The Pepperdine women are more accustomed to being ranked inside the 10 and that's most likely where they'll be come Tuesday because the Waves picked up their second top 10 victory of the week with a 5-2 win over #8/#6 Texas in Austin. The Waves won the doubles point in dominating fashion with a 6-1 win at No. 2 and a 6-2 win at No. 3. In singles each team claimed three opening sets and Pepperdine would convert each of its to set leads to straight set wins. Dzina Milovanovic made it 2-0 with a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 4 and Ashley Lahey upped the lead to 3-0 with a 6-4, 6-1 at No. 1.
Texas trimmed the deficit to 3-2 with straight set wins from Anna Turati and Petra Granic at No. 2 and No. 3 but Daria Kuczer put the Waves over the top with a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 5.
The University of Texas stayed in the news for a second day in a row after athletic director Chris Del Conte dismissed men's head coach Michael Center following the charges that made headlines all across the county on Tuesday. Center, who was in his 19th season as head coach at Texas, reportedly accepted approximately $100,000 to help an unnamed student gain admittance to Texas by labeling him as a tennis recruit. Associate head coach Bruce Berque will serve as the interim head coach for the rest of the season and I'm sure the story will be a major topic on tonight's nationally televised broadcast of Texas's match against No. 1 Ohio State which will air on the Longhorn Network. Below was the official statement from Del Conte via the University of Texas:
"After working with campus leaders to review the recent situation with Michael Center, we have decided to relieve him of his duties as our Men's Tennis coach," Del Conte said. "It's a very difficult decision, and we are grateful for the years of service that he has provided, but winning with integrity will always be paramount at The University of Texas, and it was a decision that had to be made.
"I've met with our team and assured them that we will do everything in our power to support them," Del Conte added. "I also plan to reach out to all of our commitments, signees and their families immediately. I'm grateful for Coach Berque's leadership during this challenging time. Our team is in the middle of a tremendous season, and I applaud them for how they've handled this situation, especially the way they responded in their match on Tuesday."
The Tennis Recruiting Network has an article with comments from one of Texas's top recruits for next year. The Longhorns 2019 recruiting class was rated No. 2 with four blue chips and a four-star recruit so it'll be interesting to see how many remain committed to Texas following the news this week.
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.
The latest USTA Top 25 is out with both the Wake Forest men and Florida women remaining at No. 1. The men's top four stayed the same with TCU moving up one spot to No. 5. The women's top 10 remained largely unchanged with the only real move coming when North Carolina and Stanford swapped spots at No. 3 and No. 4. Oklahoma State and Northwestern made the biggest jumps on the men's side with each coming up three spots to No. 6 and No. 21 respectively. Kentucky took the biggest fall dropping five spots to No. 24 after a loss at home to Alabama.
On the women's side, Arizona State and Texas each came up three spots to No. 17 and No. 18 respectively while Kentucky took the biggest fall dropping five spots to No. 20 after losing to LSU and Texas A&M.
TCU and Northwestern were originally supposed to meet a few weeks ago in Evanston but due to bad weather TCU's flight was cancelled so they made up the match up today in Fort Worth. Today in Fort Worth there were high winds anticipated so play was moved indoors though evidently it never got as windy as forecasted.
The doubles point would be a precursor to the type of match that was going to take place over the next two hours and forty-five minutes. Northwestern's Fedor Baev and Strong Kirchheimer won 6-4 at No. 1 but minutes later TCU's Cameron Norrie and Jerry Lopez would pick up a 6-4 win at No. 3. The doubles point would be decided in a tiebreak at No. 2 with TCU's Trevor Johnson and Guillermo Nuez coming back from 4-1 down to take it 7-6(5).
TCU's indoor facility has just five courts so the top five singles spots went on first with No. 6 not going on until the first match finished.
TCU took three of the five first sets and almost had a fourth but Northwestern's Strong Kirchheimer pulled out a tiebreak at No. 3. TCU sophomore Cameron Norrie finished first with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Sam Shropshire at No. 2 and then Eduardo Nava made it 3-0 after he defeated Alp Horoz 6-1, 6-3 at No. 5.
Northwestern's Strong Kirchheimer started the Wildcats comeback with a 7-6, 6-4 win over Guillermo Nunez at No. 3 and then Fedor Baev pulled away from Jerry Lopez in the third set to win 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 at No. 4.
Konrad Zieba tied it up at 3-3 with a big 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 win over Alex Rybakov at No. 1 so it would all come down to a third set at No. 6 singles to decide it.
TCU sophomore Trevor Johnson took the first set 6-4 but Northwestern freshman Ben Vandixhorn took the second 6-3. Johnson started off the third set by holding and then breaking but Vandixhorn broke back and held for 2-2. Johnson would hold, break, hold, and break once more to close it out 6-2 in the third.
Sights & Sounds from today's battle with No. 12 Northwestern presented by @FrogVision!#GoFrogs #TCUTennishttps://t.co/pjjmSOYvhmTCU Men's Tennis (@TCUMensTennis) March 23, 2016
#3 TCU 4, #12 Northwestern 3
.@RoditiTCUTennis breaks down the battle as TCU pulled out the 4-3 win over No. 12 Northwestern#GoFrogshttps://t.co/yzrMJeGzIKTCU Men's Tennis (@TCUMensTennis) March 22, 2016
The biggest surprise of the day took place in Lexington as a short-handed Kentucky team knocked off No. 10 Illinois 4-3. Kentucky was playing without its usual No. 3 and No. 4 singles players, Nils Ellefsen and Enzo Wallart, but the substitutes came through in a major way.
Illinois took the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 2 but Kentucky took four of six opening sets in singles. Kentucky senior Kevin Lai was first off the court with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Brian Page at No. 6. It was only Lai's second dual-match of the season and first against a Power 5 school.
UK sophomore Jake Stefanik put the Cats ahead 2-1 with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Asher Hirsch at No. 5. It just Stefanik's fifth dual-match of the year although he was coming off a blowout win over Vanderbilt's Alex Ross.
UK sophomore William Bushamuka put Kentucky within a point of the win with a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 win over Jared Hiltzik at No. 1. Hiltzik led 2-0 in the tiebreak when he was defaulted due to a fourth overrule which occurred on a Bushamuka first serve. Hiltzik took to Twitter after the match and was less than pleased with what he thought was some horrible officiating.
Aron Hiltzik trimmed the Kentucky lead to 3-2 with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 win over Trey Yates at No. 3 and Aleks Vukic tied it up with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Ryotaro Matsumura at No. 2.
The match would be decided at No. 4 singles between Kentucky freshman Austin Hussey and Illinois redshirt junior Julian Childers. Hussey took the first set 6-3 and led 3-1 in the second but Childers took the next five games to take it 6-3. Childers went up an early break in the third and would serve for the match up 5-4 but Hussey broke and then held for 6-5.
Hussey went up 0-15 on the Childers serve when a forehand down the line forced an error but Childers evened it at 15-all with a second serve service winner. Childers went up 30-15 with an overhead put away from the service line but a double fault on the next point made it 30-all. Childers went up 40-30 when a Hussey backhand sailed just long on the 15th shot of the rally but Hussey took the next point when Childers sent a forehand long on the 14th shot of the rally. Hussey elected to receive the deciding no-ad point in the ad-court and on the 19th shot of the rally he hit a forehand from the service line that Childers couldn't get back in play and that was game, set, and match.
The 17th shot of the rally was the shot that set up the finish because Hussey looped a forehand that the wind carried to the baseline so Childers had to hit a forehand above his shoulders. Childers couldn't get into position to hit an overhead so just tapped it back and the wind knocked it down enough that Hussey was able to come in and drill it.
Kudos to Kentucky for periscoping the final game!!
CATS WIN! Hussey defeats Childers on four, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 for the 4-3 victory! UK plays Morehead State at 6 p.m. pic.twitter.com/madCPvn6nAKentucky Mens Tennis (@UKMensTennis) March 22, 2016
Drake hadn't played in nine days and was coming off a tough loss to Wisconsin but the Bulldogs were able to gut out a come from behind 4-3 win over No. 26 Oregon.
Oregon blew Drake off the court in doubles winning 6-2 at both No. 2 and No. 3 and they also led 5-2 at No. 1 when play was stopped due to the clinch. Each team took three first sets and five of the six matches would finish in straight sets.
