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. 

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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. 

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WOW - what a tremendous day of college tennis action! The day got started early with No. 2 Wake Forest hosting No. 5 North Carolina and it finished 10 hours later with No. 31 TCU pulling off an upset win over No. 6 Cal. Both of the matches in Orlando were tremendous with No. 36 Florida State and No. 15 Florida playing in front of a College MatchDay record-crowd and then at the same time on the other six courts you had Tulsa and Central Florida go down to the wire. 

I'll start off with the biggest upset of the day, in terms of ranking, which took place in Palo Alto between a resurgent No. 41 Stanford and No. 8 Texas. The Cardinal was coming off a huge win on Tuesday night over No. 6 Cal in a match where it dropped the doubles point but rallied to win four singles matches. On Friday afternoon, Stanford managed to get out to the early lead after securing the doubles point for the seventh time in eleven matches. Stanford's No. 2 team of Sameer Kumar and Michael Genender broke Texas's Harrison Scott and Julian Zlobinsky on the no-ad point to go ahead 3-2 and then they held for 4-2. Texas would come back from 0/40 down to hold for 3-4 but Stanford would hold from 40/30 and then break from 15/40 to win it 6-3. 

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We're still a week away from the Kick-Off Weekend but several lower ranked teams did some kicking tonight as upsets were the story of the day. The biggest upset took place at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center as unranked Tulsa stunned No. 4 Texas 4-3. Tulsa won what turned out to be a pivotal doubles point when it picked up a 6-4 win over at No. 3 and a 6-3 win at No. 2. Texas turned it around in singles by taking four opening sets while Tulsa won the other two in tiebreaks. Harrison Scott and Leo Telles put Texas ahead with quick straight set wins at No. 4 and No. 6 but Or Ram-Harel tied it up at 2-2 after defeating the ITA No. 6 Christian Sigsgaard 7-6(2), 6-2. George Goldhoff put Texas back in front after winning in three sets at No. 3 but Tulsa's Majed Kilani leveled it at 3-3 with a come from behind 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over Texas freshman Yuya Ito at No 2.

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It didn't take long to have our first dual-match that was decided by the final court but that's what happened on Thursday night in Tulsa inside The Case. Tulsa, which hosted last year's NCAA Championships, jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the defending Missouri Valley Conference Champs Wichita State after rallying to take the doubles point and picking up straight set wins from Majed Kilani and Daniel Santos at No. 2 and No. 6. During the doubles point the Shockers got a quick win at No. 1 and led 4-0 at No. 3 but the Golden Hurricane rallied with six straight points to take it 6-4. The doubles decider came at No. 2 with Tulsa's Kilani and Ram-Harel breaking Wichita State's 4-4 service game and then holding to clinch the doubles point with a 6-4 win. 

Published in Blogs
Sunday, 22 February 2015 12:58

Sunday Preview

Rain is in the forecast in many parts of the country so matches are being cancelled or being moved indoors.  Here is my preview of the bigger matches on Sunday (Texas A&M/Tulsa already cancelled due to rain).

#23 Vanderbilt (8-2) at #25 Harvard (8-2)- 12pm est - Harvard Twitter & Video - Both teams have beaten Minnesota over the last 2 days with Vandy squeaking out a 4-3 win on Friday while Harvard throttled the Gophers pretty good on Saturday by a 5-2.  Vandy is 7-2 in doubles while Harvard is 8-2 so it should be a pretty exciting start to the the match.  I could see Harvard winning the match despite dropping the doubles point but I don't see Vanderbilt finding 4 points without the doubles point.  Vandy has now played in 6 matches that have finished 4-3 while Harvard has played in 5 that were either 4-2 or 4-3 so both teams are used to the pressure.  I like Vandy in doubles and Austin and Valent in singles but I like Beltrame, Hu, Tao, and Yeung for the Crimson.  Prediction: Harvard 4-3

Projected Lineup
1. #8 Gonzales Austin (VU 14.40) vs. #91 Denis Nguyen (HV 13.99)
2. Rhys Johnson (VU 13.34) vs. #80 Sebastian Beltrame (HV 13.21)
3. Kris Yee (VU 13.73) vs. Nicky Hu (HV 13.78)
4. Danny Valent (VU 13.74) vs. Alex Steinroeder (HV 13.37)
5. Baker Newman (VU 13.00) vs. Kenny Tao (HV 13.11)
6. Suresh Eswaran (VU 12.87) vs. Brian Yeung (HV 13.19)

#8 North Carolina (9-4) at #1 Oklahoma (10-1) - 1pm est - Live Scoring & Video - Both of these teams will look to rebound after suffering tough losses on road with UNC coming off a gut wrenching 4-3 loss to #10 Texas that saw Ronnie Schneider get broke 4 times while serving for the match while Oklahoma suffered its 1st loss of the season when it's bottom 3 let them down. These teams met last Saturday during the NTIs with Oklahoma winning 4-1 (box score below) so North Carolina will need to do something really special to avoid the same fate.  In my opinion the only spots in play for UNC are at 1, 4, and 6 because I have a hard time seeing Ronnie Schneider rebounding from Friday's loss against a guy as good as Axel Alvarez especially since Alvarez rocked Ronnie pretty good last week, Dane Webb has had Brett Clark's number, and Steiro has won a combined 4 games in his last 2 matches.  With Esben Hess-Olesen sidelined North Carolina doesn't really have any other viable options if they sit Steiro so they'll probably ride him out and hope for the best.  I wouldn't be totally shocked if John Roddick decided to make a change at #6 singles because Jose Salazar has now dropped 3 straight so maybe we'll see Florin Bragusi. I like Harris, Alvarez, Webb, and Ghilea for OU and Murray and Kelly for UNC.  Prediction:  Oklahoma 4-3

Projected Lineup:

1. #6 Brayden Schnur (UNC 14.54) vs. #26 Andrew Harris (OU 14.69) 
2. #19 Ronnie Schneider (UNC 13.91) vs. #11 Axel Alvarez (OU 14.48)  
3. Brett Clark (UNC 13.75) vs. #31 Dane Webb (OU 14.17) 
4. #104 Jack Murray (UNC 13.83) vs. Spencer Papa (OU 13.91) 
5. Oystein Steiro (UNC 13.66) vs. #63 Alex Ghilea (OU 14.11) 
6. #75 Robert Kelly (UNC 13.54) vs. Jose Salazar (OU 13.72) 


#2 Oklahoma 4, #7 North Carolina 1 - 2015 NTI Quarterfinals
Doubles competition
1. Axel Alvarez/Dane Webb (OKLA) def. Brayden Schnur/Oystein Steiro (UNC) 6-1
2. Brett Clark/Robert Kelly (UNC) def. Spencer Papa/Andrew Harris (OKLA) 6-4
3. Jack Murray/Ronnie Schneider (UNC) def. Jose Salazar/Alex Ghilea (OKLA) 6-3
Singles competition
1. #26 Andrew Harris (OKLA) def. #6 Brayden Schnur (UNC) 7-6(5), 6-3
2. #11 Axel Alvarez (OKLA) def. #19 Ronnie Schneider (UNC) 6-1, 6-4
3. #31 Dane Webb (OKLA) vs. Brett Clark (UNC) 6-4, 3-6, 3-0, unfinished
4. Spencer Papa (OKLA) def. Oystein Steiro (UNC) 6-4, 6-2
5. #63 Alex Ghilea (OKLA) def. #104 Jack Murray (UNC) 7-5, 6-1
6. Jose Salazar (OKLA) vs. #75 Robert Kelly (UNC) 0-6, 6-3, 4-5, unfinished
Match Notes:
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (2,4,5,1)

#12 UCLA (6-4) at #5 Baylor (7-2) - 1pm est - Live Scoring & Blog - This will be a matchup between one team on the rise and the other on the fall.  Baylor had a great weekend in Chicago in beating both Virginia and Duke before seemingly letting Oklahoma off the hook in the semifinals while UCLA continues to struggle to put away the close matches with the Bruins dropping all 4 this year where they've yielded at least 2 points (a pair of 4-3 and 4-2 losses).  Last year Baylor went into LA and stunned UCLA 4-2 so the Bruins will do their best to try and return the favor however I just don't see the horses in the barn to make that happen.  UCLA just hasn't the consistency it's used to with Mkrtchian, Brymer, Sell, and Rapp a combined 13-12 in dual match play while both McDonald and Redlicki have been the bright spots with those guys a combined 14-1.  UCLA is 8-2 in doubles while Baylor is 9-0 so it wouldn't be surprising to see all 3 courts go to a tiebreak which is what happened last year.  Baylor's only weak spot this year has been at #4 where its guys are a combined 2-4 with Galeano 0-3.  UCLA's best chance at the upset is to take the doubles point and to get wins from McDonald, Redlicki, and Sell with each of those matches near toss-ups.  UCLA will keep it close but Baylor pulls through with Tschoutakian, Lupieri, Galeano, and Zsiga winning.Prediction: Baylor 5-2

Projected Lineup:
1. #2 Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA 14.84) vs. #10 Julian Lenz (BU 14.77)
2. #44 Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA 13.52) vs. #67 Max Tchoutakian (BU 14.22)
3. Martin Redlicki (UCLA 14.23) vs. #27 Tony Lupieri (BU 14.30)
4. Gage Brymer (UCLA 13.83) vs. Diego Galeano (BU 13.78)
5. Karue Sell (14.16) vs. Vince Schneider (BU 13.35)
6. Austin Rapp (12.89) vs. Mate Zsiga (BU 13.84)

#43 Tulsa (8-6) at #13 Texas A&M (3-1) - 1pm est - Live Scoring (Match Rained Out) - Tulsa always plays a tough schedule and things won't get any easier as they head to College Station to take an Aggie team coming off an upset over #1 Oklahoma.  Tulsa is coming off a 4-3 loss to Oklahoma State and they seem to still be trying to find that right mix within the lineup as the newcomers, Jose Gonzalez and Mitchell Pritchard, continue to jump around.  Tulsa was also without its #4 Matthew Kirby (12.88) during the Oklahoma State match so we'll see if he's back in there.  Last year Texas A&M rolled to a 6-1 win at Tulsa with all 6 singles matches finishing in straight sets and this year's match will probably be about the same.  Prediction:  Texas A&M 6-1

Projected Lineup:
1. Or-Ram Harel (Tulsa 13.23) vs. #45 Shane Vinsant (aTm 14.35)
2. Alejandro Espejo (Tulsa 13.80) vs. #43 Jeremy Efferding (aTm 14.09)
3. Jose Gonzalez (Tulsa 13.49) vs. #36 Harrison Adams (aTm 13.97)
4. Carlos Bautista (Tulsa 12.63) vs. Arthur Rinderknech (aTm 13.87)
5. Mitchell Pritchard (Tulsa 12.55) vs. #51 AJ Catanzariti (aTm 13.96)
6. Dylan McCloskey (Tulsa 12.58) vs. Max Lunkin (aTm 12.57)



Follow these matches and others through the links on my Live Scoring Page
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Shocker of the day, week, month, year, decade, century, maybe longer - #1 USC playing without Eric Johnson and Nick Crystal goes down to #51 Tulsa 4-3.

USC came out strong and really blew out Tulsa in doubles winning 6-1 and 6-0 at 2 and 3 despite having new doubles pairing on each court.  Eric Johnson did play in doubles but I guess it was a coaches decision to give him and Nick Crystal the day off in singles and it ultimately proved to be costly.

Still even with those 2 guys out of the singles lineup you figure there is no way that Hanfmann and Quiroz are both going to lose and sure enough they both did in straight sets.

When I was looking at Saturday's matches and deciding which ones to preview I quickly passed this one over because I didn't think there was any way possible that Tulsa could win this match regardless of whether USC sat a couple of guys.  But I guess there is a reason they play the matches because you never know what can happen on a given day.

Tulsa's Or Ram-Harel pulled off the 1st upset of the day when he took out Yannick Hanfmann 6-3, 6-2 at #1 singles to tie the match up at 1 but a short while later Jonny Wang would put USC back ahead 2-1 with a 7-5, 6-0 win at #3 singles over Matthew Kirby.  Tulsa's Alejandro Espejo evened the match at 2-2 with a 6-4, 7-6(0) win over Roberto Quiroz at #2 singles which set the stage for 3 3rd sets on the remaining courts. After dropping the 1st set at both #5 and #6, Tulsa's Mitchell Pritchard and Dylan McCloskey would each take the 2nd set and would both head to a 3rd set tiebreaker. McCloskey would jump out to a 6-3 lead in the tiebreak but USC's Connor Farren would fight off 3 match points to tie it at 6.  Farren would hit each of the next 2 shots just long (he appealed both calls to the chair but neither was overturned much to his dismay) and with that Tulsa had taken a 3-2 lead. The tiebreaker at #5 was just a few points behind but Tulsa's Mitchell Pritchard would grab the early lead and never give it up as he finished off Rob Bellamy 7-5 in the tiebreak to clinch the stunning Tulsa win.

