Utah and No. 12 Stanford had met 37 times headed into Sunday's men's match in Salt Lake City and despite some recent close encounters the Utes had only tasted victory once with that coming over 30 years ago. Stanford's top player Axel Geller did not play, despite suiting up on Thursday against Cal Poly, so the Cardinal had to make some adjustments to both their doubles and singles lineup and Utah rose to the occasion on senior day with its departing trio each playing a role in the 4-2 upset win.
Utah senior David Micevski and junior Slava Shainyan were the first off the court in doubles with a 6-3 win at No. 1 over Stanford's usual No 2 team of Jack Barber and William Genesen. Moments later Stanford's Sameer Kumar, who normally teams with Geller at No. 1, and Sangeet Sridhar won 6-4 at No. 2 doubles to make the match at No. 3 the decider.
Utah senior Joe Woolley and sophomore Russell Benkaim would win that decider in a tiebreak 7-2 over Alexandre Rotsaert and Timothy Sah with the Stanford pair in their usual spot at No. 3.
In singles each team would take three opening sets with Utah claiming the top three while Stanford took the bottom three.
Utah senior Dan Little made it 2-0 after rolling in his final match at home with an impressive 6-3, 6-2 win over Rotsaert at No. 1 however Stanford was closing in on wins on the bottom three courts.
The coaching carousel should continue spinning all summer long and today another position was filled when Liberty Athletic Director Ian McCaw named Derek Schwandt as the new men's head tennis coach. Schwandt served as the assistant coach at Georgia Tech for the last five years and prior to that he spent time at Fresno State and Virginia. The 2005 Richmond graduate replaces Chris Johnson who stepped down on May 5th after 11 seasons. The full release from the school is available here and below are a few quotes:
"I would like to thank Liberty University, Ian McCaw and the hiring committee for the incredible opportunity to lead Flames men's tennis," said Schwandt. "I'm thankful for the love and support of my wife, Rachel, my parents and my coaching mentors. Thank you to all of the student-athletes who competed in several inspiring battles at Virginia, Fresno State and Georgia Tech. It's awesome to reflect on God's faithfulness in preparing me for this mission to train Champions for Christ at Liberty."
"My vision is to build a program that contends at the top national level. I will lead the Flames to an excellent standard each day in the way that we train and fight for the team in matches," continued Schwandt. "I'm looking forward to creating a culture of hard work, grit and enthusiasm at Liberty. It's an awesome experience to coach a team that fights for something bigger than each individual."
The NCAA Tournament hasn't even started yet but coaching openings are popping up all across the country. We knew that Virginia had a men's head coaching opening after Brian Boland announced he was headed to the USTA and on Friday we found out that the women's job is going to be open as well. Virginia Athletic Director Craig Littlepage announced that Mark Guilbeau had resigned after 12 seasons with Virginia coming off a season in which it failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008. Guilbeau led the Cavaliers to back-to-back conference championships in 2014 and 2015 and his 201 wins are second all-time in school history behind only Phil Rogers who won 260 matches in a 22-year period that came to an end right before Guilbeau's hire. According to Virginia's release, Guilbeau had one year remaining on his contract and the school would be paying it out. Below are some quotes from Virginia's release: