Saturday, 28 March 2015 23:32

Saturday Recap: Step On Back - The Pack Attacked

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Going into today's match against #12 Wake Forest, NC State had played in 11 matches that finished with a 4-3 score with the Pack on the losing end in 7 of those 11 matches.  It was just last weekend that NC State had #16 Virginia Tech on the ropes but the Pack couldn't slam the door shut and watched as the Hokies #5 rallied from 5-2 down in the 3rd to win.

Today NC State finally broke through as they upset Wake Forest 4-3.  The Wolfpack took the doubles point with wins at 2 and 3 and then picked up singles wins from Simon Norenius, Austin Powell, and Beck Bond at 2, 3, and 4 to seal the deal.  The match was played indoors at NC State's 4-court indoor facility so the matches at 5 and 6 didn't go on until a court opened up.  Both were played out after the clinch with Wake winning both.

NC State recap
Wake Forest recap

FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of March 26th.  For more details about UTR check out their website. 

#38 NC State 4, #12 Wake Forest 3
Mar 28, 2015 at Raleigh, N.C. (J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #27 Noah Rubin (WFU 14.79) def. #60 Robbie Mudge (ST 13.63) 6-2, 6-4
2. Simon Norenius (ST 13.81) def. #8 Romain Bogaerts (WFU 14.38) 7-5, 1-6, 6-2
3. #85 Austin Powell (ST 13.53) def. #80 Jon Ho (WFU 13.63) 2-6, 7-5, 6-2
4. Beck Bond (ST 13.43) def. Skander Mansouri (WFU 13.28) 6-1, 6-3
5. Christian Seraphim (WFU 13.71) def. Nick Horton (ST 13.46) 7-6 (4), 6-7 (2), 10-5
6. Keivon Tabrizi (WFU 12.89) def. Thomas Weigel (ST 13.38) 7-6 (1), 6-2
Doubles competition
1. #10 Skander Mansouri/Christian Seraphim (WFU) def. Nick Horton/Beck Bond (ST) 8-4
2. Simon Norenius/Robbie Mudge (ST) def. Jon Ho/Noah Rubin (WFU) 8-6
3. Thomas Weigel/Ian Dempster (ST) def. Romain Bogaerts/Keivon Tabrizi (WFU) 8-4
Match Notes
NC State 10-8; National ranking #38
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (4,1,2,3,6,5)

Florida State jumped out to a 3-0 lead but had to hold off a Dartmouth charge to win 4-3.  FSU freshman Terrell Whitehurst clinched the win with a 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 win at #6 singles.

Florida State recap

"Today showed how important the doubles point really is, associate coach Nick Crowell said. "We were a few match points down at third doubles, and came through in the clutch to win it. In a 4-3 match, you can see how important that doubles point is.

"Our depth really showed through today, winning at 4, 5, and 6, Crowell said. "We knew they were going to come in and be strong all the way through the lineup with two ranked players. They came in and did a great job, and I'm just glad we were able to close that match out at No. 6."

Dartmouth recap

#32 Florida State 4, #60 Dartmouth 3
3/28/2015 at Tallahassee, Fla. (Scott Speicher Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #86 Dovydas Sakinis (DART 13.58) def. #106 Benjamin Lock (FS 13.86) 6-4, 6-2
2. #91 Chris Kipouras (DART 13.37) def. Marco Nunez (FS 13.57) 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
3. Ciro Riccardi (DART 13.15) def. #90 Michael Rinaldi (FS 13.62) 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
4. C. Gonzalez Mendez (FS 13.49) def. Diego Pedraza (DART 12.80) 6-0, 6-3
5. Jose Gracia (FS 13.37) def. Max Schmidt (DART 12.68) 6-3, 6-4
6. Terrell Whitehurst (FS 12.67) def. Sam Todd (DART 12.75) 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3
Doubles competition
1. #30 Benjamin Lock/Marco Nunez (FS) def. #21 Chris Kipouras/Dovydas Sakinis (DART) 6-2
2. C. Gonzalez Mendez/Michael Rinaldi (FS) vs. Max Schmidt/Tannenbaum (DART) 4-5, unf
3. Terrance Whitehurst/Terrell Whitehurst (FS) def. Diego Pedraza/Sam Todd (DART) 7-5
Match Notes:
Dartmouth 9-8; National ranking #60
Florida State 16-5; National ranking #32
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (4,5,1,2,3,6)

T-3:00 A-225

Auburn started off on the right foot by taking the doubles point but Florida was too strong at both the top and bottom of the lineup and pulled out a 4-1 win.  

Florida recap

Shelton's Notes Head Coach Bryan Shelton
On reactions to today's win

I'm really proud of our guys and how they responded to adversity today. I'm proud of JB [Jordan Belga] for coming through after getting down today. I'm so happy to see him clinch the match. Diego [Hidalgo], Elliott [Orkin] and Josh [Wardell] really were outstanding in singles. It was also nice to see Gordon [Watson] and Chase [Perez-Blanco] battle with what was probably not their best stuff. It was a great team win.

Auburn recap

"You have to give Florida credit. They did not panic after doubles," Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. "We have to be better at the top of the lineup and we were not today. We need everybody playing well and we were not getting that. You are not going to beat a team like that if you are not ready and you are not battling."

#20 Florida 4, #45 Auburn 1
Mar 28, 2015 at Auburn, Ala. (Yarbrough Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. Diego Hidalgo (FLA 14.02) def. Lukas Ollert (AU 14.11) 6-0, 6-0
2. Elliott Orkin (FLA 14.11) def. Maxime Hinnisdaels (AU 13.91) 6-2, 6-0
3. Gordon Watson (FLA 13.75) vs. Marko Krickovic (AU 13.75) 6-4, 4-5, unf
4. Dante Saleh (AU 12.93) vs. Chase Perez-Blanco (FLA 13.54) 6-4, 4-3, unf
5. Jordan Belga (FLA 12.97) def. Joseph Van Dooren (AU 12.25) 6-4, 6-3
6. Joshua Wardell (FLA 13.08) def. Oliver Plaskett (AU 11.94) 6-0, 6-3
Doubles competition
1. Marko Krickovic/Lukas Ollert (AU) def. Diego Hidalgo/Gordon Watson (FLA) 6-3
2. Elliott Orkin/Maxx Lipman (FLA) def. Oliver Plaskett/Petar Tomic (AU) 6-1
3. Joseph Van Dooren/Maxime Hinnisdaels (AU) def. Oliver Landert/Joshua Wardell (FLA) 7-6 (7-3)
Match Notes:
Florida 10-6; National ranking #20
Auburn 14-8; National ranking #45
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (2,1,6,5)
Played outdoors
Saturday, 28 March 2015 11:31

Saturday Storylines

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There aren't any top 20 match-ups on the schedule today but there are a few that should be good.

#60 Dartmouth plays its 5th match in the last 7 days against #32 Florida State.  Will the Big Green have enough left to challenge the Noles or does FSU lean on them and push them back on the their way to Hanover?

#12 Wake Forest goes to Raleigh to face #38 NC State - the Wolfpack has lost 3 straight and 4 of the last 5 matches by a 4-3 score.  Is today the day the Pack has the 4 in front of its name or does Wake take it to them?

#20 Florida goes to the plains to face #45 Auburn - does Auburn have enough depth to challenge the Gators or will Florida roll them 4-0?

#15 UCLA most likely will still be playing without its #1 Mackenzie McDonald (playing in the semis of a Future) against #56 Washington.  Can the Huskies challenge the Bruins up top 1 day after giving USC a good match?

Follow each of those plus more at the below live scoring/twitter links.

Buffalo at Harvard - 10am est - Harvard Twitter
Dartmouth at Florida State - 12pm est - Live Scoring
Cornell at Columbia - 1pm est - Columbia Twitter
Penn at Princeton - 1pm est - Live Scoring
George Washington at Rice - 1pm est - Live Scoring
UC Santa Barbara at Boise State - 1pm est - Live Scoring
Wake Forest at NC State - 2pm est - Live Scoring & Streaming
Florida at Auburn - 2pm est - Live Scoring
Oregon at USC - 3pm est - USC Twitter & Streaming
Utah at Cal - 4pm est - Cal Twitter & Streaming Video
BYU at Pepperdine - 4pm est - Live Scoring
San Francisco at San Diego - 4:30pm est - Live Scoring
Texas A&M Corpus Christi at Rice - 5pm est - Live Scoring
Amhurst at Harvard - 5pm est - Harvard Twitter
Arizona at Stanford - 5pm est - Live Scoring & Broadcast
Washington at UCLA - 6pm est -Live Scoring 
Eastern Washington at Boise State - 8:30pm est - Live Scoring
Oklahoma got pushed by TCU in singles but ultimately the Sooners had too much depth and outlasted TCU 4-1.  After OU took the doubles point they picked up 4 1st sets and ended up getting wins from Andrew Harris, Alex Ghilea, and Spencer Papa at 1, 4, and 5.  TCU's lone point came from freshman Guillermo Nunez as he hammered Dane Webb 6-3, 6-2 at #3.  The 2 remaining matches were abandoned with each early in the 3rd set.  

Oklahoma recap

"It was a good match, head coach John Roddick said. "TCU played very well and they played hard.  We got a pretty good lead on them and they forced us into third sets. Our guys competed well. Doubles was a lot better. We are really coming around there. All in all it's a good day.

Head Coach John Roddick
"Spencer did a great job getting off the court in straight sets like that, Roddick said. "I won't say that it was easy but he did a great job of taking care of business and getting us a 2-1 lead. That really put us in a good spot because we had other first sets. That gives them very little wiggle room and that was probably the biggest key to winning today.

