Martin Redlicki (UCLA 14.19) vs. Eric Johnson (USC 14.01)
4. Karue Sell (UCLA 14.00) vs. #35 Jonny Wang (USC 14.22)
5. Gage Brymer (UCLA 13.81) vs. #50 Max De Vroome (USC 14.20)
6. Austin Rapp (UCLA 12.82) vs. #51 Nick Crystal (USC 14.00)

Also could see action:  Joseph DiGiulio (UCLA 13.41), Ryoto Tachi (UCLA 13.15)

#1 singles - #5 Mackenzie McDonald is 9-1 in dual match play with a 7-1 record against ranked opponents while #8 Yannick Hanfmann is 8-2 overall and 4-2 against ranked opponents however he's been run off the court the last 2 times out. I'll like Mackenzie McD in straights as Hanfmann's losing streak will grow to 3.

#2 singles - #33 Dennis Mkrtchian is 4-4 in dual match play with all but 1 of those matches coming against a ranked opponent while #20 Roberto Quiroz is 7-2 (all but 1 against ranked opponent) but just 2-2 in his last 4.  These 2 seniors have faced each other 7 times over the last 4 years with each having won 3 times with the one other match going unfinished.  In the only meeting this year Quiroz won 6-2, 6-0 in the final of the Sherwood Cup.  I'm going to go with the USC senior here and I look for Roberto Quiroz to win in 3.

#3 singles - Martin Redlicki has had a great freshman year going 9-1 in dual match play and is currently riding a 6-match winning streak while Eric Johnson is 10-1 in dual match play and he's riding an 8-match winning streak.  One of the streaks has to give here and I think it'll be Johnson's continuing on and Redlicki's falling to the wayside. Johnson in 2.

#4 singles - Karue Sell is 8-4 on the year playing 7 of those 12 at #4 while the double fisting #35 Jonny Wang is 5-3 but 2-0 since dropping down from 3 to 4.  The double fisting reference is of course relating to his 2 handed forehand and nothing else.  Wang won both of the previous encounters between these 2 so why not make it 3.  Wang in 2.

#5 singles - Gage Brymer, who is 1-3 in dual match play, will likely make his return to the court after missing the last 5 matches due to personal reasons.  #50 Max De Vroome is 6-1 on the year splitting time between 4 and 5 and the Big Dutchman has won 3 in a row with 2 of the last 3 going 3 sets. These 2 met 3 times last year with Brymer taking 2 of them however it's tough to tell what kind of Brymer we're going to see.  With a little hesitation I'm going to take Brymer in 3.

#6 singles - Austin Rapp is 3-3 on the year though he's had 5 other matches go unfinished of which he was trailing in 3 and tied in the other 2.  #51 Nick Crystal has been a stud at the bottom of the lineup going a perfect 9-0 with 7 of the 9 wins in straights.  Put #10 on the board as Crystal wins in 2.

When these 2 get together it's usually an instant classic and I think UCLA is going to play with enough purpose to make it another great one.  I like UCLA in doubles and at 1 and 5 but I think USC's guts it out at 2, 3, 4, and 6 with Roberto Quiroz winning a tight 3rd set to clinch it.  I will say that the only court where I see a clear favorite is at #6 singles (Crystal) - everywhere else in my opinion really could go either way depending on who is hot and who is not.  Prediction:  USC 4-3

#4 Illinois (13-2) at #8 Texas (11-1) - 2pm est - Live Scoring & Longhorn Network - This is the 1st of 3 big matches for Illinois with the Illini facing Texas, Texas A&M, and TCU on back-to-back-to-back days which will be a little tough since Illinois hasn't played in 2 weeks.  Texas hadn't played in almost 2 weeks as well but they got a warm up in on Thursday against Michigan State and got to rest a few starters as well.  Illinois is 8-7 in doubles but just 2-7 against ranked opposition while Texas is 5-7 in doubles and 3-7 against ranked teams.  One of Texas's biggest problems has been having too many guys banged up which has disrupted its doubles pairings but it looks like Texas is finally close to getting 100% healthy.  Texas's weak spot in doubles has been #3 where the Horns are just 3-9 while they're 8-4 at 1 and 7-4 at 2.  Illinois strongest spot has been #2 where they're 10-4 however they're just 6-6 at 1 and 6-5 at 3.  Picking a doubles winner in this one is crapshoot.  

Projected Singles Lineup:
1. #18 Jared Hiltzik (ILL 14.46) vs. #2 Soren Hess-Olesen (TX 15.02)
2. #61 Farris Gosea (ILL 14.56) vs. #52 Lloyd Glasspool (TX 13.84)
3. #32 Tim Kopinski (ILL 14.15) vs. #60 Adrien Berkowicz (TX 13.77)
4. #76 Aron Hiltzik (ILL 13.76) vs. Nick Naumann (TX 13.96)
5. #49 Aleks Vukic (ILL 14.19) vs. George Goldhoff (TX 13.71)
6. Toshiki Matsuya (ILL 13..11) vs. John Mee (TX 13.56)

Also could see action:  Adrian Ortiz-Ruiz (TX 13.28), Ross Guignon (ILL 13.20)

#1 singles - #18 Jared Hiltzik is 12-0 on the year with 10 of those 12 wins at #2 singles while #2 Soren Hess-Olesen is a perfect 13-0 at #1 with 8 of those wins over ranked opponents.  The reason why I think we'll see Hiltzik at #1 instead of Gosea is because Hiltzik has a head-to-head win over Hess-Olsen (6-2, 6-4 - Feb 2014).  The SHO goes on - Hess-Olsen in 3.

