Sunday was as wild a day as it gets in the SEC with four lower ranked women's teams picking up wins with two of those wins coming over No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Georgia. The SEC is the only Power 5 Women's Conference to have its conference tournament this coming week so many of these same teams will see each other much sooner than they had probably hoped. Sunday was a day of redemption for some teams on the men's side with both Oregon and Michigan overcoming tough losses to pick up a top 25 win.
Georgia came into Saturday's match at Texas A&M with an undefeated conference record but a few hours later they'd be undefeated no more as Texas A&M played a tremendous match and came away with the win and the top seed in the SEC Tournament. Georgia was 16-5 in doubles coming into the match while Texas A&M was just 9-13 but it'd be the Aggies that'd get off to the quick start by picking up breaks at No. 1 and No. 2.
Texas A&M's AJ Catanzariti and Arthur Rinderknech jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead at No. 1 doubles against the ITA No. 2 team of Jan Zielinski and Robert Loeb and they refused to let Georgia get back in the match. Texas A&M's Jordi Arconada and Hady Habib went up an early break at No. 2 however Georgia's Paul Oosterbaan and Nathan Ponwith would break back to even it at 2-2. Arconada and Habib returned the favor and broke for 3-2, Habib held for 4-2, and then A&M broke again via a Ponwith double fault for 5-2. Over at No. 3, it stayed on serve until Georgia's Wayne Montgomery and Walker Duncan broke Max Lunkin to go ahead 5-3.
For a while on Sunday it looked like the top ranked team in the land was going down but when the going got tough the tough got going. Wake Forest started off the day by claiming the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 3 but Georgia Tech came back strong in singles and took five opening sets. Georgia Tech junior Chris Eubanks tied the match at 1-1 with a fairly routine 6-1, 6-4 win over the ITA second-ranked Petros Chrysochos at No. 1. Eubanks led the match from start to finish by breaking Chrysochos's opening service game in each set. Georgia Tech junior Daniel Yun put the Yellow Jackets ahead with a straight set win over Alan Gadjiev at No. 6. The opening set stayed on serve until Yun broke for 6-5 and then after serving out the set he'd open up a 4-0 lead in the second and close it out 7-5, 6-1
Usually Thursdays are fairly quiet before the start of a busy weekend but today was wide open with several schools playing dual-matches down in San Diego prior to the start of the Pacific Coast Doubles Championships. Fifth-ranked Oklahoma State improved to 11-3 with a 4-1 win over No. 9 Michigan. The Cowboys won the doubles point going away with its top two teams each winning 6-1 and then it took five opening sets in singles. Julian Cash, Artur Dubinski, and Tristan Meraut each won in straight sets with Meraut clinching at No. 5. Michigan picked up its lone point from Carter Lin at No. 6
The University of Nebraska Omaha started its tennis program in 2008 and after playing in Division II for four years it made the transition to Division I during the 2011-12 season. Since the D1 transition Omaha had only won three conference matches in the lower-tier Summit League, with all three coming against Western Illinois which dropped its struggling program last year, and they'd never come close to defeating a team from a Power 5 Conference going 0-16 while getting outscored 94-4. So when Omaha made the short trip to Lincoln today to play Nebraska it knew the odds were stacked against it but somehow, someway, it managed to do the previously impossible and pull off the biggest win in program history.
Omaha got off to a quick start and swept all three doubles courts to take the early 1-0 lead but Nebraska came back strong in singles and claimed four opening sets. Nebraska went ahead 2-1 with straight set wins from Dylan Bednarczyk and Micah Klousia at No. 2 and No. 5 and then Tomislav Antoljak put them a point away with a three set win at No. 3. Omaha freshman Louis-Jonas Heizlsperger came back from a set down to win in three sets at No. 6 and then freshman Razvan Grigorescu closed out Toby Boyer in three sets at No. 1 to tie up the match at 3-3. As a side note Grigorescu also defeated Oklahoma's Spencer Papa last week so it appears the Mavs have a legitimate No. 1.
The doubles point looked like it was Florida's for the taking after the Gators #2 team of Elliott Orkin and Maxx Lipman cruised to a 6-1 win while its #1 tandem of Diego Hidalgo and Gordon Watson jumped out to a 4-2 lead. With Georgia's #3 team of Wayne Montgomery and Paul Oosterbaan also winning 6-1 the pressure would go back on Georgia's #1 team of Austin Smith and Ben Wagland and the undefeated tandem wouldn't go away as they took 3 straight games to go up 5-4 and were serving for the match. There would then be 3 consecutive service breaks to send the match to a tiebreak. After falling behind 4-2 and 6-4, Georgia's Austin Smith and Ben Wagland would fight off 2 match points and eventually win the last 3 points to take the tiebreak 9-7 in a match that took 57 minutes.
In singles play Georgia would jump out to a break lead on all 6 courts and would end up taking 5 1st sets with Elliott Orkin grabbing the lone 1st set for Florida at #4. Austin Smith would be 1st off the court with a 6-1, 6-4 win at #2 and then 15 minutes later Paul Oosterbaan would close out his match with a 6-4, 6-4 win at #6 which put Georgia up 3-0. Elliott Orkin would give Florida its only point with a 7-5, 6-2 win at #4 but a short while later Nathan Pasha would clinch the victory for Georgia with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 win at #3 singles. The 2 remaining matches were tied in the 3rd set at the time of the clinch.
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.
Auburn, AL: In the SEC opener for each school, Auburn was able to grab the doubles point and then pick up 4 1st sets to put South Carolina into a hole that they just couldn't climb out of. Auburn's Oliver Plaskett provided the clincher at #6 singles with a 6-4, 7-6 win over Thomas Mayronne. The remaining match at #2 was halted with Auburn's Marko Krickovic up 5-3 in the 3rd so more than likely this would have finished 5-2 in Auburn's favor had it been played out.