Drake's Ben Stride cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 6 but Oregon's Simon Stevens answered with a 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 3. Drake's Ben Lott tied the match at 2-2 with a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 1 but Oregon's Cormac Clissold put the Ducks back ahead with a 7-6, 6-1 win at No. 5. Drake's Calum MacGeoch tied it back up with a 6-3, 7-5 win at No. 4 so the match would be decided in a third set at No. 2 between a pair of freshman.
Oregon's Thomas Laurent took the first set 7-5 but the second set was all Vinny Gillespie as the Scotland native took it 6-1. Gillespie broke Laurent to start the third set and then held for 2-0. Gillespie kept the break lead until Laurent broke for 4-4 and then held for 5-4. Gillespie held, broke, and then held to close it out 5-7, 6-1, 7-5.
It was the fourth time this season that Gillespie clinched a team win and also the fourth time he had been in the final match left on court. After dropping his first two he has now won the last two.
Also nice job by Drake getting some video clips after the match with Davidson and Vinny.
In the early match of the day it was No. 27 Tulsa holding on to edge #42 Dartmouth 4-3. Dartmouth won easily at No. 3 doubles but Tulsa cruised at No. 2. Tulsa's No. 1 team of Matthew Kirby and Okkie Kellerman broke Dartmouth's Sakinis and Glasnovic to go up 6-5 and then served it out to take the match 7-5.
All six singles matches would finish in straight sets after each team took three first sets. Tulsa's Or Ram-Harel, who normally plays at No. 1, picked up a 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 2. Dartmouth's Dovydas Sakinis got past Juan Matias Gonzalez 7-6, 6-2 at No. 1. Dartmouth's George Wall won 6-4, 6-3 at No. 4 to tie the match at 2-all but Tulsa's Francois Kellerman put the Golden Hurricane back ahead with a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 6.
Dartmouth's Max Schmidt tied it at 3-all with a 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 5 so it came down to No. 3 between Tulsa's Carlos Bautista and Dartmouth's Max Fliegner.
Flienger jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first set but Bautista took the next four to go up 5-3. Fliegner held for 4-5, broke for 5-5, and then held for 6-5. Bautista held to send it a tiebreak and then he took took the tiebreak 7-4. Fliegner broke Bautista to start the second set and then held for 2-0. After an exchange of holds Bautista would break to even it at 3-3 and then hold for 4-3. Bautista would break again and then hold to seal the win 7-6, 6-3.
UCLA made a quick trip down to Las Vegas to play UCLA but they ended up playing indoors in neighboring Henderson due to high wind. They played singles first and UCLA won five of six match with Karue Sell taking the day off.
Mackenzie McDonald, Martin Redlicki, Logan Staggs, and Joseph Di Giulio won in straight sets while Gage Brymer was pushed to a third set supertiebreak. Austin Rapp, who played his first match since injuring his ankle against North Carolina at the National Indoors on February 14, fell in a third set supertiebreak to Richard Solberg at No. 6.
UCLA swept all three courts in doubles with the closest match coming at No. 2 where Max Cressy and Joey D won 7-6(5).
No. 6 UCLA Downs UNLV 6-1 https://t.co/dzqCVxob6o #GoBruins #UCLA #ImABruin #BruinsInVegas pic.twitter.com/FiJR9pV6McUCLA Men's Tennis (@uclatennis) March 22, 2016
Earlier in the day Pepperdine tumbled out of the top 10, but later in the day the Waves were all smiles after defeating No. 20 Stanford for the first time in program history. The match was originally scheduled for Monday but was pushed back to Tuesday due to rain. Rain was still a possibility on Tuesday so the team played singles first and wouldn't you know but it was all tied at 3-3 after singles.
Stanford picked up straight set wins from Carolina Doyle, Krista Hardebeck, and Kimberly Yee at 2, 3, and 6 while Pepperdine's Luisa Stefani won in straights at No. 1.
Pepperdine's Matea Cutura and Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai each won in three-sets with Cutura the last one on court.
The doubles point decided the winner and it was Pepperdine winning 6-3 at No. 1 and 6-1 at No. 2 to take the point and the match.