#2 singles - #61 Farris Gosea is 5-4 on the year with all 9 matches at #1 but he lost in straights the last time out to Notre Dame's Quentin Monaghan.  #52 Lloyd Glasspool is 8-1 on the year including 3-1 against ranked opposition.  Gosea won the head-to-head last year 6-2, 6-1.  I like Gosea in 2.

#3 singles - #32 Tim Kopinski is 12-1 on the year with a 4-1 record against ranked opponents while #60 Adrien Berkowicz is 11-2 but 2-2 against ranked opponents and he has lost 2 of his last 3. Kopinski has only dropped 23 games in his last 6 matches which means he's winning by roughly a 6-2, 6-2 score each time out - he'll drop a few than that but I think he gets the win.

#4 singles - #76 Aron Hiltzik is 8-3 on the year winning his only match against a ranked opponent (Steinbach) plus he has won 6 in a row. Nick Naumann is 7-3 on the year including 1-1 against ranked opposition (W - Nate Lammons & L -Ralf Steinbach) and he's won 2 in a row after dropping the previous 3 before that.  Hiltzik is 3 tight sets.

#5 singles - #49 Aleks Vukic is 9-1 in dual match play and he is currently riding a 7-match winning streak while George Goldhoff is 3-3 in what has been an injury riddled spring.  Vukic in 2.

#6 singles - Toshiki Matsuya is 6-1 on the year but he lost his last time out to Notre Dame's Alex Lawson while John Mee is 5-3 on the year and he's won his last 2.  I'll go with Mee in 3.

Illinois opened up the year by winning at Baylor and I see the Illini making it 2-0 in the state of Texas by picking up 4 wins in singles at 2, 3, 4, and 5.  Prediction:  Illinois 4-3

#23 Columbia (6-2)  at #16 Northwestern (11-5) - 1pm est - Live Scoring - This is a big match for both but in my opinion Columbia has more riding on it because they won't have too many more opportunities to move up in the rankings with a lower ranked schedule the rest of the way.  Columbia has won the doubles point 5 matches in a row after dropping it in its 1st 3 matches. Northwestern is 9-7 in doubles including 4-7 against ranked opponents.  Neither team's #1 doubles has done much of anything with Northwestern 3-11 and Columbia just 2-5.

Projected Singles Lineup:
1. #16 Winston Lin (CU 14.21) vs. #88 Sam Shropshire (NW 13.89)
2. #83 Dragos Ignat (CU 13.65) vs. #107 Strong Kirchheimer (NW 13.82)
3. Ashok Narayana (CU 13.47) vs. Logan Staggs (NW 13.22)
4. Bert Vancura (CU 12.82) vs. Mihir Kumar (NW 12.95)
5. Mike Vermeer (CU 13.41) vs. Fedor Baev (NW 12.97)
6. Shawn Hadavi (CU 13.26) vs. Alp Horoz (NW 12.90)

Also could play: Eric Rubin (CU 13.35), Max Schnur (CU 13.15)

Columbia has had 8 different guys see action in at least 3 of the team's 8 matches so outside of 1 and 2 singles it's tough to know how they'll line up.

#1 singles: #16 Winston Lin is 5-2 in dual match play with ranked wins over Georgia's #17 Wayne Montgomery and Cal's #67 Andre Goransson while #88 Sam Shropshire is 11-5 but just 1-5 against ranked foes.  I'd consider Lin to be the favorite in this one and he should win in 2.

#2 singles: #83 Dragos Ignat is 5-3 in dual match play but 0-3 against ranked foes while #107 Strong Kirchheimer is 12-3 and has won 8 of his last 9 but he is also 0-3 against ranked opponents. Somebody is going to get a ranked win here assuming the match finishes - I'll take the Wildcat sophomore in 3.

#3 singles: Ashok Narayana is 5-1 playing 4 of the 6 matches at #4 while Logan Staggs is 8-7 but 7-4 at #3.  I like Narayana in 3.

#4 singles: Bert Vancura is 5-2 in dual match play and has won 5 of his last 6 while Mihir Kumar is 8-6 in dual match play and has won 4 of his last 5.  I like Vancura in 3.  

#5 singles: Mike Vermeer is 3-0 in dual match play while Fedor Baev is 10-4 with Baev winning 8 of his last 9.  I'll go with Baev in 3.

#6 singles: Shawn Hadavi is 3-2 in dual match play while Alp Horoz in 8-3.  I'll go with Horoz in 3.

In what should be a close match with several singles matches going 3 sets I'll go with Columbia in a mild upset with the Lions taking the doubles point and picking up singles wins at 1, 3, and 4. Prediction:  Columbia 4-3

Well the big match of the day was actually a good bit closer than I thought it would be after noticing that Vanderbilt was without its #1 singles player #10 Gonzales Austin who also makes up the #1 doubles team in the country with Rhys Johnson.  I still haven't seen anything official from anyone on why AJ didn't play but if I had to guess I'd say he was under the weather which I can relate to.

The one thing I don't get is how neither of the school's press releases bothered to even mention the fact that Austin didn't play.  I mean if the starting quarterback on the football team didn't play it'd have to be addressed by somebody, right?  If you are the person conducting the post match interviews wouldn't question #1 be "How do you think the absence of Vandy's #1 effected the match?" It sure would be my first question.   

Back to the match itself it was admirable that Vanderbilt was able to take the doubles point despite moving its #2 team up to #1 and putting together a make-shift team at #2 with both of those teams winning. 

In singles play, Texas A&M took 5 of 6 1st sets with AJ Catanzariti, Arthur Rinderknech, and Jeremy Efferding able to close them out in straights at 6, 4, and 1. On the 2 remaining courts Vandy had just got a split at #2 and was up a set and on serve at #3.  

Texas A&M recap

"Obviously the night did not start like we wanted to with the doubles, but a win like this when the guys have to gut it out and come from behind is good for their character as a team, Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. "Wins like this are good for our confidence that they can comeback against a quality opponent like Vanderbilt. Give Vanderbilt a lot of credit tonight, they played very well in the doubles and took it to us early.

"Matches like tonight where we don't win the doubles point, which we have become accustomed to doing this season, are good for this team, Denton added. "The first point is still a long way from the finish line and our guys have to just keep battling and good things will happen.

"Once again it very important for us to hold serve at home in conference play, Denton said. "I knew this was going to be a close match. I knew our guys would not be looking ahead to a very good Illinois team coming in here on Sunday. They have a tough match with Texas in Austin tomorrow then turnaround and play us here on Sunday. I expect a very high level college tennis match that will be really fun to watch.

Vanderbilt recap

"There were a lot of positives we can build on from this match," said head coach Ian Duvenhage. "We had four really close first sets, and we just have to find a way to win those first sets. Today we came up short, but we just have to find ways to win when we have opportunities"

"We played with a great deal of emotion, intensity and urgency. Pen and Baker did a really good job at No. 1 and beat a ranked team. Rhys and Jeff also did a really great job at two. At No. 3 we were in the match serving at 4-5 and we just played a bad game at 4-5. If we had found a way to win that, we would have won all three doubles matches."

FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of March 12th.  For more details about UTR check out their website. 

#9 Texas A&M 4, #11 Vanderbilt 1
George P. Mitchell Tennis Center
College Station, TX
Singles competition
1. #65 Jeremy Efferding (TAMU 14.03) def. Rhys Johnson (VANDY 13.43) 6-3, 6-4
2. #71 Shane Vinsant (TAMU 14.19) vs. Daniel Valent (VANDY 13.73) 6-4, 4-6, unfinished
3. #48 Harrison Adams (TAMU 13.73) vs. Kris Yee (VANDY 13.66) 5-7, 5-4, unfinished
4. Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU 14.15) def. Suresh Eswaran (VANDY 12.87) 7-5, 6-3
5. Jordi Arconada (TAMU 13.54) def. Baker Newman (VANDY 12.93) 7-5, 6-3
6. #89 AJ Catanzariti (TAMU 13.96) def. Jeffrey Offerdahl (VANDY 12.67) 6-1, 6-4 
Doubles competition
1. Baker Newman/Pen Binet (VANDY) def. #9 Harrison Adams/Shane Vinsant (TAMU) 6-4
2. Jeffrey Offerdahl/Rhys Johnson (VANDY) def. #26 Jeremy Efferding/Jordan Szabo (TAMU) 6-2
3. AJ Catanzariti/Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) def. Suresh Eswaran/Daniel Valent (VANDY) 6-4 
Order of Finish
Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (6,4,5,1)


Wake Forest welcomed back its #1 Noah Rubin and he helped deliver a shutout over Florida State. Also check out the scoreline at #4 singles - 20-18 1st set tiebreak.  

Wake recap
Florida State recap

Friday, 13 March 2015 13:01

Friday Preview

Written by
Friday will be a fairly light day of activity with just 8 teams in the Top 20 in action and with the only matchup between top 20 teams taking place in College Station as #9 Texas A&M hosts #11 Vanderbilt.

Before I preview that one here are a few others to keep an eye on today:

#31 San Diego (8-3) at #34 Texas Tech (12-4) - 1pm est - Live Scoring - San Diego is coming off a hard fought loss against USC and has wins on the year over South Carolina and South Florida while Texas Tech has only played 1 match in the last 3 weeks though has wins this year over Auburn and Mississippi State.  

#24 Florida State (10-4) at #19 Wake Forest (9-4) - 4pm est - Live Scoring & Streaming - FSU is coming off a weekend where the Noles beat Louisville and gave North Carolina all it wanted despite FSU playing without its #1 Benjamin Lock who was playing in the Davis Cup.  Wake has played its last 3 matches without its #1 Noah Rubin (wrist) going 1-2 in that stretch with respectable losses to Texas and Virginia and a win over TCU.  This should be a very competitive match that probably finishes 4-3 on way or the other.  

#28 Louisville (13-3) at #37 NC State (10-5) - 4pm est - Live Scoring & Streaming - Louisville comes off a weekend where they split with Notre Dame (W) and Florida State (L).  NC State on the other hand went 0-2 last week with a close 4-3 loss to North Carolina (playing w/o Schnur) before getting plowed by Virginia 7-0.  Like the FSU/Wake match this too will likely be a 4-3 match.  

#42 Mississippi State (11-3) at #18 Florida (6-5)- 5pm est - Live Scoring - State has won 4 in a row with a pair of recent wins over Alabama and Arkansas while Florida has dropped 3 of its last 4.  I think Florida should get the win here though State is more than capable of the upset. 

#11 Vanderbilt (13-3) at #9 Texas A&M (7-2) - 7pm est - Live Scoring - Last year Texas A&M rolled into Nashville and rolled over the Dores 4-0 so this year it'll be Vandy trying to return the favor.  Vandy is a stout 11-3 in doubles while Texas A&M is an equally impressive 8-1.  College Station is a tough place to play so for Vanderbilt to win this one they really need the doubles point.  Unfortunately for them I think Texas A&M gets the point but Vandy will put up a fight in singles.  The matchup at #1 should be a good one with Gonzales Austin bringing a 14-1 dual match record into this one while Jeremy Efferding is 6-1.

Projected Singles Lineup:
1. #10 Gonzales Austin (VU 14.34) vs. #65 Jeremy Efferding (aTm 14.03)
2. Rhys Johnson (VU 13.43) vs. #71 Shane Vinsant (aTm 14.19)
3. Daniel Valent (VU 13.73) vs. #48 Harrison Adams (aTm 13.73)
4. Kris Yee (VU 13.66) vs. Arthur Rinderknech (aTm 14.15)
5. Suresh Eswaran (VU 12.87) vs. #89 A.J. Catanzariti (aTm 13.96)
6. Baker Newman (VU 12.93) vs. Max Lunkin (aTm 12.91)

Others who could play:  Jordi Arconada (aTm 13.54)

#1 singles - Austin has a 14-1 dual match record and has won 2 straight after dropping his only match to Ole Miss's Nik Scholtz while Efferding is 6-1 but 2-0 playing at #1. Efferding has won 3 straight and led Georgia's Wayne Montgomery 3-0 in the 3rd in a match that didn't finish.  This one will likely have a few close 7-5 type of sets and might not get to finish.  I'll say Austin is ahead when the match is clinched.

#2 singles - Johnson is 5-8 on the year and has lost 2 straight while Vinsant is 2-2, with 4 additional matches not finishing, though he got blown out 6-3, 6-0 his last time out against South Carolina's Andrew Adams.  I see Vinsant rebounding in this one and winning in 2.

#3 singles - Valent is 13-1 on the year and 3-0 since moving up from 4 to 3.  Valent has also won 5 straight with 2 of those wins over ranked opposition.  Adams on the other hand has really struggled this year with an 0-6 record and he actually was pulled from the lineup for the Aggies last match against South Carolina.  I've got to go with Valent in this one though if Adams sits and Rinderknech gets moved up I could see it going the other way.

#4 singles - Yee is 8-7 in dual match play and 1-1 since dropping down from 3 to 4 in the lineup. Yee blew out Auburn's Joseph Van Dooren 6-1, 6-0 last weekend with that win stopping a 4 match losing streak.  Rinderknech is a solid 7-1 and has won 7 straight since dropping his 1st dual match. Rinderknech played at #3 the last time out and picked up a 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 win over South Carolina's Thiago Pinheiro.   Outside of #1 singles I think this will be the 2nd closest match and I'm going to take Rinderknech in 3.

#5 singles - Eswaran is 8-5 this year and 1-1 since moving up from 6 to 5 while Catanzariti is 5-3 though he's won 4 of his last 5.  Anything other than Catanzariti in 2 would be surprising.

#6 singles - Newman is 5-5 on the year and 3-0 since moving down from 5 to 6 while Lunkin is 3-1 and the last time out he was up 4-1 in the 3rd against South Carolina's Thomas Mayronne when the team match was clinched.   I'll go with Lunkin in 2 tight sets.

In my opinion Vanderbilt's best path to an upset would be to take the doubles point and pick up singles wins from Austin, Valent, and Newman.  If this were in Nashville I'd probably take Vanderbilt but I think that home court advantage pays off for the Aggies. Prediction:  Texas A&M 4-1
This morning I got a chance to watch the Fox Sports Oklahoma telecast of Tuesday's Oklahoma/Virginia match and I must say I was impressed with the production of the match and the quality of the announcing.  The version I watched was taped and edited but they did a good job bouncing around from court to court.  They started the telecast a few games into singles and started showing the match at #1 singles but they also showed several games of the Alvarez/Shane match at #2 singles.  After those 2 matches finished up they showed the last 3 games of the Webb/Kwiatkowski match and then showed the last several games of the Bragusi/Aragone match. The only 2 courts they didn't go to were #4 and #5 singles.  I know the match was viewable live for a fee through Oklahoma's site though I don't know if that version had announcers or was just plain old streaming.  I also saw where the match was going to be replayed several times on Fox College Sports so if you have that channel check out a few minutes of the replay.

Today's match between Georgia and Tennessee was originally scheduled to be broadcasted on ESPN3 however recent weather delayed installation of the proper cables back to the Tennessee studio (per UT blog).

For those wondering where the live streaming went for the SEC schools that in the past have steamed matches (Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Auburn, Texas A&M) I got the answer from Tammy Wilson, SEC Director of Communications:

"When we started the SEC Network this year, the schools gave the Network all rights which includes live streaming because we are also on WatchESPN / ESPN3.  It's up to each institution if they want to utilize their production department to show tennis on those outlets (known as SEC Network+).  We do have several schools that have shown tennis using this option"

In Knoxville, Tennessee seemingly had the doubles point all but clinched when they had 4 match points at #3 doubles but Georgia's Wayne Montgomery and Paul Oosterbaan rallied back to force a tiebreak then cruised through the tiebreak 7-3 to give Georgia the point.  Singles was fairly lopsided with Georgia taking 5 1st sets and finishing 3 of them in just over an hour with Austin Smith, Nick Wood, and Paul Oosterbaan all picking up wins.  The 3 remaining matches were abandoned with the match at #1 singles on-serve in the 3rd, Georgia's Nathan Pasha up a set at #3, and Tennessee's Igor Smelyanski up a set and on serve in the 2nd at #5. 

FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of March 12th.  For more details about UTR check out their website. 

#3 Georgia 4, #55 Tennessee 0
1. #14 Mikelis Libietis (UT 14.17) vs. #17 Wayne Montgomery (UGA 14.67) 1-6 6-4 2-1 
2. #30 Austin Smith (UGA 14.23) def. Hunter Reese (UT 13.25) 6-3, 6-4
3. #15 Nathan Pasha (UGA 14.28) vs. #95 Jack Schipanski (UT 13.05) 6-3, 5-5 unf.
4. Nick Wood (UGA 13.72) def. Luis Valero (UT 13.27) 6-1, 6-4
5. Igor Smelyanski (UT 13.51) vs. Ben Wagland (UGA 13.25) 6-4, 4-5 unf.
6. Paul Oosterbaan (UGA 13.60) def. Andrew Dromsky (UT 12.33) 6-4, 6-0
1. #7 Smith/Wagland, UGA, def. #2 Libietis/Reese, UT, 6-4
2. Dromsky/Smelyanski, UT, def. #70 Diaz/Pasha, UGA, 6-3
3. Montgomery/Oosterbaan, UGA, def. Schipanski/Valero, UT, 7-6 (3)

Match Notes
Georgia 12-2 (5-0); National ranking #3
Tennessee 9-7 (1-3); National ranking #55
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (6,4,2)

Georgia recap

"Our guys played very well today," said head coach Manuel Diaz. "Tennessee really challenged us in doubles, and it came down to a tiebreaker. Our guys got better in that tiebreaker, and that is a sign of a championship team. I thought we did a tremendous job in all of our singles matches, so it was a good day for our guys."

"Our No. 1 doubles team had a very good win against the defending NCAA champions," Manuel Diaz said. "At No. 3 we were down an early break but our guys did a phenomenal job of competing under pressure."

Tennessee recap

"We are in a place where we know what we have to do," head coach Sam Winterbotham said after the match. "It's become clearer as the season has gone on where our deficiencies are and where our strengths are. We are in the process of correcting those deficiencies and using our strengths. The match today was against a very good team, and the truth is that if we did two things better, we can take that match. As the double points, we had four match points to clench the double's point, so the score line is a little bit misleading. I thought they played very well in singles. They managed their match well."


Columbia, SC:  South Carolina took the doubles point and then picked up singles wins from Kyle Koch, Harrison O'Keefe, and Thomas Mayronne at 2, 5, and 6.  Kentucky got its lone point from Beck Pennington at #1 singles.  Kentucky made a little bit of a charge by taking 2nd sets at 1, 2, and 3 but they weren't able to make any headway at the bottom 3. 

#38 South Carolina 4, Kentucky 1
Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 1)
1. #44 Kyle Koch / Thiago Pinheiro (SC) def. #58 Beck Pennington/Kevin Lai (UK) 7-6 (1)
2. #47 Thomas Mayronne / Harrison O'Keefe (SC) def. Jerry Lopez/Nils Ellefson (UK) 6-3
3.Andrew Adams / Andrew Schafer (SC) led William Bushamuka/Trey Yates (UK) 6-5 susp
Singles (Order of Finish: 5, 1, 6, 2*)
1. #92 Beck Pennington (UK 13.41) def. Andrew Adams (SC 13.57) 6-4, 6-3
2. Kyle Koch (SC 13.79) def. Jerry Lopez (UK 13.28) 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
3. Thiago Pinheiro (SC 13.39) vs. #125 William Bushamuka (UK 13.05) 6-2, 1-6, 5-5 
4. #113 Andrew Schafer (SC 13.60) led Trey Yates (UK 12.93) 7-6 (6), 5-6 susp
5. Harrison O'Keefe (SC 13.27) def. Kevin Lai (UK 13.12) 6-2, 6-2
6. Thomas Mayronne (SC 12.92) def. Jake Stefanik (UK 12.81) 7-6 (5), 6-3

Kentucky recap
South Carolina recap

"This was a great match for us," South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. "The team is getting stronger with every match. Now that we have a full lineup, everyone's confidence is growing, especially after a win like this. The doubles point was sticky - down a break on 3 from the start with 1 and 2 teetering. We were finally able to pull ahead on 2, which gave 1 the confidence to win, and that point played a big role in today's win. What I loved about today was the resilience. There were a lot of momentum swings, but we stuck with it and made the final push to the end of the match, which is something we have not always done well this season."

Austin, TX:  Texas sat 2 of its regular starters (Lloyd Glasspool & Nick Naumann) but still managed to shutout Michigan State 7-0 and only dropped 1 set in singles along the way.  This match was pretty much just a tune-up to get the Longhorns ready for what's coming up which is Illinois on Saturday and Ohio State next Tuesday.

