There was tennis played again in Seattle after snow wiped out Saturday's schedule at the Women's National Team Indoors and while most of the favorites won there was one mild upset. In an all-SEC dual, it was the No. 5 seed Georgia coming back from 3-1 down to defeat No. 4 Vanderbilt 4-3. The Commodores took the early lead with a 7-5 win at No. 1 doubles and a 6-4 win at No. 2 and then the teams split opening sets in singles. Georgia's Katarina Jokic put the Bulldogs on the board with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 1 but Vandy answered seconds later with a 6-2, 7-6 win from Christina Rosca at No. 2. Vandy's Amanda Meyer extended the lead to 3-1 with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 win at No. 4 and it looked like the match was all but over with Emily Smith leading 5-0 in the third at No. 5. However, Georgia junior Elena Christofi would win the next seven games to close it out 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. The Christofi comeback changed the momentum on the rest of the courts as well and both Meg Kowalski and Lourdes Carle would pull away in their third sets to complete the 4-3 Georgia win.
"We won a lot of third set matches today, and it was super exciting out there," said Georgia coach Jeff Wallace. "This was our biggest test so far, and we knew anybody you play out here is going to be really good, and it's going to be a battle. It takes a lot of maturity and discipline to hang in there like Elena did after getting down 5-0 and fighting back. Katarina (Jokic) got us on the board at No. 1 with a big win in a matchup of two of the best players in the country and then two freshmen came through in Meg (Kowalski) and Lourdes.
Another big coaching opening was filled as LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva named Andy Brandi and his son Chris as the men's co-head coaches of the Tigers. Andy has plenty of coaching experience in the SEC after spending 17 exceptional seasons as the women's head coach at Florida from 1984 to 2001. During those 17 seasons, Andy won three NCAA Championships while his teams won 91% of its matches and lost zero SEC home matches! After Andy left Florida he served as Director of Tennis at the IMG Academy for five years and then most recently he was a national coach on the USTA Player Development staff.
Chris Brandi played collegiately at TCU and Florida from 2001 to 2005 and then was an assistant coach at Wake Forest in 2008 and at Baylor from 2009-2011; most recently he was a private tennis coach in Florida. Andy and Chris Brandi replace Jeff Brown who stepped down after 15 seasons. Below are some quotes from LSU's release:
The number of head coaching jobs at Power 5 schools is now up to six after LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva announced on Monday that men's head coach Jeff Brown was resigning after 20 years. Brown won just over 60 percent of the 517 matches he coached and was an even .500 against SEC competition. Brown's LSU teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament 17 times however this year the Tigers fell well short after going 10-17 overall and just 3-9 in the SEC. Brown's best seasons in Baton Rouge came in his first two seasons when he led the Tigers to back-to-back appearances in the NCAA semifinals. Alleva called the resignation a "mutual decision" though I'm pretty sure Brown wasn't the one to approach Alleva on the subject. Below is a quote from LSU's release:
“It's been a great run,” Brown said. “We had so much success and had so many great people come through our program. I'm proud of all the players that we coached here at LSU and all that we were able to accomplish as a program.”
The other Power 5 jobs currently open are: Virginia men, Virginia women, Tennessee men, USC women, and Minnesota women.
It was senior day in Raleigh but unfortunately for the host Wolfpack they only had five healthy players and their opponent happened to be No. 1 Wake Forest. Wake took the doubles point after only dropping three games and then the Deacs won five of six matches in singles with NC State freshman Alexis Galarneau salvaging the day for the Pack with a win over Borna Gojo at No. 2.
The women's SEC Tournament in Nashville had it all on Thursday with three matches coming down to the final court and one that started outside on the back courts and then and finished inside on just five courts after the rain came. Mississippi State won the opener over Tennessee 4-1 and then Auburn's Andie Dikosavljevic came back from *4-1 and *5-4 down in the third set of the deciding match at No. 1 to propel the Tigers past Arkansas 4-3 in a match that took over four hours.
