Wednesday, 01 March 2017 20:36

March 1st USTA Rankings Release, Purdue Chugs Past Illinois, Draws Out For Pacific Coast Doubles Championship, ITA Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award

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The USTA released its top 25 on Wednesday with no change in either the men's or women's top 4. The women's top four of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio State, and Stanford were all unanimous selections while the men's top four of Virginia, Ohio State, Wake Forest, and North Carolina was near-unanimous with Wake missing out by just one vote. 

Northwestern and South Carolina were the only men's schools to move more than two spots with Northwestern falling five spots to No. 18 while South Carolina fell three spots to No. 25. Auburn made the biggest jump on the women's side coming up four spots to No. 8 after winning the Blue Gray Classic in Montgomery which included a win over Texas Tech. Georgia fell three spots to No. 8 but they stayed ahead of Georgia Tech despite the Jackets defeating them on Friday. For what it's worth I had Georgia Tech No. 10 and Georgia No. 11 in my ballot. Duke rose three spots to No. 15 after defeating NC State and TCU. 

Notre Dame entered the men's poll at No. 24 while Stanford fell out after being ranked No. 25 last week. Tennessee, Mississippi State, and Kentucky entered the women's poll at No. 21 and No. 25 (tie) while LSU and Miami FL fell out after being ranked No. 23 and No. 25 last week. 

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USTA Poll Information: there are eight college tennis "experts" on the voting panel, including yours truly, and each of us ranked 25 teams from numbers 1 to 25, with the first-place team receiving 25 points and the last-place team receiving one. When voting we were to consider strength of schedule, Top 25 wins/losses, road wins/losses and personnel adjustments for each program while also basing our vote on performance, not reputation or preseason speculation. For control, the highest and lowest outlying ranking for each team on the ballot was removed. Therefore, the maximum number of points a team can receive is 150. First-place votes were not tallied. 

Rank School Votes Chg Rank School Votes Chg
1 Virginia 150 0 1 Florida 150 0
2 Ohio State 144 0 2 North Carolina 144 0
3 Wake Forest 137 0 3 Ohio State 138 0
4 North Carolina 132 0 4 Stanford 132 0
5 Cal 122 0 5 Oklahoma State 122 1
6 Oklahoma 121 0 6 California 113 1
7 Texas 113 2 7 Auburn 109 4
8 UCLA 108 -1 8 Georgia 108 -3
9 Florida 105 -1 9 Michigan 105 -1
10 Oklahoma State 95 1 10 Georgia Tech 96 2
11 USC 93 -1 11 Texas Tech 93 -2
12 Baylor 81 0 12 Pepperdine 89 -2
13 Michigan 78 1 13 Vanderbilt 75 0
T14 Georgia 63 1 14 Arizona State 58 2
T14 Kentucky 63 2 15 Duke 57 3
16 Mississippi State 54 2 16 UCLA 55 -2
17 Illinois 51 0 17 Ole Miss 51 0
18 Northwestern 43 -5 18 Baylor 47 1
19 Vanderbilt 38 1 19 Texas A&M 35 1
20 Georgia Tech 32 -1 20 South Carolina 29 2
21 Columbia 28 0 21 Tennessee 27 NR
22 Tulane 21 1 22 Texas 23 1
23 Texas A&M 19 0 23 USC 19 -2
24 Notre Dame 16 NR 24 TCU 11 0
25 South Carolina 10 -3 T25 Kentucky/Mississippi State 10 NR
Others Receiving Votes: SMU (6), Stanford (5), Cornell (3), Ole Miss (1) Dropped Out: Stanford (25)
Others Receiving Votes: Arkansas (3), Rice (2), Miami (1), Notre Dame (1) Dropped Out: LSU (23), Miami (25)




Purdue came into Wednesday evenings match against No. 23 Illinois having lost 24 straight to the Illini with its last win in the series coming on March 30, 1993. Illinois dropped the doubles point for the ninth time this season with Purdue winning 6-2 at No. 2 and No. 3 and then the teams split first sets in singles. Purdue senior Benjamin Ugarte and freshman Stephan Koenigsfest won in straight sets at No. 3 and No. 4 to put Purdue in front 3-0 before Illinois mounted a comeback. Illinois junior Aron Hiltzik won in straight sets at No. 2, freshman Aleks Kovacevic won in straight sets at No. 5, and junior Aleks Vukic won in three sets at No. 1.

Moments after Vukic tied the match at 3-3, Purdue freshman Athell Bennett closed out Illinois freshman Noe Khlif at No. 6 by a 6-3, 7-6(4) score to give Purdue its landmark win.  