"I think we were in good position on two courts and I'll never doubt Axel until he loses the last point, Roddick said. "We have been good at putting teams in position where they have very little margin for error. When you do that you will come out on top more often than not. We don't have a clock so you have to close them out and our guys did that.

TCU recap

"That was a good college match," head coach David Roditi said. "We played well in all our matches. When we play the No. 1 team on the road, we must capitalize on our opportunities. We lost eight games at deuce at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles and we will learn from that and it will make us a better team next time out. Maybe it's the fact Oklahoma has forgotten how to lose that helped them in those situations, so they deserve credit for that.

"I thought Guillermo and Nick (Chappell) were competing exceptionally well. We have never beaten Dane Webb in a dual match and Guillermo was able to give us that point to even the match at 1-1. Now we must prepare for a tough Oklahoma State on Sunday."

FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of March 26th.  For more details about UTR check out their website. 

#1 Oklahoma 4, #10 TCU 1
March 27, 2015 at Norman, OK
Singles competition
1. #19 Andrew Harris (OU 14.74) def. #37 Cameron Norrie (TCU 14.30) 7-6(5), 6-4
2. #7 Axel Alvarez (OU 14.59) vs. #36 Nick Chappell (TCU 13.82)  5-7, 6-4, 2-3 DNF
3. #76 Guillermo Nunez (TCU 13.72) def. #26 Dane Webb (OU 14.32) 6-3, 6-2
4. #65 Alex Ghilea (OU 14.15) def. Arnau Dachs (TCU 13.91) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
5. Spencer Papa (OU 13.81) def. Will Stein (TCU 13.30)  6-4, 6-3
6. Florin Bragusi (OU 13.51) vs. Facundo Lugones (TCU 13.64) 6-3, 6-7(5), 3-2 DNF

Order of finish: 3, 5, 1, 4
Doubles competition
1. #6 Webb/Alvarez (OU) def. #19 Chappell/Stein (TCU)  6-1
2. Harris/Ghilea (OU) def. Norrie/Johnson (TCU)  6-3
3. Papa/Bragusi (OU) vs. Blake/Lugones (TCU) 3-4 DNF
Order of finish: 1, 2

Athens, GA:  Georgia stayed unbeaten in SEC play with a 4-1 win over Vanderbilt. Georgia took the doubles point when its #2 team of Eric Diaz and Nathan Pasha snapped a 5-match losing streak with a 6-3 win and then the Bulldogs picked up singles from Austin Smith, Paul Oosterbaan, and Nick Wood with Wood providing the clincher.  Vanderbilt's Daniel Valent picked up his first career win over a top 20 opponent when he rallied from a set down to win 12 of the final 13 games to knock off #18 Nathan Pasha 4-6, 6-0, 6-1.  Valent got off the court just moments before the Wood clinch.  All other matches were abandoned with #1 singles on serve in the 3rd and #4 just splitting sets.  

The big doubles match at #1 also went unfinished.  

Georgia recap

"We faced windy conditions today, but I told the guys coming in that it was an equalizer and we needed to be tough," said Georgia coach Manuel Diaz. "I thought we did a super job out there. We played great doubles, especially at No. 3, and it was wonderful to see our No. 2 team clinch for us. The singles matches were all competitive, and I'm proud of the effort everywhere."

Said Diaz: "Austin gave us a quick point, and Paul gave us the third point to set up Nick, who lost the first set and turned that around in such a quick manner. He won the second set and got ahead 3-0 in no time, and that was tremendous and showed a lot of composure, tenacity and maturity on his part. He went on to clinch and now we'll have a day or two off before we get ready for a big road trip next week."

Vanderbilt recap

#5 Georgia 4, #17 Vanderbilt 1
March 27, 2015 at Athens, Ga. (Dan Magill Tennis Complex)
Singles competition
1. #28 Wayne Montgomery (UGA 14.59) vs. #7 Gonzales Austin (VAN 14.47) 4-6, 7-5, 0-1, unf
2. #31 Austin Smith (UGA 14.17) def. Rhys Johnson (VAN 13.51) 6-4, 6-3
3. Daniel Valent (VAN 13.88) def. #18 Nathan Pasha (UGA 14.36) 4-6, 6-0, 6-1
4. Ben Wagland (UGA 13.25) vs. Kris Yee (VAN 13.59) 3-6, 6-3, unf
5. Nick Wood (UGA 13.83) def. Suresh Eswaran (VAN 12.86) 3-6, 6-2, 6-1
6. Paul Oosterbaan (UGA 13.63) def. Baker Newman (VAN 12.90) 6-1, 6-4
Doubles competition
1. #1 Austin Smith/Ben Wagland (UGA) vs. #4 Gonzales Austin/Rhys Johnson (VAN) 3-4, unf
2. Eric Diaz/Nathan Pasha (UGA) def. #71 Pen Binet/Baker Newman (VAN) 6-3
3. Wayne Montgomery/Paul Oosterbaan (UGA) def. Suresh Eswaran/Daniel Valent (VAN) 6-1
Match Notes:
Vanderbilt 15-6 (5-4); National ranking #17
Georgia 16-2 (8-0); National ranking #5
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (2,6,3,5)