The third match of the day between LSU and Texas A&M started doubles on the back courts due to the Auburn/Arkansas match running long and then once singles started they could only use four courts for the same reason. A little past the midway point of singles, with rain on the horizon, they moved indoors to Vanderbilt's five-court indoor facility. Texas A&M managed to go ahead 3-2 but LSU's Ryann Foster won in straight sets at No. 3 to tie it up and then a short while later Joana Valle Costa clinched the match by breaking Rutuja Bhosale to win 7-6, 1-6, 6-4.
The Saturday schedule didn't exactly have a ton of sizzle but there were still some good matches and a few surprises as well. The only men's matchup between top 25 teams took place in Berkeley as No. 11 Cal hosted No. 25 Illinois. Cal picked up a quick 6-2 win at No. 1 doubles and then Andre Goransson and Billy Griffith clinched the point after coming back from a break down to win 6-4. Each team took three first sets in singles and four of the them would finish in straight sets. Cal junior JT Nishimura was dominant in his 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 6 while Illinois picked up a 6-4, 6-4 win from junior Aleks Vukic at No. 1 and a 7-6, 6-1 win from freshman Zeke Clark at No. 5. Cal junior Billy Griffith put the Bears ahead 3-2 by coming back from a set down to defeat Illinois freshman Aleks Kovacevic 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 at No. 3. It looked like Illinois was going to get a split at No. 4 when senior Julian Childers led 5-3 in the second set but Cal senior Filip Bergevi fought off six set points and came back to clinch the match with a 7-5, 7-6 win.
Duke finished it's stay at the Rainbow Warrior Classic by taking four of six doubles matches over LSU plus the Blue Devils came out on top in four of seven singles matches with two of the losses due to retirement. Ole Miss and Hawaii played an actual dual match with the Rebels posting a 7-0 shutout. Ole Miss won five of six singles matches in straight sets and swept all three doubles courts.
USC freshmen Brandon Holt and Riley Smith each earned their first career ATP points with first round wins at the Long Beach USA F2 Futures. Holt defeated Luke Bambridge (ATP 615) 6-1, 6-4 in a match where Holt won 77% of the points on his first serve while breaking Bambridge five times in nine attempts. Smith saved three match points to defeat former USC Trojan Eric Johnson 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(8). Smith served for the match up 5-3 in the third but Johnson broke from 30/40 and held at love to even it at 5-5. After an exchange of holds Johnson led *6-4 in the tiebreak but Smith won three straight to pull ahead 7-6*. Johnson won both points on his serve to go in front 8-7* but Smith won the final three to close it out.
USC grabbed 4 1st sets and would finish each of them in straight sets with Eric Johnson putting the first point on the board with his 6-3, 6-1 blowout over David Wilczynski at #3 singles. Nick Crystal would finish off David Hsu 6-1, 6-3 at #6 singles a few minutes later which then set the stage for USC to close it out on the top 2 courts. After Stanford's Tom Fawcett fought off a match point on the deciding point of his serve, USC's Yannick Hanfmann would hold serve at love to close out the Cardinal freshman at #1 singles by a 6-4, 6-4 score. With the score now 3-1, Roberto Quiroz would provide the final dagger by finishing off John Morrissey 6-4, 6-4 at #2 singles. The coaches agreed to play out the final 2 courts and USC would take them both with Max De Vroome coming from a set down to win 6-7, 6-1, 6-1 at #5 singles over Nolan Paige and Jonny Wang doing the same at #4 singles and winning 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (6) over Maciek Romanowicz.
All in all not a bad effort from Stanford but as I mentioned in my preview I think they are a year away from taking out a top 10 team.
FYI, the # beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of the current date of the recap. For more details about UTR check out their website.
#1 USC 6, #37 Stanford 1
Feb 27, 2015 - Marks Stadium (Los Angeles, Calif.)
