Wednesday, 19 April 2017 22:00

USTA Rankings Released, TCU Wins Big 12 With Win Over Baylor, Kalbas Breaks UNC Wins Record, Pepperdine Puts One Over on USC, Upset in Big South

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The latest USTA Top 25 is out with both the Wake Forest men and Florida women remaining at No. 1 although their leads at the top are as slim as they've been. On the men's side Virginia is just two votes back at No. 2 while on the women's side Ohio State is only one vote behind Florida. There was no change in the men's top six though Baylor moved up two spots to No. 7 while USC dropped one spot to No. 8 and Texas dropped two spots to No. 9. Florida, South Carolina, and Oregon made the biggest jumps by coming up four spots each to No. 15, No. 18, and No. 21. Georgia Tech took the biggest tumble by dropping five spots to No. 19 after a tough loss at unranked Virginia Tech. Coincidently Columbia only dropped one spot to No. 19 after it fell to unranked Harvard. 

The women's top four remained the same though Vanderbilt shot up six spots to No. 5 after its big win over Florida last Sunday. Pepperdine came up four spots to No. 8 after defeating Stanford and Texas A&M came up six spots to No. 18 after defeating Georgia in Athens. Texas Tech and Auburn each dropped four spots to No. 10 and No. 22 after T-Tech lost to unranked TCU while Auburn fell to Arkansas. 

The Tulane men and TCU women were the only newcomers to this week's poll with each coming in at No. 25. The Kentucky men and LSU women were the only two to fall out after each lost a pair of matches over the weekend. 

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Voter ballots available to the public: BobbyDallas Oliver (TRN), Bruce Waschuk (UTR Men/Women)

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. 

Voting Panel: Casey Angle (former ITA championships director), Virgil Christian (USTA College Tennis), Granger Huntress (Texas College Tennis), Bobby Knight (College Tennis Today), Dallas Oliver (Tennis Recruiting Network), Mike Patrick (former University of Tennessee women’s coach), Lisa Stone (Parenting Aces) and Bruce Waschuk (Universal Tennis Rating).

USTA MEN'S TOP 25   USTA WOMEN'S TOP 25
Rank School Votes Prv Chg Rank School Votes Prv Chg
1 Wake Forest 148 1 0 1 Florida 146 1 0
2 Virginia 146 2 0 2 Ohio State 145 2 0
3 Ohio State 138 3 0 3 North Carolina 141 3 0
4 North Carolina 130 4 0 4 Stanford 121 4 0
5 TCU 127 5 0 5 Vanderbilt 119 11 6
6 Oklahoma State 118 6 0 6 Georgia 115 5 -1
7 Baylor 111 9 2 7 Georgia Tech 112 7 0
8 USC 106 7 -1 8 Pepperdine 110 12 4
9 Texas 101 7 -2 9 Oklahoma State 108 7 -2
10 UCLA 100 10 0 10 Texas Tech 105 6 -4
11 Texas A&M 92 12 1 11 California 94 9 -2
12 California 85 12 0 12 Michigan 88 10 -2
13 Georgia 79 11 -2 13 Baylor 76 14 1
14 Stanford 66 14 0 14 Duke 65 15 1
15 Florida 62 19 4 15 South Carolina 61 16 1
16 Oklahoma 58 16 0 16 UCLA 55 13 -3
17 Michigan 53 15 -2 17 Arizona State 49 17 0
18 South Carolina 41 22 4 18 Texas A&M 42 24 6
19 Columbia 34 18 -1 19 Arkansas 39 22 3
20 Mississippi State 29 20 0 20 Texas 36 18 -2
21 Oregon 21 25 4 21 Mississippi State 27 21 0
22 Georgia Tech 19 17 -5 22 Auburn 25 18 -4
23 Northwestern 18 21 -2 23 Kentucky 21 20 -3
24 Cornell 17 22 -2 24 Florida International 11 25 1
25 Tulane 12 NR - 25 TCU 8 NR -
Receiving Votes: South Florida (5), Illinois (3), UCF (3), Kentucky (2) Dropped Out: Kentucky
Receiving Votes: USC (5), Tennessee (4), Oregon (2) Dropped Out: LSU