Official: Clark Weaver T-2:08 A-587

Virginia extended its ACC record winning streak to 130 with a 6-1 win over #14 North Carolina in a match that was played indoors with just 3 courts available due to a women's match being played at the same time.  Virginia took the doubles point and picked up singles wins from Ryan Shane and Mitchell Frank to lead 3-0 before North Carolina made a small push.  UNC's Jack Murray was up 2-1 in the 3rd on 3, Robert Kelly was serving for the first set on 4, and Oystein Steiro was a break up early on 5. Unfortunately for North Carolina, Virginia would respond with Collin Altamirano taking the final 5 games at #3 and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski taking 10 of the final 12 games to win on 4. UNC's lone point would come from Steiro at 5.  

Virginia recap

"In a difficult situation, playing on only three courts, the guys handled it well," said head coach Brian Boland. "I was really impressed with North Carolina. They played some great doubles. Luca Corinteli carried the day for us in the doubles and that was a big point at the start of the match. We played well from top to bottom of the lineup and we continue to improve with each match. We look forward to the next challenge, which is Sunday against a great Duke team."

North Carolina recap

#8 Virginia 6, #14 North Carolina 1                    
Doubles Competition
1. #8 Shane/Corinteli (UVA) def. #27 Steiro/Hess-Olesen (UNC) 8-6                     
2. #54 Styslinger/Kwiatkowski (UVa) def. Murray/Schneider (UNC) 8-2               
3. Frank/Altamirano (UVa) vs. Clark/Kelly (UNC) 6-7 DNF
Singles Competition
1. #6 Ryan Shane (UVA 14.54) def. #24 Ronnie Schneider (UNC 14.20) 7-5, 6-3 
2. #29 Mitchell Frank (UVa 14.89) def. #69 Brett Clark (UNC 13.74) 6-0, 6-1               
3. #55 Collin Altamirano (UVa 14.80) def. Jack Murray (UNC 13.95) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2      
4. #10 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (UVa 14.76) def. #99 Robert Kelly (UNC 13.59) 7-5, 6-2   
5. Oystein Steiro (UNC 13.43) def. Henrik Wiersholm (UVa 13.55) 6-3, 6-4                 
6. J.C. Aragone (UVa 13.94) def. Stuart DePaolo (UNC 12.49) 7-5, 6-1  
Match Notes:
North Carolina 14-7, 3-2; National ranking #14
Virginia 13-3, 6-0; National ranking #8
While some conferences are already half way through their schedules others are just beginning. Both the Big 12 and Pac 12 kickoff conference play on Friday while the ACC, SEC, and Big 10 are nearing or have already passed its half way point.  Below are the 4 biggest matches of the day so make sure you keep an eye on these.

#14 North Carolina (14-6) at #8 Virginia (12-3) - 3pm est - North Carolina's biggest problem this year has been fielding a healthy starting 6 and there's a chance that its best 6 players may be on the court on Friday.  UNC's #1 Brayden Schnur has now missed the last 5 matches but the Tar Heels hope that he'll be able to go on Friday. Virginia has battled some injuries as well but they still haven't missed a beat in conference play with its current ACC winning streak at 129.  UNC is 15-5 in doubles while Virginia is 13-2.  These teams met earlier this year in Chicago, in the consolation draw, at the National Indoors with Virginia cruising to a 4-0 win.  This one might be a little closer but Virginia will still win comfortably. I like UVA in doubles and see singles wins from Frank, Shane, Altamirano, Kwiatkowski, and Aragone.  Prediction: Virginia 6-1

FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of March 26th.  For more details about UTR check out their website. 

Projected Lineups:
1. #12 Brayden Schnur (UNC 14.48) vs. #29 Mitchell Frank (UVA 14.89)
2. #24 Ronnie Schneider (UNC 14.20) vs. #6 Ryan Shane (UVA 14.54)
3. #69 Brett Clark (UNC 13.74) vs. #55 Collin Altamirano (UVA 14.80)
4. Esben Hess-Olesen (UNC 13.03) vs. #10 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (UVA 14.76)
5. Jack Murray (UNC 13.95) vs. Alexander Ritschard (UVA 13.89)
6. #99 Robert Kelly (UNC 13.59) vs. J.C. Aragone (UVA 13.94)

Others who could play: Oystein Steiro (UNC 13.43), #112 Mac Styslinger (UVA 13.93)

#17 Vanderbilt (15-5) at #5 Georgia (15-2) - 5pm est - The last time these two met came in the quarterfinals of last year's SEC Tournament which happened to be in Nashville.  Vandy pulled off the upset of the #1 seeded Bulldogs winning 4-2 but so far this year Georgia has been rolling in conference play.  Georgia is 12-5 in doubles while Vanderbilt is 14-6.  Both teams have really strong #1s with Georgia's Austin Smith and Ben Wagland the new ITA #1 and Vandy's Gonzales Austin and Rhys Johnson ranked #4 though they were #1 just 2 weeks ago.