South Carolina recap
Ann Arbor, MI: The Dartmouth Big Green ran its record to 7-4 on the year with a 4-3 win on the road at Michigan. Michigan was coming off a win over Memphis but couldn't duplicate the results against its Ivy League foe.
#50 Dartmouth 4, #52 Michigan 3
The owners of 38 NCAA Division 1 Men's Team National Championships will meet on Friday afternoon in Los Angeles as the #1 USC Trojans host the #37 Stanford Cardinal.
USC's media guide shows they lead the all-time series 109-76 with the 1st match played in 1925 while Stanford's shows USC leads it 63-59 with the 1st match coming in 1967. I'd have to go with USC's as the more accurate source since I know Stanford was playing tennis long before 1967. Stanford has won 17 NCAA Championships with the last coming in 2000 while USC has won 21 NCAA Championships including 5 of the last 6.
USC has won 8 straight in the series with Stanford's last win over SC coming back in 2011 at the National Indoors. This USC team is full of experience with the top 4 spots in the singles lineup occupied by seniors along with a junior and a sophomore at 5 and 6. Stanford on the other hand is starting 3 freshmen, a senior, and 2 juniors.
Let's breakdown the individual match-ups and see if Stanford has any shot at getting close to 4 points against the #1 Trojans.
Stanford freshman #26 Tom Fawcett has turned some heads so far this year with his stellar play which includes 3 wins over top 60 opponents and he is currently the 3rd highest ranked freshman in the latest rankings behind only Duke's #8 Nicolas Alvarez and Georgia's #17 Wayne Montgomery. USC senior Yannick Hanfmann just seems to keep plugging along with 11 of his 13 wins over ranked opponents with 8 of those 11 over top 50 opponents. Both of these guys are undefeated in dual match play so somebody has to lose - I'll take experience over youth.
Stanford's David Wilczynski has done something you don't see too often - he has played at every spot in the singles lineup after starting the year at 6 and has since played at 5, 4, 3, 2, and this past Tuesday against Hawaii he played at 1 so that's 6 different positions in 7 matches. The reason for the upward slide has been strictly performance based as all his dual match wins have been blowouts with the lone loss coming in 3 sets to Cal's Filip Bergevi. One item to note is that while the wins have been impressive only 1 has been over a ranked opponent (#123 Perez-Blanco). Wilczynski's opponent will be #20 Roberto Quiroz who already has 7 wins over ranked opponents and 5 of those over top 50 opponents. Quiroz is just too seasoned for the Cardinal freshman and will take this one in 2.
Stanford's John Morrissey spent the last 2 years playing atop the Cardinal singles lineup but has been pushed down to #3 after a slow start to the year in conjunction with the strong play of both Fawcett and Wilczyns
Clemson lost the regular season meeting against Louisville at home by a 5-2 score though none of the singles matches were repeats this time around. Louisville won the doubles point last time with Clemson taking it this time. Clemson got wins from Alejandro Augusto, Luke Johnson, and Hampton Drake with the freshman from Hilton Head providing the clincher at #6 singles by taking the 3rd set 6-0. Below are some interviews from Clemson's youtube:
The box score that Clemson posted actually showed Louisville winning 4-3 with Drake losing the last set 6-0 instead of winning - sounds like they were in disbelief too!
"Clemson got off to a great start with winning doubles and leading all six of the singles courts," said UofL head coach Rex Ecarma. "It looked like we were too deep into a hole being down 0-2, but that is when we made a gutsy surge. Albert, Sebastian, and Van all regained control of extremely close matches to put us into the lead. But they played a little better than us and finished well in the two remaining courts. Those played with poise and avenged our 5-2 win against them at Clemson."
FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of April 23rd. For more details about UTR check out their website.
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (4,3,5,1,2,6)
Georgia Tech avenged a 6-1 regular season loss at Notre Dame even though 5 of the 6 singles matches were repeats. Notre Dame won the doubles point in the first match but Georgia Tech got the point this time around with wins at 1 and 2. The biggest turnaround was at #5 as GT's Cole Fiegel smacked Billy Pecor 6-1, 6-0 after Pecor won the first meeting 7-5, 6-1. Michael Kay clinched the win at #4 singles with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Alex Lawson though if Kay didn't clinch Benito was right there at #2 and Rakitt was up a set and a break at #3.
Note: GT recap showed Eric Schnurrenberger playing #6 for ND though ND's recap showed Kenneth Sabacinski. The ACC's live scoring showed Sabacinski too however it also showed Nicolas Alvarez playing at #1 for Duke (he sat out) and Esben Hess-Olesen playing at #5 for UNC (sat out too).
Georgia Tech recap
Here's sound from @jkennyt following #GT_MTEN victory over Notre Dame at #ACCMTEN http://t.co/tAHpnVYZZXNotre Dame recap
GT Men's Tennis (@GT_MTEN) April 23, 2015
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (5,6,4)
The match of the day at the ACC Tournament was this one between Florida State and NC State. NC State looked good early on in doubles after jumping out to leads on all 3 courts - 4-2 on 1, 7-4 on 2, and 5-3 on 3. NC State's #2 team won 8-5 and its #3 team served for the match up 7-6 but Florida State wouldn't go away. FSU's #3 team of the Whitehurst brothers broke back to force the tiebreak then won it 7-3 in the TB. FSU's #1 team won the final 2 points of the tiebreak to win that court 7-5.
NC State came out strong in singles and took the opening set on 5 of 6 courts however they'd be unable to finish them out because Florida State would win 3rd set tiebreaks at 3, 4, and 5 with Cristian Mendez clinching the come from behind win at #3 - Mendez was down a break at 4-3 in the 3rd before breaking back. Terrell Whitehurst came back from 5-2 down in his 3rd set tiebreak at #5 to win 7-5. Florida's State #1 Benjamin Lock also had a match point at the time of the clinch.