(1) Morrissey/Stineman (Stan.) def. #2 Hanfmann/Quiroz (USC) - 6-3
(2) #30 De Vroome/Johnson (USC) vs. #49 Fawcett/Romanowicz (Stan.) - 5-4 susp.
(3) Paige/Wilczynski (Stan.) def. Crystal/Wang (USC) - 7-5
Stanford wins doubles point.
Order of finish: 1, 3
(1) #6 Yannick Hanfmann (USC 15.05) def. #26 Tom Fawcett (Stan 14.14) - 6-4, 6-4
(2) #20 Roberto Quiroz (USC 14.44) def. John Morrissey (Stan 14.10) - 6-4, 6-4*
(3) Eric Johnson (USC 13.97) def. David Wilczynski (Stan 13.86) - 6-3, 6-1
(4) #31 Jonny Wang (USC 14.23) def. Maciek Romanowicz (Stan 13.31) - 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-6)
(5) #72 Max de Vroome (USC 14.14) def. Nolan Paige (Stan 13.32) - 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-1
(6) #45 Nick Crystal (USC 13.93) def. David Hsu (Stan 13.95) - 6-1, 6-3
Order of finish: 3, 6, 1, 2*, 5, 4
Baton Rouge, LA: This was a matchup between 1 team on the rise and the other on the fall as LSU took Tennessee to the woodshed and blew the Vols off the court with a 4-0 shutout that would have likely been 6-1 or 7-0 had they played it out. Tennessee falls to 8-5 as the Vols have yet to beat a ranked opponent and things won't get any easier because next up is a visit to College Station to face Texas A&M. LSU is now 10-1 and will likely be 11-1 after Kentucky visits on Sunday. Tennessee has battled some injuries but they just haven't seen a consistent level of play from most of the the lineup (except Libietis) with Hunter Reese the one in the biggest tailspin with him having dropped 7 of his last 9.
College Station, TX: This one was by far and away the biggest rout of the day in the SEC as Texas A&M just obliterated a reeling Kentucky team 4-0. Jeremy Efferding dropped just 1 game in his win at #1, AJ Catanzariti dropped only 3 games at #5, and Max Lunkin dropped just 4 games at #6. Texas A&M won all 9 completed sets and the only one at risk of dropping one was Rinderknech at 4. We've gotten used to seeing Kentucky in the top 10-15 for years now but this team is not even close to competing at the level with the Wildcats falling to 6-7 with 0 wins over anyone inside the top 200. The ITA doesn't publish the rankings below 75 but if they did I can guarantee you that Kentucky wouldn't be anywhere near the top 100.
Texas A&M recap
Other Notables Scores from Friday:
Wichita State upset #40 Denver 6-1 - box score
#41 Mississippi State shutout Alabama 4-0 - Miss St recap
#27 NC State held off #69 VCU 4-3 - NCST recap
#10 Ole Miss just got past #62 Tulane 5-2 - Ole Miss recap
#8 Ohio State beat #39 Penn State 6-1 though many of the courts were very close - Ohio St recap
#16 Vanderbilt blanked #67 Arkansas 4-0 - Vandy recap
#29 Drake beat #57 Iowa 5-2 - Iowa recap
Check back later for my preview of the feature matches on Saturday.
Ole Miss played well in doubles and took the point by winning at 1 and 3 but singles got off to a rough start when William Kallberg retired 3 games in at #4 singles. The Bama recap said it was due to injury but didn't specify what kind of injury but it must have been severe enough to force him to throw in the towel. Ole Miss regained the lead when Stefan Lindmark wiped the court with Danny Kerznerman 6-1, 6-0 at #2 but then Stuart Kenyon, who came in with a 5-7 dual match record, did the same and cleaned Zvonimir Babic's clock 6-1, 6-2 at #5. The biggest shocker came at #1 singles when Bama freshman Korey Lovett, who was 6-6 in dual match play, thumped #60 Nik Scholtz 6-2, 6-2. It was only Scholtz's 2nd dual match loss of the year and just his 3rd in the last 2 years. With the Tide up 3-2 it would be Bama junior Becker O'Shaughnessey who would seal the deal with a 6-4, 6-3 win at #3 singles over Gustav Hansson.
