Sunday, 14 May 2017 20:05

Women Second Round - Texas A&M Crashes the Party, Stanford Survives TCU Test, Sweet 16 Matchups

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The men's second round wrapped up on Saturday so Sunday belonged to the women with nine regionals closing out the weekend after seven finished on Saturday. 15 of the 16 regional hosts advanced to Friday's Sweet 16 in Athens with the one upset taking place in Waco. Baylor had already defeated Texas A&M once this season (4-0) but on Sunday they'd find themselves playing from behind virtually the entire match. In that first meeting on March 22nd, Texas A&M was without its top player Rachel Pierson so having her in the lineup today obviously changed the whole complexion of the match.

Texas A&M struck first in doubles with a quick 6-0 win from Eva Paalma and Domenica Gonzalez at No. 2 but it looked like Baylor would take No. 1 after Blair Shankle and Karina Traxler went up a double break at 4-1. Texas A&M's Rachel Pierson and Rutuja Bhosale got one break back to make it 4-3 but Baylor held for 5-3. A&M then held, broke, and held to take a 6-5 lead.

Meanwhile over No. 3, Baylor's Theresa Van Zyl and Rhiann Newborn jumped out to a 2-0 lead but Texas A&M's Stefania Hristov and Saska Gavrilovska broke Van Zyl's serve and then held for 2-2. A&M would go up a break at 4-3 after breaking Van Zyl again but BU immediately broke back for 4-4 and then Newborn fought off two break points to hold for 5-4. After a Gavrilovska hold for 5-5, A&M would break Van Zyl for a third time to go up 6-5 and then Newborn served it out at love to take it 7-5. 

It didn't take long for Texas A&M to extend its lead to 2-0 because Saska Gavrilovska rolled to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Theresa Van Zyl at No. 4. Baylor's Rhiann Newborn put the Bears on the board with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Domenica Gonzalez at No. 3 but Texas A&M's Rutuja Bhosale countered with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Elizabeth Profit at No. 2 to put the Aggies just a point away from the win. 

Baylor's Angie Shakhraichuk cut the Aggie lead to 3-2 with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Eva Paalma at No. 5 and then senior Blair Shankle tied the match at 3-3 with a 6-2, 7-6(5) win over Rachel Pierson at No. 1. Shankle trailed 5-1 in the second set before coming back to tie it at 5-5. In the tiebreak Pierson came back from 5-2 down to even it at 5-5 but Shankle won the final two points to close it out. 

The match decider would come at No. 6 between Texas A&M junior Macarena Olivares and Baylor freshman Jessica Hinojosa. Prior to the NCAAs, Olivares hadn't played a match at No. 6 all season after splitting time between 3, 4, and 5 while Hinojosa had split time between 4, 5, and 6. Oliveras jumped out to a double break 5-2 lead in the first set but Hinojosa broke twice to even it at 5-5. Oliveras broke back for 6-5 but for the third time in the set she'd be unable to serve it out as Hinojosa broke to force a tiebreak. Oliveras jumped out to an early lead in the tiebreak and this time she made it hold up and took it 7-5. 

In the second set, Hinojosa broke for 3-2 but Oliveras broke back and held for 4-3. It stayed on serve until Hinojosa broke Oliveras at love for 6-5 and then she fought off two break points to close out the set 7-5. 

The third set stayed on serve until Hinojosa broke for 4-3 but Oliveras broke back on the no-ad point to even it at 4-4. Oliveras fell behind 15/40 on her next service game but after a pair of Hinojosa errors she'd hold with a forehand winner for 5-4. Hinojosa was serving to stay in the match but she'd quickly find herself in a 0/40 hole. Hinojosa got it to 30/40 but then she watched as an Oliveras backhand sailed over her head and landed in to close it out. 


#20 Texas A&M 4, #16 Baylor 3
May 14, 2017 at Waco, Texas (Hurd Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #3 Blair Shankle (BU) def. #16 Rachel Pierson (A&M) 6-2, 7-6 (7-5)
2. #53 Rutuja Bhosale (A&M) def. Elizabeth Profit (BU) 7-5, 6-2
3. Rhiann Newborn (BU) def. Domenica Gonzalez (A&M) 6-4, 6-2
4. Saska Gavrilovska (A&M) def. Theresa Van Zyl (BU) 6-1, 6-1
5. Angie Shakhraichuk (BU) def. Eva Paalma (A&M) 6-3, 6-3
6. Macarena Olivares (A&M) def. Jessica Hinojosa (BU) 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-4
Doubles competition
1. #35 Blair Shankle/Karina Traxler (BU) vs. #7 Rachel Pierson/Rutuja Bhosale (A&M) 5-6, unfinished
2. Eva Paalma/Domenica Gonzalez (A&M) def. Angie Shakhraichuk/Jessica Hinojosa (BU) 6-0
3. Stefania Hristov/Saska Gavrilovska (A&M) def. Theresa Van Zyl/Rhiann Newborn (BU) 7-5
Match Notes
Texas A&M 18-12; National ranking #20
Baylor 22-7; National ranking #16
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (4,3,2,5,1,6)
NCAA Team Championship Second Round