#8 Texas 7, Michigan State 0
03/12/15 at Austin, TX (Caswell Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #2 Soren Hess-Olesen (UT 15.02) def. #123 Gijs Linders (MSU 12.85) 6-2, 6-0
2. #52 Adrien Berkowicz (UT 13.77) def. Brett Forman (MSU 13.49) 6-4, 7-6 (9-7)
3. #60 George Goldhoff (UT 13.71) def. Harry Jadun (MSU 12.81) 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
4. Adrian Ortiz-Ruiz (UT 13.28) def. John Patrick Mullane (MSU 13.17) 6-3, 6-0
5. John Mee (UT 13.56) def. Mac Roy (MSU 11.96) 6-2, 7-6 (7-5)
6. Clement Homs (UT 13.61) def. Michael Dube (MSU 12.07) 7-5, 6-3
Doubles competition
1. #35 Lloyd Glasspool/Soren Hess-Olesen (UT) def. #21 Harry Jadun/John Patrick Mullane (MSU) 6-4
2. Adrien Berkowicz/George Goldhoff (UT) def. Brett Forman/Gijs Linders (MSU) 6-4
3. Doug Zade/Jasper Koenen (MSU) def. John Mee/Adrian Ortiz-Ruiz (UT) 6-2
Match Notes
Michigan State 8-8
Texas 12-1; National ranking #8; Regional ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (1,4,6,5,2,3)
Thursday, 12 March 2015 00:09

What's Coming Up

Written by
Tuesday was a great night for college tennis with both Oklahoma/Virginia and Baylor/Ole Miss delivering two great matches.  The lineup for this coming weekend is a little light with many teams starting to take some time off for spring break.  However there are a few notable matches with the interesting ones listed below.  

The match tomorrow between Georgia and Tennessee will be on ESPN3 so make sure you tune in catch the broadcast.  What is really odd is there is no mention of the telecast on Tennessee's website and in fact the only reason I know it's on ESPN3 is because I saw this tweet - CORRECTION - another tweet said this morning the match would NOT be streamed online.

Thursday's match vs. will be shown on the SECN+ digital platform. Save this link to watch the match live:

3/12 (Thursday)
#3 Georgia at #55 Tennessee - 3pm

3/13 (Friday)
#11 Vanderbilt at #9 Texas A&M - 7pm
USF Spring Break Tournament - 6 of the 8 teams are ranked:
#20 South Florida vs. Furman - 12pm
#52 North Florida vs. #63 Tulane - 3pm
#48 Penn St vs. #73 VCU - 6pm  
#25 Drake vs. UNC Wilmington - 9am 

3/14 (Saturday)
USF Spring Break Tournament - winners/losers play
#14 UCLA at #5 USC
#4 Illinois at #8 Texas
#23 Columbia at #16 Northwestern

3/15 (Sunday)
USF Spring Break Tournament (South Florida, Penn St, Tulane, VCU, Drake, UNC Wilm, N Florida, Furman)
#10 Ohio State at #29 Tulsa
#4 Illinois at #9 Texas A&M
#11 Vanderbilt at #33 LSU

The headlining match of the day lived up to its billing as #1 Oklahoma came from behind to knock off #7 Virginia 4-3.  This showdown was played using the traditional scoring system which had doubles play a pro set to 8 and had ad scoring used in both doubles and singles.

Oklahoma jumped out to early 4-2 leads at 1 and 3 doubles and would actually lead 6-3 at #1 before Virginia started turning it around.  Virginia's #1 team of Corinteli/Shane broke at 4-6 to get it back on serve and it stayed that way until the tiebreak.  In the tiebreak the UVA #1s would win the final 2 points to take it 8-6. Virginia's #2 team of Kwiatkowski/Aragone broke to go up 4-3 and never let the lead go as they finished off Harris/Ghilea 8-6.  Virginia's #3 team of Frank/Altamirano came back from 4-2 down and would lead 7-5 at the time of the clinch.

In singles play, Virginia jumped out to early leads on several courts and would take the opening sets at 1, 3, 4, and 6 while Oklahoma picked up 1st sets at 2 and 5.  Virginia freshman Collin Altamirano was the first to finish as he knocked off Spencer Papa 6-4, 6-4 at #4 singles in a match where Altamirano was never broken.  Oklahoma's Axel Alvarez would put the Sooners on the board with a 6-4, 7-5 win at #2 singles while all the other matches would head to a 3rd set.  

At #1 singles, Oklahoma's Andrew Harris would jump out to an early break lead in the 3rd but Mitchell Frank would immediately break back and hold for 3-2.  Harris would win the next 3 to go up 5-3 before a Frank hold would make it 5-4.  Harris then served it out at love to close out at 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win.

With the match tied at 2-2 the next court to finish would be at #5 singles.  After trading a few breaks early in the 3rd, Virginia's Alexander Ritschard would pull away and get the 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 win which would put Virginia just a point away from a huge win. 

It looked like Virginia's Thai-Son Kwiatkowski was going to get off the court in straight sets at #3 but after he got broke serving for the match up 6-3, 5-4 the wheels came off and Dane Webb would take 6 straight games to close out the 2nd set 7-5 and go up 3-0 in the 3rd.  Kwiatkowski would get one break back but it wasn't enough as Webb closed out a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 win.  

In the final match left on court it would be Oklahoma's Florin Bragusi providing the clincher for the 2nd match in a row as he came back from a set down to knock off J.C. Aragone 6-7(9), 6-2, 6-3.   

Oklahoma recap - with quotes below

"Win or lose I think we feel really good about it, head coach John Roddick said.  "Considering the schedule we've playedand I know our guys are feeling thatwe've been pushed. That's our 11th top-25 win and our fourth top-10 win. It is just a hell of an effort, especially to come back.

"We just fought hard, Roddick said. "That's what this team does. They just compete like crazy. This is the best group of competitors that I have ever been around. It's amazing how they pull matches out. They believe that they are going to do it, I believe that they are going to do it and I think everyone in the stands believes they are going to do it.