 

 

 

Ninth-ranked TCU won its 11th straight match and 2nd consecutive Big 12 regular season championship with an impressive 4-1 win at No. 4 Baylor. TCU took the doubles point with a 6-4 win at No. 2 and a 6-2 win at No. 3 and then the Horned Frogs added four first sets in singles. Alex Rybakov cruised to a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 2 to make it 2-0 and then Trevor Johnson got past Constantin Frantzen in straight sets at No. 6 to make it 3-0. 

Baylor senior Max Tchoutakian put the Bears on the board with a three-set win at No. 3 and it looked like Jimmy Bendeck might make it 3-2 but TCU's Jerry Lopez came back from 5-2 down to force a second set tiebreak at No. 4. TCU sophomore Reese Stalder looked like he'd get the clinching win at No. 5 but Baylor sophomore Will Little came back from 6-4, 5-2 down to win five straight games to force a third set. 

While both No. 4 and No. 5 were up for grabs, TCU junior Cameron Norrie was pulling away from Juan Benitez at No. 1. Norrie took the opening set 6-4 before Benitez took the second 6-3. Norrie opened up a 3-0 lead in the third set and a few games later he'd serve it out at love by hitting three aces in his final service game.

 

 

TCU closes out its regular season on Saturday with a visit from Texas while Baylor goes to Lubbock to face Texas Tech.

#9 TCU 4, #4 Baylor 1
Apr 19, 2017 at Waco, Texas (Hurd Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #2 Cameron Norrie (TCU) def. #13 Juan Benitez (BU) 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
2. #27 Alex Rybakov (TCU) def. #53 Johannes Schretter (BU) 6-2, 6-0
3. #43 Max Tchoutakian (BU) def. #83 Guillermo Nuñez (TCU) 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
4. Jimmy Bendeck (BU) vs. Jerry Lopez (TCU) 7-5, 6-6, unfinished
5. Will Little (BU) vs. Reese Stalder (TCU) 4-6, 7-5, 1-1, unfinished 
6. Trevor Johnson (TCU) def. Constantin Frantzen (BU) 6-3, 7-6 (7-1)
Doubles competition
1. #17 Juan Benitez/Will Little (BU) vs. #32 Guillermo Nuñez/Alex Rybakov (TCU) 5-5
2. #34 Jerry Lopez/Reese Stalder (TCU) def. #64 Jimmy Bendeck/Johannes Schretter (BU) 6-4
3. Trevor Johnson/Cameron Norrie (TCU) def. Constantin Frantzen/Max Tchoutakian (BU) 6-2
Match Notes
TCU 16-4, 4-0; National ranking #9
Baylor 21-5, 2-2; National ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (2,6,3,1)
Big 12 Conference match

Post-Match Quotes from head coach David Roditi via TCU's recap
“First of all, we had unbelievable support from our Frog fans and the TCU women’s tennis team. We couldn’t have done it without all of their support. This is a tough place to play and a lot of things have to happen. You have to compete really hard, be really tough mentally, be resilient and you need the support to be able to win such a big match here. For that, I am really proud of our players. They deserve this. They knew it was about being mentally tough and they did a great job. We could have been out of here earlier, but they made a run there like we thought they would and like they always do. They compete and our guys did a good job of handling that.

“For (Alex) Rybakov to get off the court against a guy that hasn’t hardly lost all year was great for us. Trevor Johnson winning that tiebreaker and getting us to three put them in a really tough spot. I wasn’t worried about Jerry (Lopez). I wasn’t worried about Reese (Stalder). Max Tchoutakian played really well against Guillermo (Nuñez) and give him all the credit. Finally Cameron (Norrie) gets the opportunity to clinch and I am just happy for him. He had a great night last night and he backs it up the next day with the clinching match against a tough player like (Juan) Benitez on their court to clinch the Big 12 title. I couldn’t be happier and I couldn’t be prouder. This is for all the Frog fans out there that put up with us for the last few years and allowed us to get to this level. I am really proud of our guys and our fans and our program.