Post-Match Quotes from head coach Mark Weaver via TAMU's recap

"Overall, just an amazing team effort. This is a place that is probably one of the hardest to come in and get a win. We couldn't have prepared better for this match. We were ready to go ever since we found out we were coming here. We had the right mindset and practices to prepare well here, and what an amazing testament to our girls. What an amazing accomplishment today, and we get to move on to the elite group of Sweet 16"

"It comes down to Maca (Olivares) there on 6, kind of like Deja vu last year when it came down to the last match and last set at Stanford, and it definitely went through my head a little bit there. Maca has made great improvements this year. We all have our own flaws and kryptonite of what gets us down. Maca early in season had some matches she should have won, put away and sometimes the discouragement sets in, and she did nothing but overcome that and that is a process we have been working on in recent weeks, so it's nice when you see improvements like that come through at the most important time of the season."

"I'm very, very proud and happy for our girls. All the hard work paid off today. (We are) excited to go to Georgia and play Florida. They are the No. 1 seed, but we are excited we get a good shot at them. We have improved a lot throughout the season. We know if we play at a high level, we have a chance to get a win there."

Post-Match Quotes from Baylor's recap
“Ultimately, you have to give credit to Texas A&M. They have a great team, they have a lot of experience, they have another gear and they put it into another gear today. Credit to them and their coaches, they did a great job and out-competed us. When you’re in a match this close, you need your opponent to help you a bit. We weren’t the best version of ourselves and they played very well. Those two things turn into a 4-3 loss for us.” - Baylor head coach Joey Scrivano



The other thriller of the day took place at Stanford as the defending national champs hosted TCU. Stanford won the doubles point for the 20th time this year with 6-3 wins at No. 1 and No. 2 but TCU came back strong in singles and took five opening sets. TCU's Olaya Garrido-Rivas tied the match at 1-1 with a straight set win at No. 5 but Stanford made good use of that one first set as Emma Higuchi won her match in straight sets at No. 6 to put the Cardinal back in front 2-1.

TCU was on the verge of closing out both No. 1 and No. 3 in straight sets when Seda Arantekin served for the match at No. 1 up 7-5, 6-5 while Aleksandra Zenovka had four match points up 6-2 in the second set tiebreak in her match at No. 3. Zenovka actually led Taylor Davidson 6-4, 4-0 before Davidson stormed back to tie it at 5-5 and eventually she forced a tiebreak. As I mentioned Zenovka led 6-2 in the tiebreak but while Davidson stayed calm Zenovka started making some errors (well not some errors - many errors). Davidson took five straight to go up 7-6 but it looked like Zenovka would make it 7-7 as she stood at the net waiting to hammer an overhead. Zenovka didn't do enough with the overhead and Davidson hit a lob which put Zenovka on the run and then Davidson came in and hammered a forehand winner to send it to a third set. 

Davidson coming back to take the second set was a game changer because even though Arantekin ended up winning at No. 1 it was now just 2-2 instead of 3-2 TCU. 

Stanford's Melissa Lord earned a split at No. 2 and then she raced out to a 5-1 lead in the third set. TCU's Sofiko Kadzhaya erased both breaks to put it back on serve at 5-4 only to have Lord break back from 30/40 to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. 

Stanford's Caroline Lampl earned a split at No. 4 and then she went up a double break at 5-1 in the third and would clinch it 6-2.