Now it wouldn't be college tennis if there wasn't some kind of uncertainty about something and if you look at each of the school's recaps they both show a different singles lineup from Tulsa at 3, 4, 5, and 6 than what the scoreboard during the match showed.  I watched the live stream on courts 5 and 6 at the end and while the clarity wasn't good enough to make out faces I do remember hearing the Tulsa players yelling out "Come on Mitchell" during the tiebreak at #5 singles so the assumption is that Mitchell Pritchard did play at #5 singles and clinch the match despite the recap saying differently. The score entered into the ITA's system also shows the lineup that matches the scoreboard.  All I want to do is to give credit to where it's due so if it was Carlos Bautista that clinched it at #5 like the recaps say then so be it.

UPDATE:  Both the USC and Tulsa recaps below now show the correct people for Tulsa so it's nice to see Pritchard get his recognition for clinching.  






Tulsa recap
USC recap

#51 Tulsa 4, #1 USC 3

Doubles | Order of finish: 3, 2*
1. Johnson/Quiroz (USC) vs. #33 Bautista/Espejo (TU), 4-2 (unf.)
2. Hanfmann/Wang (USC) def. McCloskey/Kirby (TU), 6-1
3. Smith/Forget (USC) def. Ram-Harel/Matias Gonzalez (TU), 6-0


Singles | Order of finish: 1, 3, 2, 6, 5*, 4
1. #71 Or Ram-Harel (TU 13.25) def. #6 Yannick Hanfmann (USC 15.05) 6-3, 6-2
2. Alejandro Espejo (TU 13.72) def. #20 Roberto Quiroz (USC 14.43) 6-4, 7-6(0)
3. #31 Jonny Wang (USC 14.23) def. Matthew Kirby (TU 12.87) 7-5, 6-0
4. #72 Max De Vroome (USC 14.13) def. Carlos Bautista (TU 12.71) 7-5, 5-7, 6-5(4)
5. Mitchell Pritchard (TU 12.52) def. Rob Bellamy (USC 13.09) 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(5)
6. Dylan McCloskey (TU 12.56) def. Connor Farren (USC 13.70) 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(6)
_____________________________________________________

South Bend, IN:  After Notre Dame won a tight doubles point that was decided by a tiebreak on 1, the teams would split 1st sets with Notre Dame taking the opening set at 1, 5, and 6 (5 & 6 in tiebreaks) with Illinois grabbing the opening set at 2, 3, and 4.  All singles matches except #5 would finish in straight sets with Tim Kopinski and Aleks Vukic winning at #3 and #4 to put Illinois up 2-1.  Notre Dame would answer with straight set wins at #6 and #1 by Alex Lawson and Quentin Monaghan to put the Irish up 3-2.  Illinois's Hiltzik brothers would then take center stage and rise to the occasion as Jared finished off Josh Hagar in straight sets at #2 singles and then Aron would win 12 straight games at #5 singles to clinch the team win with a 6-7, 6-0, 6-0 win.

Note - Notre Dame's #4 Eric Schnurrenberger sat out due to injury which forced the Irish to shift everyone up a spot from 4 on down.

Illinois recap
Notre Dame recap

#3 Illinois 4, #14 Notre Dame 3

Singles competition
1. #24 Quentin Monaghan (ND 14.28) def. #52 Farris Gosea (ILL 14.59) 6-4, 6-4
2. #19 Jared Hiltzik (ILL 14.50) def. #102 Josh Hagar (ND 13.75) 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)
3. #33 Tim Kopinski (ILL 14.19) def. Eddy Covalschi (ND 13.12) 6-1, 6-2
4. #44 Aleks Vukic (ILL 14.18) def. Billy Pecor (ND 12.99) 7-6 (7-4), 6-0
5. #67 Aron Hiltzik (ILL 13.80) def. Nicolas Montoya (ND 12.52) 6-7 (6-8), 6-0, 6-0
6. Alex Lawson (ND 12.80) def. Toshiki Matsuya (ILL 13.09) 7-6 (7-4), 6-3
Doubles competition
1. #19 Eddy Covalschi/Josh Hagar (ND) def. #14 Ross Guignon/Tim Kopinski (ILL) 7-6 (7-4)
2. Jared Hiltzik/Farris Gosea (ILL) def. Alex Lawson/Quentin Monaghan (ND) 6-3
3. Billy Pecor/Dougie Barnard (ND) def. Aron Hiltzik/Toshiki Matsuya (ILL) 6-4