Ole Miss recap
"We had the momentum on our side after doubles, but when William retired, they (Alabama) rallied around that and played better than we did at certain spots," head coach Toby Hansson said. "We have to put it behind us and move on and get ready for a very good Baylor team on Tuesday."
FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of today's (3/7) date. For more details about UTR check out their website.
Alabama 4, #9 Ole Miss 2
- #12 Virginia routed #31 North Carolina State 7-0. UVA won all 12 sets in singles.
- VCU upset #41 Penn State 4-3. VCU's Antonio Batlle Rodriguez came back from 4-2 down in the 3rd set to win the deciding match in a tiebreak 7-2
- Wisconsin-Green Bay beat big brother Wisconsin for the first time in program history - Phoenix recap
- #45 New Mexico edged Georgia State 4-2 in the 1st half of a doubleheader - (box score) and then the teams had to play doubles to decide the 2nd half with New Mexico winning that won 4-3 - (box score 2)
- #48 Mississippi State had its way with #55 Arkansas posting a 4-0 shutout - State recap
- Nevada (2-9) upset #50 San Francisco 6-1 - Wolfpack recap
So who should be on upset alert on Sunday?
- #2 Duke goes to Blacksburg to face a Virginia Tech team coming off an upset win over Notre Dame. The Hokies are 9-1 on the year with the only loss coming at North Carolina during the Kickoff Weekend. 5 of 6 singles matches in that one went the distance and that was a UNC team that was pretty much 100% healthy.
- #13 TCU goes to Winston Salem to face #20 Wake Forest though I guess the big story will be whether Noah Rubin is able to go for the Demon Deacons. Wake played well on Friday against Virginia without Rubin so you have to think if they can get him back they've got to like their chances against TCU. The Horned Frogs squeaked past Middle Tennessee State on Friday 4-3 in a match that saw TCU's #1 Cameron Norrie (14.64) lose 6-1, 6-3 to an unranked Ettore Zito (13.50)
- #5 Baylor goes to #47 Memphis but could the Bears be caught looking ahead to Tuesday's matchup against Ole Miss? That could have been what happened to Ole Miss today.
- #4 Georgia hosts #2
For Texas A&M to take this one they'll need to play much better than they did on Friday night against a Vanderbilt team that was down its #1 while for Illinois to take it they'll need to play with the same urgency and tenacity that they played with yesterday against Texas. The biggest thing going in Illinois's favor is that they'll be taking the court with the confidence of knowing they've already beat one top 10 team on the road so why not a second.
The guys on these teams are fairly familiar with each other with Illinois having made a trip to College Station each of the last 3 years to play in the Texas A&M Conference Challenge which takes place outdoors in October. The familiarity with the courts and the potentially windy playing conditions will be a plus for Illinois as opposed to teams that only come down once every so often for a dual match. This will also be the 3rd dual match these 2 have played in the last 13 months with Illinois winning at home last year and Texas A&M winning in Houston in a consolation match at the National Indoors.
Illinois in 9-7 in doubles while Texas A&M is 8-2 however the Aggies have dropped the point 2 of the last 3 times out.
Let's take a look at the singles match-ups and see who is going to come out on top.
FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of March 14th. For more details about UTR check out their website.
#2 singles - #32 Tim Kopinski is 12-2 on the year with a 4-2 record against ranked opponents but he's coming off a 6-2, 6-4 loss to #52 Lloyd Glasspool which snapped his 6-match winning streak while #71 Shane Vinsant is 2-2 (1-1 against ranked), with 5 additional matches not finishing, including his last match which went unfinished after Vinsant split sets with Danny Valent. Vinsant beat Kopinski 6-4, 6-1 back in October. Prediction: DNF with Kopinski leading.
#3 singles - #76 Aron Hiltzik is 9-3 on the year and 2-0 against ranked opponents and is coming off a 6-4, 6-1 win over #60 Adrien Berkowicz which ran his winning streak to 7. #48 Harrison Adams on the other hand has continued to struggle this year with an 0-6 record and he was down 7-5, 4-5 against Kris Yee on Friday night when the match was halted due to the clinch. Adams went 14-8 last year including 9-7 at #1 singles but for whatever reason he hasn't been able to find the groove this year. Prediction: Hiltzik in 2
#4 singles - #49 Aleks Vukic is 10-1 in dual match play and he is currently riding an 8-match winning which includes a 6-2, 6-2 thumping over George Goldhoff yesterday while Rinderknech is 8-1 and has won 8 straight including a 7-5, 6-3 win on Friday over Suresh Eswaran. Prediction: Vukic in 3
#5 singles - Toshiki Matsuya is 6-1 on the year but he lost his last completed match and trailed 3-1 in the 3rd yesterday against Nick Naumann while Jordi Arconada ran his record to 1-1 by picking up his first collegiate victory on Friday with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Baker Newman. Arconada joined the team in January but has only seen action in 2 matches thus far. Prediction: Matsuya in 2.
#6 singles - Blake Bazarnik got the call yesterday for just the 6th time this year and he was able to run his record to 3-2 with a match clinching win over John Mee 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 while #89 AJ Catanzariti is 6-3 including a 6-1, 6-4 win on Friday night over Jeff Offerdahl - Catanzariti has won 5 of his last 6. Prediction: Catanzariti in 2.
I think the confidence from the Texas win will carry over and Illinois is going to get it done again for a 2nd day in a row with the Illini taking the doubles point and picking up wins at 3, 4, and 5. Prediction: Illinois 4-2
The day didn't start off too well for Illinois as Texas A&M rolled at 1 and 2 doubles winning both courts by a 6-2 score. Interesting comment below from Dancer about him feeling they played better doubles today than yesterday despite winning yesterday and losing today.
Both teams slightly altered their singles lineups by switching 5 and 6 but since both teams made the same moves the match-ups themselves were the same but just at a spot higher or lower than originally thought.
Texas A&M's AJ Catanzariti was first off the court with a quick 6-2, 6-1 win at #5 singles over yesterday's hero Blake Bazarnik but Illinois wouldn't stay scoreless for long because Toshiki Matsuya would ring up a 6-3, 6-4 win at #6 singles over Jordi Arconada. As a side note, the Texas A&M live scoring showed Brian Page playing at #6 the entire match and it wasn't until the Illinois recap came out that it was revealed that it was really Matsuya. Those 2 guys don't exactly look like each other so you would have thought somebody would have caught that sooner.
After taking the opening set 6-3, Illinois #1 Jared Hiltzik would fall behind 3-1 in the 2nd but would then come back and take the final 5 games of the set to register a 6-3, 6-3 win over Jeremy Efferding which would tie the overall match at 2.
The 3 remaining matches would all end up going 3 sets as Tim Kopinski rallied to get a split on 2 while both Harrison Adams and Arthur Rinderknech did the same at 3 and 4.
Aron Hiltizk would overcome the loss of the 2nd set by rebounding in the 3rd for a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Harrison Adams which would put Illinois just a point away from the win.
It looked like Shane Vinsant was going to knot it at 3 after taking a 5-2 lead on 2 however Kopinski would win the next 3 to even it at 5-5.
While Tim Kopinski was fighting to stay alive at 2 his teammate Aleks Vukic was putting down the hammer at #4 and would end up closing out Arthur Rinderknech 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. Vukic got off to a slow start in this one falling behind 4-1 in the 1st set before winning 6 of the next 7 games to take the set. After hitting a lull in the 2nd set the freshman from Sydney, Australia rebounded in the 3rd by going up an early break and held on the rest of the way.
All but one of the singles matches went the way I thought with that one exception being at #1 where Jared Hiltzik got it done in straight sets over Jeremy Efferding.
It was also mentioned in Zoo Tennis that Farris Gosea has been suspended indefinitely so who knows if he'll back or not.
FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of March 14th. For more details about UTR check out their website.
Texas A&M recap
Who Wins on Sunday in College Station
For the 2nd time this year Tulsa pulled off an upset over a top 10 team with #10 Ohio State being the victims this time around. Ohio State won the doubles point with wins at 1 and 2 but then they pulled their #3 singles player Herkko Pollanen (reasons unknown) which forced everyone else to move up a spot.
Unlike in year's past where Ohio State has had 8 to 9 quality starters this year's squad is a little lean with there being a rather large drop-off from #6 to #7 and that drop-off became evident pretty quickly as Tulsa's Dylan McCloskey quickly closed out Matt Mendez at #6 singles 6-1, 6-3. Ohio State's Hunter Callahan would put Ohio State back ahead 2-1 with a 6-4, 6-2 win at #3 singles over Matthew Kirby but unbelievably that would be Ohio State's last point.
Tulsa's Mitchell Pritchard would tie it at 2 with a 7-6, 6-1 win at #4 over Ralf Steinbach and then it looked like Tulsa's Carlos Bautista would make it 3-2 as he served for the match at #5 singles up 5-4 in the 3rd against Kevin Metka. Bautista would go up 15-0 then after Metka passed him at the net to make it 15 all, Bautista threw in a double fault, shanked a forehand, and then doubled again to give, and I mean give, the break to Metka to tie it at 5.
It then appeared that Ohio State's Mikael Torpegaard was going to put Ohio State back on top as he went up 5-3 in the 3rd against Alejandro Espejo at #2 singles. After an Espejo hold Torpegaard served for the match and would get it to the deciding point which was also match point. Torpegaard stayed in control of the point and after Espejo's shot hit the net cord and kicked up about 5 feet in the air it looked like Torpegaard was simply going to crush it into the open court but then he did the unthinkable and buried it into the net. It was one of those moments where he had a ton of options and he probably just simply overthought it and it cost him.
While both Torpegaard and Bautista tried to regroup Tulsa's Or Ram-Harel was putting the finishing touches on his match at #1 singles against a cramping Chris Diaz. The turning point in the match came when Ram-Harel was serving at 3-1, 30-40. The 2 guys had what was easily a 25-30 shot rally and around shot 25 Ram-Harel starting putting the pressure on and after Diaz went back and forth across the court a few times he stumbled and then was basically on his back when the final shot was hit right around where his waste would have been. That point in essence was all she wrote as Diaz would win maybe 1 point the rest of the way.
With Tulsa now up 3-2 they just needed 1 of the final 2 courts and they would end up getting both as Alejandro Espejo provided the clincher at #2 singles by winning the final 4 games to take it 7-6, 3-6, 7-5. The match ended when Torpegaard double-faulted while serving at 30-40.
The match at #5 was in a tiebreak with Bautista leading 6-3 when Tulsa clinched and I thought they would stop it but then ended up playing it out and Bautista took the tiebreak 7-4 to make the final 5-2. The Ohio State recap actually shows the match wasn't played out with a final of 4-2 but I was following the stream and they did finish it out.
It was a tough loss for Ohio State which means when the Buckeyes go to Texas on Tuesday they will be ranked outside of the Top 10 for the 1st time in 294 matches.
If the video clip from Tulsa coach Vince Westbrook doesn't come up click on the Tulsa recap link - in it he talks about what he thinks was the difference in the match
Ohio State recap
LSU picked up its biggest win of the year in front of a large crowd as the Tigers gave #11 Vanderbilt a pretty good beating.
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