Purdue 4, #23 Illinois 3
Mar 01, 2017 at Basham Courts (West Lafayette, Ind.)
Singles competition
1. #29 Aleks Vukic (ILL 14.85) def. Ricky Medinilla (PUR_M 13.57) 6-4, 1-6, 6-1
2. #23 Aron Hiltzik (ILL 14.57) def. #89 Gergely Madarasz (PUR_M 13.98) 6-4, 7-5
3. Benjamin Ugarte (PUR_M 13.76) def. Gui Gomes (ILL 13.62) 6-4, 6-2
4. Stephan Koenigsfest (PUR_M 14.03) def. Julian Childers (ILL 13.43) 6-3, 6-1
5. Aleks Kovacevic (ILL 14.07) def. Dominik Sochurek (PUR_M 12.75) 7-6 (7-5), 6-2
6. Athell Bennett (PUR_M 12.90) def. Noe Khlif (ILL 13.41) 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
Doubles competition
1. Stephan Koenigsfest/Dominik Sochurek (PUR_M) vs. Aron Hiltzik/Aleks Vukic (ILL) 3-5, unfinished
2. Ricky Medinilla/Benjamin Ugarte (PUR_M) def. Alex Jesse/Aleks Kovacevic (ILL) 6-2
3. Athell Bennett/Gergely Madarasz (PUR_M) def. Zeke Clark/Gui Gomes (ILL) 6-2
Match Notes:
Illinois 7-5; National ranking #23
Purdue 9-5
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (4,3,2,5,1,6)
Match played indoors on the Basham Courts at the Schwartz Tennis Center.


There was a top 10 showdown that flew under the radar on Tuesday night with No. 7 Cal holding off No. 9 Michigan 4-3. Cal was playing without an injured Filip Bergevi for the fourth match in a row with Bergevi normally playing at No. 3 singles while forming the ITA No. 2 doubles team with Florian Lakat. 

Cal managed to take the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 3 but Michigan fought back in singles by sweeping the bottom three spots to go in front 3-1. Cal junior Billy Griffith broke Michigan's Alex Knight to go up 4-3 in the third and shortly thereafter he'd serve it out to win it 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. Cal senior Florian Lakat tied the match at 3-all with a 7-6, 1-6, 6-2 win at No. 1 so the spotlight shifted to No. 2. Cal senior Andre Goransson had three match points in the second set against Michigan's Myles Schalet but Schalet fought each off to take the set in a tiebreak 10-8. Goransson jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third set and then he fought off two break points to hold for 4-1. Goransson would break Schalet on the no-ad point to close out the match with a 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 win.


#7 Cal 4, #9 Michigan 3 
Feb. 28, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. (Hellman Tennis Complex)
Doubles competition
1. Andre Goransson/Billy Griffith (Cal) def. No. 22 Jathan Malik/Connor Johnston (Michigan), 6-2
2. No. 28 Alex Knight/Runhao Hua vs. Dominic Barretto/Florian Lakat (Cal) 5-4 Unfinished
3. Bjorn Hoffmann/J.T. Nishimura (Cal) def. Myles Schalet/Kevin Wong (Michigan), 6-3
Singles competition
1. No. 20 Florian Lakat (Cal) def. Jathan Malik (Michigan), 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-2
2. No. 26 Andre Goransson (Cal) def. No. 66 Myles Schalet (Michigan), 6-3, 6-7(8), 6-2
3. No. 80 Billy Griffith (Cal) def. Alex Knight (Michigan), 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
4. No. 95 Kevin Wong (Michigan) def. Bjorn Hoffmann (Cal), 3-6, 6-0, 6-2
5. Runhao Hua (Michigan) def. J.T. Nishimura (Cal), 6-3, 7-5
6. Carter Lin (Michigan) def. Dominic Barretto (Cal), 6-2, 6-3
Match Notes
Cal 8-1
Michigan 7-2
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (6,4,5,3,1,2)
Post-Match Quotes from Cal's recap
"An incredible performance from our guys tonight!" Cal head coach Peter Wright said. "The match had so many twists and turns, and I'm so impressed with our performances on the top three courts. The doubles point was key again today and it gave us a bit of confidence going into the singles. Give credit to Michigan because they came out swinging in the singles and put us on our heels.

"Our team is doing a great job of staying focused, even in the face of great adversity. Even though we went down 3-1, I could tell our guys weren't giving up. I think our guys actually like the drama. That's our first full match under our new lights, and it felt great to have so many fans there cheering us on."

"I tried to stay focused throughout the match," Goransson said. "I was a little bit unlucky on some of the match points in the second set. He played really well on most of them. I have to give credit to him. But I think I was pretty resilient today."

Of celebrating with his teammates, he added, "You don't get to play these three-all matches every day, and when you do, it's really amazing to have all your brothers, basically, on the side (of the court). It's an amazing feeling."




The draws are out for the 128th Annual Pacific Coast Men's Doubles Championship with Oklahoma State's Arjun Kadhe and Lucas Gerch the co-#1 seeds with USC associate head coach Kris Kwinta and USC volunteer assistant coach Deiton Baughman. The full draws are available here



The ITA announced the creation of a new award to honor longtime coach and educator Dr. Ann Lebedeff that will be endowed by tennis icon Billie Jean King. Per the ITA's release "The ITA Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award will stand to honor a recent college graduate who played college tennis and demonstrated excellence on and off the court, leadership on his or her team, as well as on his or her college campus and in his or her community. The annual recipient of the award will have demonstrated grit (i.e. passion and perseverance towards long-term goals), a commitment to social justice and equality and will have pushed others to be leaders in addition to demonstrating his or her own leadership.".  


Read 2174 times Last modified on Wednesday, 08 March 2017 13:19

1 comment

  • Comment Link Justin Thursday, 02 March 2017 13:57 posted by Justin

    A top 10 team (Final 4 last year) comes back from 3-1 down against another top 10 ranked team and misses out on a mention in the title. Purdue made it

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