Georgia will be a pretty heavy favorite at 2, 5, and 6 singles but the other 3 courts should all be close. Gonzales Austin and Daniel Valent have been the Dores stalwarts going 32-3 in dual match play while their opponents Wayne Montgomery and Nathan Pasha are a combined 20-5.  Both teams #4 players have been up and down with Wagland currently up and Yee currently down.  Wagland has won 3 straight after dropping 4 of 5 while Yee has lost 2 straight and 6 of 8.  I like Georgia in doubles and see them picking up wins from Smith, Wood, and Oosterbaan.  Prediction:  Georgia 4-0

Projected Lineups:
1. #7 Gonzales Austin (VU 14.47) vs. #28 Wayne Montgomery (UGA 14.59)
2. Rhys Johnson (VU 13.51) vs. #31 Austin Smith (UGA 14.17)
3. Daniel Valent (VU 13.88) vs. #18 Nathan Pasha (UGA 14.36)
4. Kris Yee (VU 13.59) vs. Ben Wagland (UGA 13.25)
5. Suresh Eswaran (VU 12.86) vs. Nick Wood (UGA 13.83)
6. Baker Newman (VU 12.90) vs. Paul Oosterbaan (UGA 13.63)

Others who could play: Jeff Offerdahl (VU 12.60)

#11 Ohio State (15-6) at #19 Northwestern (12-6) - 6pm est - This matchup lost a little steam when Northwestern got upset Wednesday night by Rice which snapped the Wildcats 6 match winning streak. Ohio State has won 96 straight regular season Big 10 matches dating back to 2005 which happened to be the last time that Northwestern beat Ohio State.  The Buckeyes have won 12 straight in the series but this hasn't been the best year for Ohio State and its streaks because so far this year the Buckeyes 200-match home court winning streak and its 294-match top 10 streak have both been snapped.  I think the doubles point will be a key in this one because right now I see the singles courts split.  I like Torpegaard, Steinbach, and Metka at 1, 5, and 6 and Kirchheimer, Zieba, and Staggs at 2, 3, and 4.

Ohio State is a stout 17-4 in doubles though the Buckeyes have dropped the point 2 of the last 3 times out.  Northwestern is 10-8 in doubles but just 4-7 against ranked opponents.  I'll take Ohio State in doubles and therefore the match.  Prediction: Ohio State 4-3

Projected Lineups:
1. #32 Mikael Torpegaard (OSU 14.03) vs. #92 Sam Shropshire (NW 13.85)
2. #44 Chris Diaz (OSU 14.01) vs. #124 Strong Kirchheimer (NW 13.75)
3. Hunter Callahan (OSU 13.88) vs. Konrad Zieba (NW 13.70)
4. #116 Herkko Pollanen (OSU 13.49) vs. Logan Staggs (NW 13.26)
5. #83 Ralf Steinbach (OSU 13.84) vs. Mihir Kumar (NW 12.93)
6. Kevin Metka (OSU 13.79) vs. Fedor Baev (NW 12.97)

Others who could play: Alp Horoz (NW 12.87)

#10 TCU (14-5) at #1 Oklahoma (17-1) - 6:30pm est - TCU brings a 5-match winning streak into this one while Oklahoma has won 7 straight.  Neither team has been too hot in doubles with Oklahoma 9-9 and TCU 10-7.  Oklahoma's strength has been its top 3 with Alvarez, Harris, and Webb a combined 37-5 in dual match play while TCU's top 3 of Chappell, Norrie, and Nunez is a combined 31-8.  Axel Alvarez has a team best 15-0 record for OU while Guillermo Nunez leads the way for TCU with a 14-0 record.  TCU has the talent to keep this one close but Oklahoma is still stronger top to bottom.  I like OU in doubles and Alvarez, Harris, and Papa in singles.  Prediction: Oklahoma 4-1

Projected Lineups:
1.  #36 Nick Chappell (TCU 13.82) vs. #2 Axel Alvarez (OU 14.59)
2.  #37 Cameron Norrie (TCU 14.30)  vs. #13 Andrew Harris (OU 14.74)
3.  #76 Guillermo Nunez (TCU 13.72) vs. #23 Dane Webb (OU 14.32)
4.  Arnau Dachs (TCU 13.91) vs. #65 Alex Ghilea (OU 14.15)
5.  Will Stein (TCU 13.30) vs. Spencer Papa (OU 13.81)
6.  Facundo Lugones (TCU 13.64) vs. Florin Bragusi (OU 13.51)

Others who could play: Trevor Johnson (TCU 13.36), Jose Salazar (OU 13.72)

Other Friday storylines:

Can #23 Louisville follow up its big win over #14 North Carolina by winning in Atlanta against an upstart #73 Georgia Tech team?