“Now we have another big match and every match counts. We want everyone to come out and celebrate with us on Saturday against Texas. They are an extremely well-coached team and a first-class team. It is going to be different then it was here and we look forward to that. It is always a really competitive match and really clean and that is going to be nice to play against Texas and their coaches.”

Post-Match Quotes from Baylor's recap

“It is always tough to lose, but it was a really good experience for our guys. We will grow from that. I think you saw a lot of the youth of our team today. You saw a poise up and down their lineup that we really lacked. It was one of those matches were in spurts we played really well, but we weren’t able to sustain the level of intensity that we needed to play a team this good.” - head coach Matt Knoll

 

 

The night may not have finished well for the home team in Waco but it definitely got off to a better start after the 18th ranked Baylor women's team defeated No. 24 TCU 4-1. Baylor swept all three doubles courts after getting simultaneous clinches at No. 2 and No. 3 and then the teams split first sets in singles.  

Baylor's Blair Shankle and Rhiann Newborn won in straight sets at No. 1 and No. 2 to put the Bears ahead 3-0 before TCU got on the board with a straight set win from Caroline Wegner at No. 5. TCU's Aleksandra Zenovka and Donika Bashota were nearing the finish line at No. 3 and No. 4 but before they could get there Baylor's Jessica Hinojosa clinched the match with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Marie Norris at No. 6.

Baylor wraps up the regular season this weekend with home matches against Kansas and Kansas State while TCU is done until the conference tournament. 

 

 

#18 Baylor 4, #24 TCU 1
Apr 19, 2017 at Waco, Texas (Hurd Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #5 Blair Shankle (BU) def. #62 Seda Arantekin (TCU) 6-3, 6-4
2. #116 Rhiann Newborn (BU) def. Sofiko Kadzhaya (TCU) 6-1, 7-5
3. Aleksandra Zenovka (TCU) vs. Elizabeth Profit (BU) 7-5, 4-1, unfinished
4. Donika Bashota (TCU) vs. Theresa Van Zyl (BU) 7-5, 5-0, unfinished
5. Caroline Wegner (TCU) def. Angie Shakhraichuk (BU) 6-3, 6-3
6. Jessica Hinojosa (BU) def. Marie Norris (TCU) 6-3, 6-4
Doubles competition
1. Blair Shankle/Karina Traxler (BU) def. #27 Seda Arantekin/Olaya Garrido-Rivas (TCU) 6-1
2. Angie Shakhraichuk/Jessica Hinojosa (BU) def. Caroline Wegner/Donika Bashota (TCU) 6-3
3. Theresa Van Zyl/Elizabeth Profit (BU) def. Sofiko Kadzhaya/Alexis Pereira (TCU) 6-4
Match Notes
TCU 13-8; National ranking #24
Baylor 18-5; National ranking #18
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (1,2,5,6)
Baylor remains undefeated at home, 12-0.

Post-Match Quotes from Baylor's recap
"I'm proud of the way we competed. TCU is really good and they're confident right now, so this was a big win for our group." - Head coach Joey Scrivano

"I feel like our team was like a tale of two sides. One half of our team was really tough, competed hard and gave it everything they had. And the other half didn't give their best. We've got to improve that." -Head coach Joey Scrivano

"Jessica was a warrior. She was our best player today. From start to finish she's so solid, singles to doubles. For a freshman to be that solid, her future is bright and I'm extremely proud of her. We're lucky to have her on our side." - Head coach Joey Scrivano

 

 

Third-ranked North Carolina snapped No. 15 Duke's 13-match winning streak and made head coach Brian Kalbas the program's all-time wins leader with a big 5-2 win. Duke jumped out to the early 1-0 lead after taking the doubles point with a tiebreak win at No. 3 but UNC came back strong in singles by taking five opening sets. UNC would close out all five in straight sets with Hayley Carter clinching the match at No. 1 with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Samantha Harris. It was Carter's 161st career singles win which ties an ACC record.

The win was Brian Kalbas's 352nd in Chapel Hill which surpassed Kitty Harrison who coached the Tar Heels from 1977 to 1998. 

North Carolina wraps up the regular season this weekend with matches against Pitt and Syracuse while Duke hosts Louisville and Georgia Tech. 

#3 North Carolina 5, #15 Duke 2
Apr 19, 2017 at Chapel Hill, N.C. (Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #2 Hayley Carter (UNC) def. #85 Samantha Harris (DU) 7-5, 6-3
2. #8 Sara Daavettila (UNC) def. #36 Meible Chi (DU) 7-5, 6-1
3. #31 Jessie Aney (UNC) def. #56 Chalena Scholl (DU) 6-3, 6-3
4. #113 Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU) def #55 Alexa Graham (UNC) 6-3, 7-6 (6)
5. #94 Makenna Jones (UNC) def. Ellyse Hamlin (DU) 6-3, 6-1
6. Chloe Ouellet-Pizer (UNC) def. Alyssa Smith (DU) 6-1, 6-2
Doubles competition
1. #35 Hayley Carter/Sara Daavettila (UNC) def. #45 Meible Chi/Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU) 6-3
2. Alyssa Smith/Chalena Scholl (DU) def. Cassandra Vazquez/Alexa Graham (UNC) 6-2
3. Ellyse Hamlin/Samantha Harris (DU) def Jessie Aney/Rachael James-Baker (UNC) 7-6 (3)
Match Notes:
Duke 17-4, 11-2; National ranking #15
North Carolina 25-2, 11-1; National ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (6,3,5,1,2,4)
T-2:55 A-352

 

 

Post-Match Quotes from UNC's recap
“When I was a coach at William & Mary I had so much respect and fondness for Kitty (Harrison). Whenever we played her she was always so classy. To follow her and pass her is amazing because of just how amazing she is as a person,” said UNC head coach Brian Kalbas.
 
Post-Match Quotes from Duke's recap
“It was big that we were able to win the first game on every court,” said head coach Jamie Ashworth. “We talked before the doubles about being disciplined and going after good targets and not trying to force something that wasn’t there. I thought all three teams did a really good job of that.”
 
“Carolina is too good just to relax after the doubles,” Ashworth said. “They’re too experienced as a team … You know that they’re going to come out and compete and you know they’re going to fight. Those first sets at one and two, 7-5 and 7-5, they just played pressure points better than we did. 7-5 means we had some opportunities. On all the courts, UNC played the bigger points better. They were a little more patient. I think we tried to force shots into targets that weren’t good targets. So we just have to learn from that.”
 
"It’s definitely tough to play here with the courts being split and not knowing what was going on with the other courts," McCarthy said. "As far as I knew, we were winning or losing, it was just tight. I said at the beginning that the best thing I could do was focus on tennis and my match and try to do what I could to help the team. It’s definitely tough not knowing what’s going on. There is nothing I want more than to be ACC regular champions. Disappointing today but the fact that that is still on the table gives me a lot of excitement going into the weekend and hopefully I can put up a few more wins for the team."
 
 
Pepperdine ran its record to 17-4 with a gritty 4-3 win at No. 32 USC. The Trojans took the doubles point by winning the decider at No. 2 in a tiebreak but the Waves came back in singles and took four opening sets. Pepperdine's Luisa Stefani and Mayar Sherif won in straight sets at No. 1 and No. 3 to put the Waves in front 2-1 but USC's Jessica Failla won in straight sets at No. 2 to tie it at 2-2. Pepperdine retook the lead when Dzina Milovanovic won 7-6, 6-4 at No. 6 but USC tied it back up after Madison Westby came back from 4-2 down in the third to defeat Jean Rungledkriangkrai 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. 
 