Both teams played without singles starters - FSU's #3 Marco Nunez and NCST's #2 Simon Norenius both didn't play. Norenius retired in his match against Notre Dame last weekend with an injury while Nunez played twice last weekend but only won 3 games. I'm not sure if Nunez was injured and that's why he played poorly last week or if he was held out for different reasons.
"It's one of those matches where nothing came easy for either team, head coach Dwayne Hultquist said. "We used tiebreak wins on five courts today. Because we played them a few weeks ago, I felt we were at a disadvantage having to come back up to their turf and play again and deal with the revenge factor, but we toughed it out and got the win.
NC State recap
So close, yet so far away - that's how Oregon has to feel after todays match. The Ducks jumped on Cal early by taking the doubles point with wins at 2 and 3 and then took 4 opening sets in singles. Cormac Clissold was the only Duck to finish in straight sets with a 6-3, 6-2 win at #5, which put Oregon up 2-0, but then Billy Griffith put Cal on the board with a 6-2, 6-2 win at #6. The 4 other singles matches would each go the distance with the person losing the 1st set winning in the end. There were so many twists and turns in each match along the way that it got tough to keep track of.
Cal's Andre Goransson would even the match at 2-2 with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 win at #1 singles over Daan Maasland. Goransson sprinted out to a 5-2 lead in the 3rd set and served for the match but Maasland would break, hold, and break again to even the match up at 5-5. Goransson would then break back and serve it out to finally secure the win.
Cal's Oskar Wikberg would put Cal ahead 3-2 when he completed his comeback at #4 singles with a 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 win over Jayson Amos. It looked like Amos was going to finish off Wikberg in straight sets when he led 6-3, 5-3 but Wikberg held for 4-5, broke Amos serving for the match to even it at 5, then held serve for 6-5. If I remember correctly Amos had at least 1 match point on the 5-4 serve game. Amos would then come back from 0-40 down to hold and send it to a tiebreak but Wikberg would take the final 2 points of the TB to take it 7-5 and send the match to a 3rd set. Wikberg broke Amos to go up 2-1 in the 3rd but Amos would break right back and then hold to go up 3-2. After 3 straight holds, Wikberg would break Amos to go up 5-4 and then he'd serve it out to put that 3rd point on the board.
Oregon's Daniel Sardu would tie it up at 3-3 with a come from behind 2-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(5) win over Filip Bergevi at #2 singles. It looked like Bergevi would close this one out in straight sets when he led 6-2, 5-4 but Sardu fought off a slew of match points to hold for 5-5 and would ultimately push the 2nd set to a tiebreak. Bergevi led 6-5 in the tiebreak but Sardu would take the final 3 points to take it 8-6. Sardu jumped out a 5-2 lead in the 3rd before Bergevi charged back to tie it at 5-5. Each would hold 1 more time to send it a tiebreak then Sardu got the early mini-break and held on to take it 7-5.
The final remaining court left was at #3 singles as Cal's Greg Bayane opened up a 4-0 lead in the 3rd over Oregon's Simon Stevens. Before we proceed forward lets go back to the 2nd set where it looked like Stevens was going to close out Bayane in straights after leading 6-4, 5-3. Bayane held for 4-5 then would break Stevens in a lengthy service game that had at least 5 deuces with Stevens having at least 2 match points (may have been 3). Bayane held for 6-5 then Stevens held to send it a tiebreak but the TB was all Bayane as he cruised 7-2. Jumping back to where we started, after Bayane held for 4-0 Stevens would finally snap out of his slump and hold for 1-4. Bayane quickly held for 5-1 and then had 2 match points on the Stevens' serve before Stevens held for 2-5. Bayane went up 40-15 on his 5-2 service game but Stevens got it back to deuce. Bayane got the next point to give himself another match point but then Stevens would take the next 3 points to break for 3-5. Stevens would then go down 30-40 on his service game but would fight back to hold for 4-5. It just seemed like this one was heading for a dramatic 3rd set tiebreak but Bayane finally righted the ship and would hold from 40-15 to propel Cal into Friday's semifinals against rival Stanford.
April 23, 2015 - Ojai, CA (Libbey Park)
Another candidate for match of the day came in the Big Ten as Nebraska came back from 3-1 down to defeat Michigan State 4-3. Nebraska won the doubles point going away but Michigan State picked up straight set wins from Brett Forman, Jasper Koenen, and Michael Dube at 2, 5, and 6 to take the 3-1 lead. Michigan State's Harry Jadun was also up a set on #3 but Nebraska's Marc Hermann rallied back and won 2-6, 6-1, 6-3. Nebraska also picked up a win at #4 as Andrew Dzulynsky beat Mac Roy 7-6, 6-4. With the match tied at 3-3 it all came down to #1 between Nebraska's Dusty Boyer and Michigan State's Gijs Linders. Boyer took the first set 7-6 but Linders broke Boyer to go up 6-5 in the second then served it out to even the match at a set a piece. Linders opened up a double break lead in the 3rd and was serving up 3-0 before Boyer regained his footing and started the comeback. Boyer would go ahead 6-5 then break Linders to take it 7-5 in the 3rd and send Nebraska onto the quarterfinals.
Michigan State recap
 Nebraska 4,  Michigan State 3
Michigan jumped out to the early 1-0 lead by taking the doubles point but Penn State went ahead 2-1 with wins from Leo Stakhovsky and Roman Trkulja at 1 and 5. Michigan's Alex Knight evened the match at 2 with an easy win at 3 and then Kevin Wong would come back from a set down to win 12 of the final 13 games to put the Wolverines ahead 3-2. While Penn State's Matt Barry fought hard to force a 3rd set at #3, Michigan's Runhao Hua would pull away down the stretch at #2 and would end up clinching the match by winning 6-1 in the 3rd.
Penn State recap
"A very difficult loss but Michigan just outplayed us today," said Tobin. "We have to give them credit when it's due. We had opportunities across the board, but we were not able to hang on to our leads."
Utah State recap
No. 7 Nevada will play the winner of No. 3 SDSU/No. 6 UNLV on Sat., April 25
Boise State has picked the right time to start playing better and as a result they've now won 3 straight after avenging a loss 4-3 from last Saturday by defeating #69 Fresno State 4-0. Boise State took the doubles point by picking up wins at 1 and 3 then the Broncos got singles wins from Garrett Patton, Thomas Tenreiro, and Abe Hewko at 1, 2, and 6.
Boise State recap
Fresno State recap
 Boise State (13-15) 4, #69  Fresno State (16-10)
Oklahoma State took the doubles point with wins at #1 and #2 and then picked up first sets at #3, #5, and #6 while Wake took the rest. It looked like Dennis Uspensky was going to get the first set at #5 but Tristan Meraut broke him and then took the tiebreak 7-4.
Wake's Skander Mansouri tied it at 1-1 with a quick win at #2 but Oklahoma State's Arjun Kadhe answered with a straight set win at #3. Wake tied it at 2-2 when Jon Ho won in straights at #4 but Oklahoma State's Tristan Meraut answered with a straight set win at #5. Meraut got broke serving for the match up 7-6, 5-3 but he managed to break back to win it. Oklahoma State's Lukas Finzelberg would break Christian Seraphim's 2-2 serve game in the third set and would hold three more times to close it out at #6 by a score of 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. Below are video clips from Oklahoma State of the doubles and singles clinchers along with some words from head coach Jay Udwadia
C2: Ismailov/Gerch (OSU) clinch the doubles point with a 6-4 win over Ho/Chrysochos (WAKE) #okstate pic.twitter.com/8QhGQgMd1lOSU Cowboy Tennis (@CowboyTennis) January 30, 2016
LUUUUUUUUKAS!! Finzelberg wins the clincher for the Pokes as he defeats Seraphim, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4! #okstate pic.twitter.com/EeBUfcmrWFOSU Cowboy Tennis (@CowboyTennis) January 30, 2016
2. #26 Skander Mansouri (WF 14.23) def. #68 Julian Cash (OSU 13.73) 6-1, 6-4
3. #112 Arjun Kadhe (OSU 13.81) def. Romain Bogaerts (WF 14.00) 6-3, 6-2
4. #103 Jonathan Ho (WF 13.99) def. Lucas Gerch (OSU 13.68) 6-2, 6-3
5. Tristan Meraut (OSU 13.38) def. Dennis Uspensky (WF 13.59) 7-6(4), 6-4
6. Lukas Finzelberg (OSU 13.65) def. Christian Seraphim (WF 13.55) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
3. #53 Lukas Finzelberg/Jurence Mendoza (OKST) vs. Bogaerts/Uspensky (WF) 4-5, unf.
Quotes from Oklahoma State's recap:
"You try to go one match at a time and we're not going to look past anyone this season, especially since Minnesota beat us last year," Udwadia said.
Illinois won the all-important doubles point with wins at #2 and #3 and then got singles victories from Jared Hiltzik, Aleks Vukic, and Alex Jesse to hold on for a 4-3 win. Give Duke's recap a read for all the pertinent details because as I've said before they do a tremendous job keeping tabs on everything.
"I'm really happy for this team as they continue to search for an identity," head coach Brad Dancer said. "Anytime you go on the road and play a good team like Duke, you are going to have to find ways to win matches. Our doubles play and Jared Hiltzik and Alex Jesse put us in a position to win, but credit Duke for clawing its way back into the match, especially TJ Pura. In the end, Vukic gets a well-earned match-deciding victory, executing some of the fundamentals he has been so focused on. Again, happy for the guys and looking forward to another challenge tomorrow."
With an ESPN3 crowd watching on #29 Florida State cruised past #61 Alabama 6-1. Florida State swept all 3 doubles courts then picked up 3 quick straight set wins from Marco Nunez, Michael Rinaldi, and Terrance Whitehurst at 2, 4, and 6. They did play the other matches out with Florida State's Ben Lock winning a third set supertiebreak while Alabama's Becker O'Shaughnessey did the same. Below are highlights courtesy of FSU.
Quotes from FSU's recap
Quotes from Alabama's recap:
The closest match of the day took place in Cambridge as #32 Tulane pulled out a tight, tight 4-3 win over #33 Harvard in a match where the final two courts went to a third set tiebreak to decide it. As is the case in many of these close matches the team that wins the double point seems to come out on top and this one was no exception.
Harvard's #2 team of Sebastian Beltrame and Kenny Tao won 6-2 but Tulane's #1 team of Dominik Koepfer and Chi-Shan Jao answered with a 6-3 win to bring all it all down to #2. Tulane's Sebastian Rey and Constantin Schmitz had 3 match points at #3 when Harvard's Kelvin Lam served at 5-6, 15-40 but the Crimson managed to hold to send it to a deciding tiebreak. Harvard got the early mini break to go up 1-0 but Tulane took the next 3 to go up 3-1 and ended up cruising from there to take it 7-4. As you'll see below this doubles point turned out to be pivotal.
Tulane got straight set singles wins from the ITA #1 Dominik Koepfer at #1 and Tyler Schick at #6 while Harvard's Sebastian Beltrame and Kenny Tao won in straights at #3 and #4 though Beltrame's sets were both tiebreaks. I love this clip below from Harvard's twitter talking about Kenny Tao - there is no team's twitter account that's more entertaining than Harvard's - they bring it every match so give them a follow.
Last season Michigan went 1-16 against ranked opponents but so far this year they are 1-1 after a somewhat surprising 7-0 win over #34 Princeton on Friday evening at the USTA National Tennis Center. Princeton played without its #1 singles player Tom Colautti (13.40) which didn't help the Tigers but Michigan just ate them at the bottom of the lineup winning six sets 6-2 or better.
It's interesting but if you look at the Universal Tennis Ratings (UTRs) of each player you wouldn't be surprised at all by the results - in fact it would have actually been surprising had Michigan.
#43 Washington picked up a nice ranked win at home over #57 Cal Poly with the Huskies winning a close doubles point before getting three quick straight set wins from Jake Douglas, Enzo Sommer, and Sebastian Hawken at 3, 4, and 5 to seal it. Each of the three remaining matches played a 10 point tiebreak in lieu of a third set.
Round of 16 Preview
(1)#1 Vanderbilt vs. #15 Duke
Vanderbilt got one of the worst first-round matchups in the entire tournament, playing a Duke team that won this event most recently in 2014. I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see Duke pull off the stunner. The (obvious) key to this match is doubles, which can go either way with the quicker format. In singles, Capra and Sharma are near locks for Duke and Vanderbilt, respectively. Francis Altick has had an incredible past 8 months and is considered the favorite against a tough Kaitlyn McCarthy. The match can be decided at the bottom three and the No.4 line is basically a coin flip and at No.5, Georgina Sellyn is due for a huge win in her comeback from injury.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 4-3; Both teams are so close in ability, I'm very excited to see how this one progresses. The reigning NCAA champions may have just enough confidence to squeak by in a very tight encounter.
Vanderbilt vs. Duke
1. #11 Colton/Campbell vs. #26 Capra/Hamlin
2. Sharma/Yates vs. Harris/McCarthy
3. Altick/Contreras vs. Scholl/Smith
2. #15 Frances Altick (11.65 UTR) vs. #29 Kaitlyn McCarthy (11.58 UTR)
3. #33 Astra Sharma (11.25 UTR) vs. #79 Chalena Scholl (10.58 UTR)
4. Courtney Colton (11.06 UTR) vs. Samantha Harris (10.93 UTR)
5. Georgina Sellyn (9.79 UTR) vs. #70 Ellyse Hamlin (11.26 UTR)
6. Fernanda Contreras (10.99 UTR) vs. Jessica Ho (10.27 UTR)
Both teams advanced to Madison in Regionals they traveled to, but Fresno State was the lone No.3 seed and they stunned #9 UCLA en route to victory. Ohio State went to TCU as the highest-ranked team in their Regional, but was awarded the No.2 seed. Fresno State vaulted to #30 from #54 in the latest ITA poll thanks to their win, while OSU hit a program-best #16. The Buckeyes recently traveled to Michigan and defeated their rival 4-2 indoors for an extra confidence boost. The No.1 singles match between DiLorenzo and M.Sherif Ahmed is the highlight of the entire match and the Bulldogs could sneak a surprise win at No.2 singles
Prediction: Ohio State 4-0; The Buckeyes are on fire and running on the highest confidence and will be no match for Fresno State. OSU is extremely well-trained indoors and will snag the win before the Bulldogs can sink their teeth.
Ohio State vs. Fresno State
1. #6 Sanford/Kowase vs. Sherif Ahmed/Sherif Ahmed
2. DeSantis/Angeles Paz vs. #58 Watts/Watts
3. Sneed/DiLorenzo vs. Malysheva/Noble
1. #2 Francesca DiLorenzo (12.03 UTR) vs. #26 Maiar Sherif Ahmed (10.56 UTR)
2. Gabriella DeSantis (10.28 UTR) vs. Sophie Watts (10.17 UTR)
3. Anna Sanford (10.59 UTR) vs. Rana Sherif Ahmed (9.66 UTR)
4. Miho Kowase (10.34 UTR) vs. Galina Bykova (9.86 UTR)
5. Ferny Angeles Paz (10.53 UTR) vs. Emma Wilson (9.38 UTR)
6. Olivia Sneed (9.83 UTR) vs. Sofya Malysheva (8.45 UTR)
California's lineup is one of the highest-quality in the country, especially with the addition of Maria Smith in January. The Bears won their rain-delayed Regional, while Wisconsin gets in as the host wildcard. Lauren Chypyha has evolved greatly as a player throughout her time in Madison, but Cal's depth is extraordinary deep compared to Wisconsin. I think the Badgers will improve from their last season or two and the experience they get by playing 3 matches against Top 20 teams will be influential in that.
Prediction: California 4-0; Cal is on another level compared to Wisconsin and should cruise into the quarterfinals.
2. #43 Fabikova/Hauger vs. Rider/Stepanova
3. Chi/Smith vs. Burich/Grambeau
1. #5 Maegan Manasse (11.63 UTR) vs. #66 Lauren Chypyha (10.65 UTR)
2. #10 Klara Fabikova (11.37 UTR) vs. Ekaterina Stepanova (9.95 UTR)
3. Lynn Chi (11.21 UTR) vs. Kendall Kirsch (9.86 UTR)
4. Denise Starr (11.19 UTR) vs. Maria Avgerinos (9.70 UTR)
5. #81 Olivia Hauger (10.99 UTR) vs. Kelsey Grambeau (9.01 UTR)
6. Karla Popovic (10.57 UTR) vs. Sydney Rider (8.98 UTR)
The biggest news of the last week was the announcement that five players from Virginia's squad were suspended for violation of team rules. It was said that players left their hotel room for a snowball fight as a winter storm approached, but there have been rumblings that things were deeper for the decision. After an upset loss to South Carolina with only 5 players, UVA inserted a lineup with everyone minus Skylar Morton and Cassie Mercer, which could've make the Cavalier lineup even stronger. Texas A&M can push Virginia, but have to cause some upsets to have a fighting chance to upset, even though they're the favorites on paper.
Prediction: Virginia 4-1; This match is on Virginia's racquet. If the players suspended are reinstated, UVA will have enough depth to conquer the Aggies.
2. Bhosale/Mamalat vs. Elbaba/Nauta
3. Gavrilovska/Gonzalez vs. Olivarez/Susi
2. #58 Rachel Pierson (10.81 UTR) vs. #8 Julia Elbaba (11.83 UTR)
3. #106 Rutuja Bhosale (10.72 UTR) vs. #30 Stephanie Nauta (10.88 UTR)
4. Eva Paalma (10.08 UTR) vs. Victoria Olivarez (10.04 UTR)
5. Domenica Gonzalez (10.69 UTR) vs. Maci Epstein (10.39 UTR)
6. Ines Deheza (10.65 UTR) vs. Meghan Kelley (10.20 UTR)
(3)#5 North Carolina vs. #13 Alabama
North Carolina always brings their best team for the Indoor tournament, but this will be their first big test without Jamie Loeb and Caroline Price. Alabama is a good first test for the Tar Heels, as they play strong doubles and can push in singles. 2-time reigning NCAA doubles champ Maya Jansen has been sitting out (with an injury, I presume) and not having her in the lineup works extremely well in UNC's favor. Look for Hayley Carter and Andie Daniell to have a strong tournament individually. I'm also looking at Kate Vialle, who has quietly moved up the Tar Heel lineup and contributed greatly in her time.
Prediction: North Carolina 4-0; Looking at their lineup, I just realized how stacked North Carolina is. They have another ranked player at No.7 and then Ashley Dai at No.8. The loss of Jansen is a costly one for the Crimson Tide, but they could give some teams a freight in the backdraw.
1. #2 Carter/Kay vs. #48 Routliffe/Daniell
2. #16 Aney/Vialle vs. Spielmann/Savva
3. Dai/Ouellet-Pizer vs. Dunn/Greene
1. #6 Hayley Carter (11.73 UTR) #vs. 63 Erin Routliffe (10.83 UTR)
2. #88 Whitney Kay (10.76 UTR) vs. #41 Andie Daniell (11.31 UTR)
3. Kate Vialle (10.54 UTR) vs. Joanna Savva (9.65 UTR)
4. #68 Jessie Aney (11.20 UTR) vs. Danielle Spielmann (10.56 UTR)
5. Marika Akkerman (10.81 UTR) vs. Natalia Maynetto (10.02 UTR)
6. #112 Chloe Ouellet-Pizer (10.58 UTR) vs. Aryn Greene (8.89 UTR)
Chris Young's OSU Cowgirls have constantly improved every year and it's nice to see them utilize their talent into a Top 10 program. It's also nice to see Julia Sell bring the LSU Tigers back into the Top 20. She brings the No.1 recruiting class for next fall with star signing Raveena Kingsley still committed. LSU will need to capture the doubles points to and probable wins in singles at Nos. 1, 5 and 6. I don't see Lushkova and Laurente dropping their matches, while the No.2 match looks to be the tipping point. Not much separates the two teams, but OSU and their talent in the middle of the lineup is a hair stronger.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 4-1; OSU is incredibly consistent throughout their lineup with possibly their No.6 spot a "weakness." LSU will grit out a point (or two), but the Cowgirls will march on in a close encounter.
1. #27 Katarina Adamovic (10.60 UTR) vs. #23 Joana Vale Costa (11.20 UTR)
2. #38 Vladica Babic (10.94 UTR) vs. #52 Jessica Golovin (10.93 UTR)
3. #46 Viktoriya Lushkova (10.69 UTR) vs. #93 Skylar Kuykendall (10.59 UTR)
4. #89 Kelsey Laurente (10.73 UTR) vs. Ryann Foster (10.30 UTR)
5. Katarina Stresnakova (10.60 UTR) vs. Abby Owens (10.66 UTR)
6. Carla Tur Mari (10.24 UTR) vs. Ella Taylor (10.39 UTR)
1. #9 Laurente/Alavarez vs. Vale Costa/Foster
2. #23 Lushkova/Tur Mari vs. Kuykendall/Owens
3. Adamovic/Babic vs. Holloway/Taylor
If I were a betting man, I'd put good money down that this could be one of the longer matches of this first round. Miami's team is full of claycourt-style players who will outgrind and extend rallies to debilitate their opponents. Unfortunately, they play a Michigan team who plays indoors nearly year-round. It's a nice matchup for both teams and I wouldn't be surprised to see a few of my picks turn out to favor the other side. This is another match where the doubles point is crucial and will affect the winner of this match.
Prediction: Miami 4-3; The 1-2 duo of Lohan and Wagner are too strong this year and they will power the Hurricanes into the quarterfinals
Miami vs. Michigan
1. #7 Sinead Lohan (11.86 UTR) vs. #17 Ronit Yurovsky (11.24 UTR)
2. #9 Stephanie Wagner (11.71 UTR) vs. #19 Brienne Minor (11.37 UTR)
3. Clementina Riobueno (10.60 UTR) vs. #107 Kate Fahey (10.96 UTR)
4. #80 Wendy Zhang (10.82 UTR) vs. Mira Ruder-Hook (10.04 UTR)
5. Clara Taniellian (10.15 UTR) vs. Alex Najarian (10.42 UTR)
6. Ana Madcur (10.39 UTR) vs. Sara Remynse (9.92 UTR)
1. Wagner/Zhang vs. Ruder-Hook/Minor
2. Lohan/Madcur vs. Yurovsky/Fahey
3. Fuentes/Riobueno vs. Remynse/Najarian
(2)#2 Georgia vs. #17 Texas Tech
Prediction: Georgia 4-0; Georgia's consistency guides them to many Final Fours and other deep runs and they'll be too strong for the Red Raiders.
Georgia vs. Texas Tech
1. #12 Ellen Perez (11.61 UTR) vs. #77 Gabriela Talaba (11.09 UTR)
2. #22 Caroline Brinson (11.26 UTR) vs. Lynn Kiro (10.50 UTR)
3. #82 Silvia Garcia (10.98 UTR) vs. Sarah Dvorak (10.86 UTR)
4. #109 Kennedy Shaffer (11.23 UTR) vs. Sabrina Federici (10.55 UTR)
5. Mariana Gould (10.46 UTR) vs. Alex Valenstein (10.28 UTR)
6. Laura Patterson (9.79 UTR) vs. Felicity Maltby (10.81 UTR)
1. #14 Perez/Gould vs. Kiro/Talaba
2. Garcia/Brinson vs. Dvorak/Valenstein
3. Patterson/Shaffer vs. Federici/Maltby
You can visit Wisconsin's home page for the National Team Indoors here.
I think the story of the day was how competitive doubles was for nearly every match. Three of the eight doubles points were decided by a tiebreaker (Vanderbilt/Duke, Ohio State/Fresno State and Virginia/Texas A&M). With the 6-game, no-ad scoring format, does doubles have the same psychological effect on teams after a close point? Jonathan Kelley from On The Rise is covering the event for ZooTennis and you can read his recap with quotes here.
Someone in the comments pointed out how Florida, Stanford, USC and Baylor elected to skip the NTI to schedule their own tough matches and prepare differently for the off-season. Should teams who skip be penalized come NCAA seeding time and does it put an asterisk next to the champion's name? Feel free to discuss in the comments.
(1)#1 Vanderbilt def. #15 Duke 4-0
I'm a little surprised that Vanderbilt put a clinic on Duke in singles. After a tight doubles point, Vanderbilt took 5 opening sets and took it to another level. Sydney Campbell's win over Beatrice Capra wasn't an upset on paper, but it's a statement win for the Commodore seeking to be among the nation's best. Chalena Scholl was a point from a UTR upset against Frances Altick, who was swapped with Astra Sharma in the lineup, but the match was called before the junior could grab one of the biggest wins of her collegiate career. Vanderbilt will need another quick start against Ohio State to push them forward in the tournament.
Vanderbilt vs. Duke
1. #11 Colton/Campbell (VAN) vs. #26 Capra/Hamlin (DUKE), 6-1
2. Sharma/Yates (VAN) def. Harris/McCarthy (DUKE), 7-6(7-1)
3. Scholl/Smith (DUKE) def. Altick/Sellyn (VAN), 6-3
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2*
2. #33 Astra Sharma (VAN, 11.26 UTR) def. #29 Kaitlyn McCarthy (DUKE, 11.66 UTR), 6-4, 6-2
3. #79 Chalena Scholl (DUKE, 10.56 UTR) #15 Frances Altick (VAN, 11.68 UTR), 6-3, 5-3, unfinished
4. Courtney Colton (VAN, 11.07 UTR) def. Samantha Harris (DUKE, 10.87 UTR), 6-4, 6-4
5. Georgina Sellyn (VAN, 10.05 UTR) vs. #70 Ellyse Hamlin (DUKE, 11.21 UTR), 6-2, 4-6, 1-0, unfinished
6. Ellie Yates (VAN, 10.17 UTR) vs. Jessica Ho (DUKE, 10.26 UTR), 6-4, 4-4, unfinished
The doubles point of the day by far goes to the Fresno State Bulldogs, who saved a combined 9 match points in the Top 2 positions to claim the first get of the match. Unfortunately, Ohio State stormed back by taking 5 of the 6 first sets and quickly went up 3-1 before Sophie Watts took the match at No.2 singles. Anna Sanford, whose younger sister had a stellar run at the $100k ITF event in Midland this week, clinched the match at No.3. Miho Kowase was a game from clinching as well when play was called off. For the Buckeyes to have any chance against Vanderbilt, a positive start with the doubles point is crucial.
Ohio State vs. Fresno State
1. Sherif Ahmed/Sherif Ahmed (FSU) def. #6 Sanford/Kowase (OSU), 7-6(11-9)
2. #58 Watts/Watts (FSU) def. DeSantis/Angeles Paz (OSU), 7-5
3. Sneed/DiLorenzo (FSU) def. Malysheva/Noble (FSU), 6-3
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1*
1. #2 Francesca DiLorenzo (OSU, 12.05 UTR) def. #26 Maiar Sherif Ahmed (FSU, 10.64 UTR), 6-2, 6-1
2. Sophie Watts (FSU, 10.18 UTR) def. Gabriella DeSantis (OSU, 10.31 UTR), 6-3, 6-3
3. Anna Sanford (OSU, 10.62 UTR) def. Rana Sherif Ahmed (FSU, 9.69 UTR), 7-6(7-2), 6-1
4. Miho Kowase (OSU, 10.37 UTR) vs. Galina Bykova (FSU, 9.92 UTR), 6-2, 5-4, unfinished
5. Ferny Angeles Paz (OSU, 10.61 UTR) def. Emma Wilson (FSU, 9.34 UTR), 6-3, 6-0
6. Olivia Sneed (OSU, 9.85 UTR) def. Anneka Watts (FSU, 9.35 UTR), 6-2, 6-2
Order of Finish: 5, 6, 1, 2, 3*
I assumed that this match would be one of the least competitive of the Round of 16, but I was pleasantly surprised with how Wisconsin competed. Lauren Chypyha rose to the occasion and was leading #5 Manasse before play was called. Stepanova also battled hard in her second set after getting blown out in the first. Unfortunately, that was all that highlighted the Badger's first NTI outing in front of their home crowd as Cal steamrolled in the middle of the singles lineup. Tomorrow's match vs. Virginia will be a tall task for the Bears and their hunt towards a National title.