Can #13 Ole Miss rebound from its loss to #34 Mississippi State by winning in Baton Rouge or does #24 LSU make it 3 conference wins in a row?

Will #3 Illinois show any mercy on #50 Penn State or will the Illini put the hammer down to make sure Penn State can't challenge anything this year?

#22 Oklahoma State has had some decent wins this year but they've yet to beat anybody in the top 25 - do they get over the hump against #7 Texas or do the Horns take it to them?

Thursday, 26 March 2015 10:14

When A Win Isn't A Win

Written by
We are coming up one the 1 year anniversary of one of the odder things that has happened in college tennis in the last several years.

Last year on March 28th, Illinois and Penn State played an exhausting dual match in State College that lasted just under 6 hours (4 indoor courts) and ended with the Illini coming out on top thanks to Julian Childers coming back from a set down to win in 3. After the match each coach praised the other team and talked about how great a match it was - I mean why wouldn't they after spending almost 6 hours together.

So why is all this so strange?  It's strange because 5 days later the Big 10 overturned the decision due to a Penn State protest based off Illinois playing it's highest ranked player, Jared Hiltzik, at #1 singles. Hiltzik had been out of action for 6 weeks recovering from an injury and was soundly beaten by Leonard Stakhovsky in his return to the court.  The Big 10 coaches felt that playing a less than 100% Hiltzik at #1 was a line-up stack giving the Illini a better chance at each of the remaining courts.  The coaches felt that Hiltzik should have played at 2 with Farris Gosea at 1.

UPDATE: After writing this I found out some more details that I wanted to share. The Big 10, like several other conferences, requires the coaches to submit their lineups early in the week for the upcoming matches and after the submission there is a challenge process.  It was during the challenge process, several days before the match, that the other Big 10 coaches voted down the Illinois lineup and made them change it to show Gosea at 1 and Hiltzik at 2.  Despite having its originally submitted lineup struck down, Illinois decided to use it anyway on principal (as stated at the bottom) and that's why the protest was made and followed through on.  Even if Penn State hadn't protested the result it could have been challenged by any other coach in the conference.  I still don't necessarily agree with it but now I fully understand it and can respect the decision made by the Big 10.   The statement at the very bottom from April 2 alluded to the protest but I originally read it to mean the lineup was protested after the fact when in reality it was protested during the challenge process days before the match was played. 

If I really thought that Penn State would have swept 1 and 2 with Gosea at 1 and Hiltzik at 2 then I wouldn't have thought twice about what the Big 10 decided.  However anyone that followed Illinois last year knew that the Illini's #2, Farris Gosea, was tearing it up and would have won regardless of where he was put in the lineup.  Gosea was 12-3 in dual match play coming into the Penn State match while his opponent Russell Bader was 15-2.   Gosea would drop a whole 2 games to Bader and would finish the regular season on a 12-match winning streak.  Now if Gosea had won the match 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 then someone could have come to the conclusion that had he played at #1 the result wouldn't have been the same but it wasn't a close match at all - I mean 6-1, 6-1 - come on.  Despite all of that the Big 10 felt that Penn State's protest was valid and awarded the win to the Nittany Lions.

You hear about teams filing protests all the time but this is one of the few occasions that I can think of where the result of a match was altered.

A couple of other instances mentioned by Colette Lewis and Texas College Tennis were from 2006 when Northwestern had a loss to Wisconsin overturned and in 2010 the Syracuse women had a win overturned into a loss against Eastern Michigan.

It's interesting to re-read the post-match quotes in the proper context - gives you a little bit of a chuckle - "wish you had a second chance" - well coach the Big 10 gave you your second chance.  I wonder if Brad still thinks Coach Zinn is doing a great job or if his opinion changed after the ruling.

These two teams are set to meet again this coming Friday in Champaign and I don't think Illinois is going to hold anything back - anything other than a 7-0 score would be very surprising.

Illinois recap

"Our guys fought hard at Penn State today," continued Dancer. "Coach Zinn is doing a great job with his team and it was a difficult match."

Penn State recap

"This was one of those matches in the Big Ten that you wish you had a second chance at, there were just so many ebbs and flows to this match," said Head Coach Jeff Zinn. "I really thought we were going to win that last match. Being up a set, I thought the momentum would take us through it. Credit to the Illinois guy, he fought hard, he came back and won a really good match. It's hard to have a freshman in that situation like we did, but that's why he came here to be in big situations."

"I thought today, doubles was going to be a key point and it was," said Zinn. "It was the first doubles match we've lost in a long time. It was our first time playing outside since spring break. It wasn't the greatest tennis outside before the rain came, but I felt that we adjusted pretty well. We started to make a comeback in singles outside and that translated when we came indoors."

"Great effort by our team today, inching back to a possible upset against No. 9 Illinois," said Assistant Coach Paul Tobin. "Tied at 3-3, Marc almost came back after splitting the first two sets, but both players started getting tired and Illinois closed it out. We showed again today that we can really compete in the Big Ten this year."

#10 Illinois 4, #23 Penn State 3 
Mar 28, 2014 at University Park, Pa.
Singles competition
1. #50 Leonard Stakhovsky (PSU) def. #9 Jared Hiltzik (ILL) 6-2, 6-2
2. #23 Farris Gosea (ILL) def. Russell Bader (PSU) 6-1, 6-1
3. #42 Tim Kopinski (ILL) def. Alex Fennell (PSU) 7-6 (7-3), 7-5
4. Matt Barry (PSU) def. Ross Guignon (ILL) 6-3, 6-2
5. Roman Trkulja (PSU) def. Blake Bazarnik (ILL) 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
6. Julian Childers (ILL) def. Marc ColladoCastells (PSU) 6-7 (6-8), 6-0, 6-3
Doubles competition
1. #3 Ross Guignon/Tim Kopinski (ILL) def. #28 Russell Bader/Leonard Stakhovsky (PSU) 8-7 (7-3)
2. #54 Michael Reilly/Chris Young (PSU) vs. Jared Hiltzik/Farris Gosea (ILL) 4-5, unfinished
3. Blake Bazarnik/Alex Jesse (ILL) def. David Kohan/ChristianLutschaunig (PSU) 8-3
Match Notes:
Illinois 14-5, 4-0; National ranking #10
Penn State 15-3, 2-2; National ranking #23
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (1,2,4,3,5,6)
45 Minute Rain Delay
Match started outdoors at Sarni Tennis Center

T-5:52 A-151

#23 Penn State 4, #10 Illinois 3 (Modified)
Mar 28, 2014 at University Park, Pa. (Indoor Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #50 Leonard Stakhovsky (PSU) def. #9 Jared Hiltzik (ILL) 6-2, 6-2
2. #23 Farris Gosea (ILL) def. Russell Bader (PSU) 6-1, 6-1
3. #42 Tim Kopinski (ILL) def. Alex Fennell (PSU) 7-6 (7-3), 7-5
4. Matt Barry (PSU) def. Ross Guignon (ILL) 6-3, 6-2
5. Roman Trkulja (PSU) def. Blake Bazarnik (ILL) 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
6. Julian Childers (ILL) def. Marc ColladoCastells (PSU) 6-7 (6-8), 6-0, 6-3
Doubles competition
1. #3 Ross Guignon/Tim Kopinski (ILL) def. #28 Russell Bader/Leonard Stakhovsky (PSU) 8-7 (7-3)
2. #54 Michael Reilly/Chris Young (PSU) vs. Jared Hiltzik/Farris Gosea (ILL) 4-5, unfinished
3. Blake Bazarnik/Alex Jesse (ILL) def. David Kohan/ChristianLutschaunig (PSU) 8-3
Match Notes:
Illinois 13-6, 3-1; National ranking #10
Penn State 16-2, 3-2; National ranking #23
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (1,2,4,3,5,6)
45 Minute Rain Delay; Match started outdoors at Sarni Tennis Center
Penn State protested Illinois' lineup. The Big Ten overturned the match
The point at No. 2 singles was awarded to Penn State.

T-5:52 A-151

April 2, 2014

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Big Ten Conference overturned the result of the March 28 men's tennis match between Illinois and Penn State. The action was taken by the conference after a lineup protest filed by Penn State regarding the No. 1 and No. 2 singles positions was upheld by the conference protest committee. As a result of the committee's decision, the No. 2 singles point is awarded to Penn State to result in a 4-3 match victory for the Nittany Lions. While the team result was changed, all individual match results will be maintained.

Earlier in the week, Illinois submitted a lineup with Jared Hiltzik, ranked ninth in the nation, in the No. 1 singles position. The submitted lineup was protested by the opposing coaches last weekend. Illinois competed with Hiltzik, who was returning after missing nearly six weeks of action with an injury,  at No. 1 singles and Farris Gosea at No. 2 singles Friday at Penn State. Penn State then filed the lineup protest that was eventually upheld by the conference.