"I was incredibly excited," Harris said. "I'm more excited that when we beat Ohio State and ended their streak. For some reason this feels better. They're one of the top two or three team in the country, even though they are ranked No. 7 right now. To win four singles against a team like that is amazing. I'm so proud of all the guys, and I am just so happy.

"I have been here for four years and it just makes me feel proud to be part of this program," Webb said. "My freshman they were at the same level and they beat us 6-1. To come in and lose doubles and then beat them for the first time ever, it makes me feel great."

"Give credit to Virginia," Roddick said. "I think they played well. We've played everyone in the country and they are one of the best teams. They are incredibly talented and I know they have better tennis in them as well. They will be scary in May."

Virginia recap - with quote below

"It was another tough loss for us on the road, but we are getting better every day," said head coach Brian Boland. "This one hurts as we had momentum and then let the match get away. I have tremendous respect for coach John Roddick and the Oklahoma program. I have to give them credit for battling back from being way down in the match. We will stick to the process and keep improving. I love this team."

FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of March 9th.  For more details about UTR check out their website. 

#1 Oklahoma 4, #7 Virginia 3

Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 1)
1. #19 Luca Corinteli/Ryan Shane (UVA) def. #5 Axel Alvarez/Dane Webb (OU) 8-7(6)
2. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/JC Aragone (UVA) def. #53 Andrew Harris/Alex Ghilea (OU) 8-6
3. Mitchell Frank/Collin Altamirano (UVA) vs. Spencer Papa/Florin Bragusi (OU) 7-5 DNF

Singles Order of Finish (4,2,1,5,3,6)
1. #19 Andrew Harris (OU 14.71) def. #27 Mitchell Frank (UVA 14.88) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
2. #7 Axel Alvarez (OU 14.50) def. #3 Ryan Shane (UVA 14.56) 6-4, 7-5
3. #26 Dane Webb (OU 14.20) def. #6 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (UVA 14.83) 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
4, #70 Collin Altamirano (UVA 14.81) def. Spencer Papa (OU 13.91) 6-4, 6-4
5. Alexander Ritschard (UVA 13.91) def. #53 Alex Ghilea (OU 14.16) 2-6, 6-3, 6-3
6. Florin Bragusi (OU 13.52) def. JC Aragone (UVA 13.80) 6-7(9), 6-2, 6-3

Who Wins Tuesday's match in Norman

  15 (33%)
  30 (66%)

Votes so far: 45


Gainesville, FL:  After dropping an emotional match last Friday to #1 Oklahoma, Ohio State was able to rebound on a warm sunny day in Gainesville.  The Buckeyes ran its doubles record to 14-3 by picking up the point with wins at 1 and 2.  Each team would take 3 1st sets and it'd be Florida's Chase Perez-Blanco that was first off the court with a rather surprising 6-2, 6-2 rout of Ralf Steinbach at #5 singles.  Ohio State's Chris Diaz would put the Buckeyes back ahead with an equally dominating 6-3, 6-1 win at #2 singles over Maxx Lipman.   Diaz had dropped 5 of 6 coming into the match so it was a nice win for Buckeye junior.  Kevin Metka would put Ohio State just a point away as he finished off Jordan Belga 6-3, 6-3 at #6 singles and just 9 minutes later it'd be Hunter Callahan closing the door on the Gators with a 6-4, 7-5 win at #4 singles over Gordon Watson.  Ohio State's Mikael Torpegaard was just a game away from winning as well at #1 singles after winning 11 consecutive games against Diego Hidalgo but unfortunately the Buckeye freshman wouldn't get a chance to finish.

Note:  Florida has now had 5 different guys play at #6 singles this year with them combining to go 5-6.

#10 Ohio State 4, #18 Florida 1
Mar 10, 2015 at Gainesville, Fla. (Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex)
Singles competition
1. #28 Mikael Torpegaard (OSU 13.94) vs. #64 Diego Hidalgo (FLA 14.11) 4-6, 6-0, 5-0 unfinished
2. #44 Chris Diaz (OSU 13.87) def. #78 Maxx Lipman (FLA 13.76) 6-3, 6-1
3. #99 Elliot Orkin (FLA 13.95) vs. #114 Herkko Pollanen (OSU 13.56) 6-2, 5-6, unfinished
4. Hunter Callahan (OSU 13.95) def. Gordon Watson (FLA 13.73) 6-4, 7-5
5. Chase Perez-Blanco (FLA 13.39) def. #68 Ralf Steinbach (OSU 13.89) 6-2, 6-2
6. Kevin Metka (OSU 13.89) def. Jordan Belga (FLA 13.05) 6-3, 6-3
Doubles competition
1. #3 Kevin Metka/Ralf Steinbach (OSU) def. Maxx Lipman/Elliot Orkin (FLA) 6-3
2. Mikael Torpegaard/Herkko Pollanen (OSU) def. #33 Diego Hidalgo/Gordon Watson (FLA) 6-4
3. #72 Oliver Landert/Joshua Wardell (FLA) def. #34 Chris Diaz/Hunter Callahan (OSU) 6-3
Match Notes
Ohio State 13-4; National ranking #10
Florida 6-5; National ranking #18
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (5,2,6,4)
T-2:14 A-218

Ohio State recap
Florida recap

Shelton's Notes Head Coach Bryan Shelton
On if the team was thinking at all about loss last year to Ohio State in the NCAA Round of 16 during today's match
I think the thing that we thought about was really just how tough that team really is. We had a great match with them in the NCAA Tournament in Athens and it came down to the wire. It was exciting. We came up a point shy of winning, so we certainly kind of look back at that. But more than anything, just saw that in order to beat a team like Ohio State you've got to walk out on the court with confidence and you've got to be able to execute under pressure for a long amount of time. They're going to push you. And that's exactly what we saw today. They just came out there ready to play and they're just a really good opponent. So it's great for us to have that opportunity to have them on our schedule this year and for the next three years. It's a good barometer for us as to where exactly we are. We're not far off. We've got to tweak some things and make some improvements for sure, but I like the direction this team is heading and this match is going to help us this weekend when we face Mississippi State and Alabama.