2. #43 Fabikova/Hauger (CAL) def. Rider/Stepanova (WIS), 6-3
3. Chi/Smith (CAL) def. Burich/Grambeau (WIS), 5-3, unfinished
Order of Finish: 1, 2*
1. #66 Lauren Chypyha (WIS, 10.67 UTR) vs. #5 Maegan Manasse (CAL, 11.65 UTR), 7-5, 1-1, unfinished
2. #10 Klara Fabikova (CAL, 11.40 UTR) vs. Ekaterina Stepanova (WIS, 10.01 UTR), 6-0, 4-5, unfinished
3. Lynn Chi (CAL, 11.25 UTR) def. Kendall Kirsch (WIS, 9.87 UTR), 6-3, 6-1
4. Denise Starr (CAL, 11.23 UTR) def. Maria Avgerinos (WIS, 9.77 UTR), 6-1, 6-1
5. #81 Olivia Hauger (CAL, 11.01 UTR) def. Sydney Rider (WIS, 8.96 UTR), 6-1, 6-1
6. Karla Popovic (CAL, 10.60 UTR) vs. Lauren Burich (WIS, 8.92 UTR), 6-1, 4-1, unfinished
Order of Finish: 4, 5, 3*
Virginia put up a surprisingly solid test against Texas A&M, who can surprise any team on any day. Although they're missing two key players due to suspension, the Cavaliers still managed to snatch five of the opening sets in singles and storm away with the win. It's worth noting that Danielle Collins, someone who struggles indoors, battled back from 6-1, 3-0 down to win the second set and force a third until play was called. Julia Elbaba handled the awkward situation of playing a former teammate well and pushed out Rachel Pierson to claim the first singles point. Meghan Kelley announced her return to the lineup by clinching the win at No.5 and putting UVA in the quarterfinals against Cal.
2. Elbaba/Nauta (UVA) def. Bhosale/Mamalat (TAMU), 7-6(7-5)
3. Gavrilovska/Gonzalez def. Olivarez/Wingo (UVA), 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2*
2. #8 Julia Elbaba (UVA, 11.78 UTR) def. #58 Rachel Pierson (TAMU, 10.77 UTR), 6-2, 6-4
3. #30 Stephanie Nauta (UVA, 10.94 UTR) def. #106 Rutuja Bhosale (TAMU, 10.72 UTR), 6-4, 6-1
4. Eva Paalma (TAMU, 10.21 UTR) def. Victoria Olivarez (UVA, 10.06 UTR), 6-3, 6-3
5. Meghan Kelley (UVA, 10.22 UTR) vs. Domenica Gonzalez (TAMU, 10.54 UTR), 7-5, 6-2
6. Erica Susi (UVA, 10.10 UTR) def. Ines Deheza (TAMU, 10.55 UTR), 7-6(7-4), 1-3, unfinished
(3)#5 North Carolina def. #13 Alabama 4-0
As I mentioned in yesterday's preview, the lineup of North Caroline is just too strong for a team like Alabama. UNC's doubles, one of the nation's best, shined against the Crimson Tide and led to a strong finish in singles. Hayley Carter was the player of the match, clinching both doubles and singles points and dropping only 6 games total. Whitney Kay also had a strong match in singles, leading Andie Daniell before UNC captured the victory. The Tar Heels are looking very good to at least make the championship match and their quarterfinal against LSU will have a few hiccups, but they will march on.
1. #2 Carter/Kay (UNC) def. #48 Routliffe/Daniell (BAMA), 6-2
2. #16 Aney/Vialle (UNC) def. Spielmann/Savva (BAMA), 6-0
3. Dai/Ouellet-Pizer (UNC) vs. Dunn/Greene (BAMA), 5-3, unfinished
Order of Finish: 2, 1*
1. #6 Hayley Carter (UNC, 11.73 UTR) def. #63 Erin Routliffe (BAMA, 10.85 UTR), 6-1, 6-3
2. #88 Whitney Kay (UNC, 10.76 UTR) vs. #41 Andie Daniell (BAMA, 11.34 UTR), 6-2, 3-4, unfinished
3. Kate Vialle (UNC, 10.54 UTR) vs. Joanna Savva (BAMA, 9.69 UTR), 6-4, 3-2, unfinished
4. #68 Jessie Aney (UNC, 11.20 UTR) def. Danielle Spielmann (BAMA, 10.58 UTR), 6-0, 6-3
5. Marika Akkerman (UNC, 10.81 UTR) vs. Natalia Maynetto (BAMA, 10.03 UTR), 6-6, unfinished
6. #112 Chloe Ouellet-Pizer (UNC, 10.58 UTR) def. Aryn Greene (BAMA, 8.89 UTR), 6-2, 6-2
Order of Finish: 4, 6, 1*
The first match of the day was the only one to go to the complete distance and ended in the first upset of the tournament. Oklahoma State unsurprisingly took the doubles point, but LSU retaliated by snagging five opening sets. The match that ultimately decided the match was Ryann Foster's win over Kelsey Laurente, which completed first. The rest of the match remained in tight contention and it began to be known that it would be decided at No.6 singles. Tur Mari served for the second set, but Taylor bounced back by breaking the Cowgirl serve consecutively to put the Tigers into a surprise quarterfinal.
While the doubles point went down to the wire, all three matches were whitewashes for the winner. However, the opposite could be said for the singles matches. Miami took the momentum when they captured 3 opening sets and the first two singles points. Freshman Brienne Minor stunned Stephanie Wagner to tie things at 2-2. Ronit Yurovsky battled back from a set down to upset Sinead Lohan and clinch the win for the Wolverines, who clearly clearly showed how seasoned they are indoors compared to a team like Miami. Michigan's quarterfinal against Georgia could be just as close and exciting as their match against the Hurricanes. The big question mark is the bottom of the lineup (for both teams), as well as who can manage their doubles better.
No. 2 Georgia def. Michigan, 4-0
No. 3 North Carolina def. LSU 4-0
Virginia def. No. 4 California 4-3
No. 5 Texas A&M def. Wisconsin 4-1
No. 7 Miami (FL) def. Texas Tech 4-1
Duke def. Fresno State 4-0