"I disagree with the current Big Ten policy on the setting of lineups," Illinois head coach Brad Dancer said. "We knew the ramifications of what could happen when we made the decision on our lineup last Friday. I'm disappointed in the situation, but, out of principle, we felt we needed to make a stand on what we believe is right. We adhered strictly to the guidelines set forth by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, but conference rules supersede ITA rules. We're disappointed with the situation and outcome, but, we'll accept it and move forward. This may allow us to begin the conversation to revise the system in the future."
Wednesday was a rough day to be a top 20 team on the road as both #13 Ole Miss and #19 Northwestern got upset.

In Houston, Rice picked up its 1st win over a top 20 opponent since 2009 when the Owls stunned Northwestern 4-1.  Rice took the doubles and then picked up singles wins from Srikar Alla, Max Andrews and David Warren at 1, 2, and 5.  Northwestern's Logan Staggs won at #4 singles in a losing effort and Konrad Zieba made his season debut at #3 singles for the Cats and led when the match was halted.

Rice recap

"All through the season, we have always stressed the importance of building the energy and putting up a fight no matter the outcome," Ustundag said. "Tonight you saw that happen over and over as they picked each other up. We started fast and never let up."

"This was a total team win," Ustundag said. "I think that perhaps Northwestern was a little flat at the start and we took advantage of that at the start. We played great doubles at one and three to get the point and then went right back out and took four first sets in singles.

"David never let up all night," Ustundag noted. "Getting off the court quickly and making it 2-0 really kept the pressure on them and you could see the impact that second point going up on the scoreboard had on the other matches."

"Srikar was the MVP of the match tonight," Ustundag said. "Right about the time when perhaps some of our early energy was running out, he gave us another boost." 

Northwestern recap

FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of March 25th.  For more details about UTR check out their website. 

Rice 4, #19 Northwestern 1
3/25/2015 at Houston, Texas (George R. Brown Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. Srikar Alla (RICE 13.19) def. #92 Sam Shropshire (NU 13.85) 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
2. Max Andrews (RICE 13.22) def. #102 Strong Kirchheimer (NU 13.74) 6-3, 7-5
3. Konrad Zieba (NU 13.69) vs. Jamie Malik (RICE 12.81) 7-5, 5-5, unfinished
4. Logan Staggs (NU 13.25) def. Adam Gustafsson (RICE 13.06) 6-4, 6-4
5. David Warren (RICE 13.16) def. Fedor Baev (NU 12.95) 6-3, 6-4
6. Gustavo Gonzalez (RICE 11.81) vs. Alp Horoz (NU 12.87) 7-6, 3-6, 2-1, unfinished
Doubles competition
1. Max Andrews/David Warren (RICE) def. #69 Sam Shropshire/Alex Pasareanu (NU) 6-4
2. Fedor Baev/Strong Kirchheimer (NU) def. Jamie Malik/Zach Yablon (RICE) 6-2
3. Gustavo Gonzalez/Adam Gustafsson (RICE) def. Konrad Zieba/Alp Horoz (NU) 6-3
Match Notes
Northwestern 12-6; National ranking #19
Rice 8-11
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (5,4,1,2)

T-2:40 A-100

It took 3 weeks longer than expected but Ole Miss and Mississippi State finally duked it out in the Battle for the Magnolia State.  The match was originally scheduled for March 5th but was postponed due to poor weather and State's indoor facility only having 2 courts.  

State got the early momentum by taking the doubles point and then each team won 3 1st sets.  Mate Cutura and Rishab Argawal extended the lead to 3-0 with straight sets wins at 3 and 5.  Vinod Gowda would get Ole Miss on the board with a 7-5, 6-4 win at #6 over Julian Cash but Ole Miss wasn't able to break through anywhere else despite having early leads at 2 and 4.  

It looked like Florian Lakat was going to clinch it for State when he opened up a 7-6, 3-0 over Nik Scholtz at #1 singles but the Rebel senior would come back and take the 2nd set in a tiebreak to force a 3rd.  

Then it looked like William Kallberg was going to close the gap to 3-2 when he led Tassilo Schmid 5-2 in the 3rd at #4 but despite having 3 match points on his 5-3 service game he would get broke and end up losing 5 straight games to drop the match 7-5 in the 3rd which gave State the 4-1 upset win over Ole Miss.  

Check out the Mississippi State recap for more in depth details. 

Miss State recap

"It's great for our team, our fans and our program for everyone to see how we compete and the atmosphere we bring out here, MSU coach Matt Roberts said. "It's really a great day for everyone to see what Mississippi State tennis is all about with this young team.

"It means a lot to me to clinch against Ole Miss in my senior season, Schmid said. "Down 5-3 and a break, I just kept thinking Man, this is not over yet.' I kept playing and bringing energy for my teammates still on the court and, next thing you know, I had saved three match points and ended up clinching.

"It was unreal today, between the feeling on the court and the crowd in the stands, Schmid said. "It was something very special in my last season of my college career.