On how the team got better today
I think No. 3 doubles took a step in the right direction today. I'm really proud of the way Josh [Wardell] and Oliver [Landert] responded to a tough, difficult team. When the pressure was at its greatest, those guys played their best tennis. So I can't say that they did that in the last couple matches that they've played together, but certainly today they stepped up to the plate for us. I think Chase Perez-Blanco just continues to grow and get better. He talked today just about what a privilege it is to play for the University of Florida and how much it means to him and how much he's realized through the season that he's more and more thankful every day that he's here. He just really shared that with the team and I think he really gets it. He's willing to do what it takes to be successful and so it's fun to see the growth in him and the confidence growing daily.


Oxford, MS:  Despite being down a starter, Ole Miss hung tough against #2 Baylor but the Bears we're just a little too deep for the Rebels and pulled out a 4-1 win.  Ole Miss was without William Kallberg (ankle) so the Rebels had to shift its lineups since Kallberg plays at #1 doubles and #4 singles.  Baylor was undefeated (13-0) in the doubles coming into the match and they kept it that way with wins at 2 and 3 to take the early 1-0 lead.

Due to rain in Oxford the matches were moved indoors to Ole Miss's 3 court facility which meant that 1, 2, and 3 singles would start first and when the first court opened up then #4 singles would go on and so forth.

All 3 of the first matches to go on were very tight with several breaks of serve on both sides.  Ole Miss jumped out to an early break lead on all 3 courts and had chances to take the opening set on each court.  While Nik Scholtz was able to grab the 1st set at #1, Stefan Lindmark was broke at #2 serving for it up 5-4 and Lupieri would take the last 3 games of the set to take it 7-5. Baylor's Max Tchoutakian took the 1st set on 3 in a tiebreak and would then have 3 match points in the second set tiebreak to close it out in straight however Gustav Hansson would rally to take 5 straight points to push it to a 3rd.  Ole Miss now had momentum in its favor because in addition to Hansson taking the 2nd set on 3, Lindmark would also get the 2nd set on 2, and Scholtz would close out Lenz on 1.

With the match now tied at 1-1 and with the crowd's roar growing, Baylor would calm them down as both Tony Lupieri and Max Tchoutakian would cruise in the 3rd set at #2 and #3 with each taking the final set 6-1.  Baylor would now just need 1 of the bottom 3 courts and with Ole Miss down a man and shifting a few guys up it was a task Baylor had to feel pretty good about.  While Ole Miss's Ricardo Jorge was able to take the opening set at #6, Baylor would take the opening set at #4 and #5 and it would be Vince Schneider that would ultimately provide the clincher as he knocked off Zvonimir Babic 7-6, 6-2.  Good effort by Ole Miss without a key starter and a good job by Baylor to keep it together despite getting really pushed on several courts.

#2 Baylor 4, #13 Ole Miss 1
March 9, 2015 at Oxford, Mississippi (Gillom Sports Center)
Singles competition
1. #23 Nik Scholtz (OM 14.32) def. #4 Julian Lenz (BU 14.72) 7-6 (10-8), 6-3
2. #29 Tony Lupieri (BU 14.31) def. #82 Stefan Lindmark (OM 14.15) 7-5, 2-6, 6-1
3. #36 Max Tchoutakian (BU 14.16) def. Gustav Hansson (OM 13.81) 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (6-8), 6-1
4. Vince Schneider (BU 13.51) def. Zvonimir Babic (OM 12.85) 7-6 (9-7), 6-2
5. Mate Zsiga (BU 13.89) vs. Vinod Gowda (OM 12.78) 6-2, 2-2, unfinished
6. Ricardo Jorge (OM 13.10) vs. Felipe Rios (BU 13.70) 6-4, 1-1, unfinished
Doubles competition
1. Nik Scholtz/Zvonimir Babic (OM) vs. #40 Tony Lupieri/Mate Zsiga (BU) 4-4, unfinished
2. Julian Lenz/Diego Galeano (BU) def. Gustav Hansson/Stefan Lindmark (OM) 6-4
3. Vince Schneider/Felipe Rios (BU) def. Vinod Gowda/Grey Hamilton (OM) 6-1
Match Notes
Baylor 12-2; National ranking #2
Ole Miss 9-4; National ranking #13
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (1,2,3,4)

Who Wins Tuesday's Match at Oxford

Ole Miss
  4 (11%)
  32 (88%)

Votes so far: 36 

Ole Miss recap

"It was a very close match, we were right there with them," head coach Toby Hansson said. "We were up a break at one doubles, and battling at two. I told the guys after the doubles, `we've been here before we can get four points off these guys.' They believed that they could. Everybody on the court gave it all that they had, and you can't ask for anything more as a coach.

"It was a great college match. The atmosphere in here was incredible. We would like to thank the crowd."