Pepperdine junior Laura Gulbe would clinch the win for the Waves by coming back from a set down to defeat Zoë Katz 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 4.
 
 
#13 Pepperdine 4, #32 USC 3
April 19, 2017 – Marks Stadium (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Doubles competition
1. #6 Maddox/Sherif (Pepp) def. Failla/Valdes (USC) 6-3
2. #37 Katz/Smith (USC) def. Stefani/Lahey (Pepp) 7-6 (6)
3. #69 Kulikov/Westby (USC) def. Milovanovic/Rungledkriangkrai (Pepp) 6-3
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2
Singles competition
1. #12 Luisa Stefani (Pepp) def. #27 Gabby Smith (USC) 6-1, 7-6 (5)
2. #46 Jessica Failla (USC) def. #13 Ashley Lahey (Pepp) 6-4, 6-4
3. #35 Mayar Sherif (Pepp) def. Rianna Valdes (USC) 6-4, 6-4
4. #90 Laura Gulbe (Pepp) def. #121 Zoë Katz (USC) 6-7 (9), 6-3, 6-3
5. Madison Westby (USC) def. Apichaya Rungledkriangkrai (Pepp) 4-6, 6-2, 7-5
6. Dzina Milovanovic (Pepp) def. Angela Kulikov (USC) 7-6 (5), 6-4
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2, 6, 5, 4
 
 
Men's conference tournament action got fired up Wednesday and the biggest upset came in the Big South as the No. 7 seed UNC Asheville knocked off the No. 2 seed Gardner-Webb 4-3. Rainy weather pushed the match indoors and after losing the doubles point Asheville would quickly find itself in a 3-0 hole after suffering lopsided losses at No. 3 and No. 4 singles. Asheville started its comeback with straight set wins from Henry Patten, Josh Swindler, and Adam Schmidt to tie the match at 3-3 and then freshman Andrew Sinai would come back from a set down to clinch the match with a 6-7, 6-2 6-2 win at No. 6. 
 
 
UNC Asheville went just 1-6 in conference play during the regular season including a 6-1 loss to Gardner-Webb but Wednesday was the Bulldogs day. Next up in the semifinals is the No. 3 seed Campbell.  
 
UNC Asheville 4, Gardner-Webb 3
Apr 19, 2017 at Winston-Salem, N.C.
Singles competition
1. PATTEN, Henry (AVL-M) def. SCHOLL, Maximillian (GWU-M) 7-6, 7-6
2. SWINDLER, Josh (AVL-M) def. HOGAN, Paul (GWU-M) 6-4, 6-2
3. SCHMIDT, Adam (GWU-M) def. DILLON, Reid (AVL-M) 6-1, 6-1
4. PLENTZ, Breno (GWU-M) def. CULL, Olly (AVL-M) 6-2, 6-1
5. MASSIE, James (AVL-M) def. FORS, Johan (GWU-M) 7-5, 6-4
6. SINAI, Andrew (AVL-M) def. GILBERT, Ross (GWU-M) 6-7, 6-2, 6-2
Doubles competition
1. PATTEN, Henry/SWINDLER, Josh (AVL-M) def. HOGAN, Paul/FORS, Johan (GWU-M) 7-5
2. SCHOLL, Maximillian/PLENTZ, Breno (GWU-M) def. DILLON, Reid/CULL, Olly (AVL-M) 6-3
3. SCHMIDT, Adam/GILBERT, Ross (GWU-M) def. MASSIE, James/YOUSEF, Majed (AVL-M) 6-4
Match Notes
UNC Asheville (9-12, 2-6 Big South Conference)
Gardner-Webb (11-14, 5-3 Big South Conference) 
 
Post-Match Quotes from UNCA's recap
"It was a great team win today. Even after we lost the doubles point I felt we had enough out there to get it done if everyone showed up. And they did. This is a huge confidence boost for us and we're already looking forward to playing again tomorrow." - Head Coach Tom Hand

 

If you want to see how these results impacted next week's rankings check out my real-time rankings which are available to all College Tennis Today subscribers

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