#6 Stanford 4, #27 TCU 2
May 14, 2017 at Palo Alto, Calif. (Taube Family Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #61 Seda Arantekin (TCU) def. #38 Caroline Doyle (STAN) 7-5, 7-6 (7-4)
2. #28 Melissa Lord (STAN) def. Sofiko Kadzhaya (TCU) 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
3. #54 Taylor Davidson (STAN) vs. Aleksandra Zenovka (TCU) 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 3-2, unfinished
4. #90 Caroline Lampl (STAN) def. Donika Bashota (TCU) 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-2
5. Olaya Garrido-Rivas (TCU) def. Emily Arbuthnott (STAN) 6-4, 6-2
6. #71 Emma Higuchi (STAN) def. Caroline Wegner (TCU) 6-3, 6-2
Doubles competition
1. #39 Emily Arbuthnott/Taylor Davidson (STAN) def. #19 Donika Bashota/Olaya Garrido-Rivas (TCU) 6-3
2. #46 Caroline Doyle/Melissa Lord (STAN) def. Alexis Pereira/Sofiko Kadzhaya (TCU) 6-3
3. Seda Arantekin/Caroline Wegner (TCU) def. Emma Higuchi/Caroline Lampl (STAN) 6-2
Match Notes:
TCU 14-10; National ranking #27
Stanford 23-2; National ranking #6
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (5,6,1,2,4)

Post-Match Quotes from TCU's recap

Head Coach Lee Taylor Walker - "Well, this one is really hard. It was just such a bittersweet day that it's hard to describe all the emotions in my heart and mind. On one side, we are right here in this match and ready to take it and go to the Sweet 16. We were playing great, competing hard and handling ourselves with great composure and sportsmanship. It just felt like it was going to be our day the first two hours of singles. I could feel it. Everyone could feel it and so to lose just hurts and feels so sad and painful. That's how I feel about today, but then my mind quickly shifts to a more long term view. I think about the four seniors and I love them each dearly. They've given the program, and my personal family, and TCU more than I've given them. I couldn't be proud of the growth and development of each one of them. All I could do after the match was just hug them and tell them how proud I was of them. It's been an absolute privilege to coach them and learn and grow with them. I'll be forever grateful for this class. I wish we could've gotten it for them today, but regardless it was a giant step forward for our program today and they should be proud of how they elevated all of us.”


Second Round Results
#1 Florida [1] def. #28 Miami FL [2] 4-1
#2 Ohio State [1] def. #32 Notre Dame [2] 4-0
#3 Vanderbilt [1] def. #38 Clemson [3] 4-1
#4 North Carolina [1] def. #29 Ole Miss [2] 4-1
#5 Georgia [1] def. #30 NC State [2] 4-0
#6 Stanford [1] def. #27 TCU [2] 4-2
#7 Texas Tech [1] def. #44 Denver [3] 4-1
#8 Georgia Tech [1] def. #39 Northwestern [3] 4-0
#9 Oklahoma State [1] def. #19 Arkansas [2] 4-0
#10 Michigan [1] def. #17 Kentucky [2] 4-2
#11 Auburn [1] def. #37 Florida State [3] 4-2
#12 Pepperdine [1] def. #23 UCLA [2] 4-1
#13 California [1] def. #21 LSU [2] 4-0
#14 South Carolina [1] def. #22 Texas [2] 4-3
#15 Duke [1] def. #24 Tennessee [2] 4-1
#20 Texas A&M [2] def. #16 Baylor [1] 4-3

Friday Schedule - Round of 16
[1] Florida vs. [17-32] Texas A&M - 7 p.m. ET
[8] Georgia Tech vs. [9] Oklahoma State - 7 p.m. ET
[4] Vanderbilt vs. [13] California - 4 p.m. ET
[5] Georgia vs. [12] Pepperdine - 4 p.m. ET
[3] Ohio State vs. [14] South Carolina - Noon ET
[6] Texas Tech vs. [11] Auburn - Noon ET
[7] Stanford vs. [10] Michigan - 9 a.m. ET
[2] North Carolina vs. [15] Duke - 9 a.m. ET



Read 982 times Last modified on Sunday, 14 May 2017 22:24


  • Comment Link Casey Monday, 15 May 2017 10:16 posted by Casey

    Sorry if I missed this, but is there any streaming available for Athens? Special telecast for final? Are you going to be there? Keep up the great work - great blog!

  • Comment Link Bobby Knight Monday, 15 May 2017 11:10 posted by Bobby Knight

    I'll be there for the whole team portion from Thursday through Tuesday. There will be streaming available on all 16 possible courts (6 outdoors at Henry Feild, 6 outdoors at McWhorter, 4 indoor) at this link ( and unless something changes at the last minute they'll be a full broadcast on of both the men's and women's team finals and singles/doubles finals. I had heard there was some talk with ESPNU to try and get the finals broadcasted on TV but it doesn't sound like that's going to happen.

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