Match Notes:
Illinois 12-2; National ranking #3
Notre Dame 6-3; National ranking #14
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (3,4,6,1,2,5)

T-3:05 A-286

______________________________________________________

Los Angeles, CA:  UCLA won the doubles point but Stanford kept it close in singles by winning 3 first sets but the one set they really needed was at #3 singles and once UCLA's Martin Redlicki took it 9-7 in the tiebreak things started going UCLA's way. Karue Sell, Mackenzie McDonald, and Martin Redlicki would all win in straights with Redlicki clinching it.  Stanford picked up a straight set win from John Morrissey at #2. After the match was clinched, UCLA's Ryoto Tachi finished off a 3rd set bagel of David Hsu at #6 while Stanford's Nolan Paige won a 10 point supertiebreak that was played in place of a 3rd set at #5.

Notes - UCLA played without its usual #4 singles player Gage Brymer and according to the UCLA recap Dennis Mkrtchian sustained some kind of injury during the first set of his match at #2 singles.

UCLA recap
Stanford recap


#21 UCLA 5, #37 Stanford 2
Feb 28, 2015 at Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Tennis Center)

Doubles
1. #5 McDonald/Redlicki (UCLA) def. Morrissey/Robert Stineman (STAN) 6-4
2. Joseph Di Giulio/Sell (UCLA) def. #49 Fawcett/Romanowicz (STAN) 6-3
3. Mkrtchian/Rapp (UCLA) vs. Paige/Wilczynski (STAN) 5-6, unfinished
UCLA Wins Doubles Point

Singles
1. #3 Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA 14.87) def. #26 Tom Fawcett (STAN 14.14) 7-5, 6-2
2. John Morrissey (STAN 14.10) def. #35 Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA 13.50) 6-3, 6-1
3. Martin Redlicki (UCLA 14.23) def. David Wilczynski (STAN 13.86) 7-6(7), 6-3
4. Karue Sell (UCLA 14.03) def. Maciek Romanowicz (STAN 13.31) 6-1, 6-3
5. Nolan Paige (STAN 13.32) def. Austin Rapp (UCLA 12.91) 6-3, 6-7(6), (10-7)
6. Ryoto Tachi (UCLA 13.06) def. David Hsu (STAN 13.95) 2-6, 6-4, 6-0

Match Notes
Stanford 6-4; National ranking #37
UCLA 7-5; National ranking #21
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (2,4,1,3,5,6)

____________________________________________________

North Carolina started the morning off with a routine 4-1 win over Minnesota with the Tar Heels taking all completed sets except for the 1 set that Brayden Schnur dropped at #1 singles before he retired early in the 2nd set.  No word yet on what caused the retirement.  Minnesota also played without it's usual #2 Jack Hamburg (13.04) so everyone else had to slide up a slot which didn't help the Gophers cause.

UNC recap

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Nothing like a little mid-week tennis to get everybody excited and that's what we'll have Tuesday evening with #5 Baylor hosting #15 TCU and #21 UCLA hosting #51 Tulsa.

#15 TCU (8-3) at #5 Baylor (9-2) - 7pm est - Live Scoring & Blog + Video (if played outdoors) - This will be the Big 12 opener for both schools with Baylor fresh off a win over Virginia while TCU swept a pair of matches on Sunday against Wisconsin and Incarnate Word.  TCU started off the year with 5 straight wins including wins over Texas A&M and LSU but then got swept at the National Indoors by Duke, Virginia, and UCLA.  Baylor lost its opener at home to Illinois but since then they've beaten Tulsa, Duke, UCLA, and Virginia twice with just the 1 other loss to Oklahoma at the National Indoors semifinals.  Baylor is a perfect 11-0 in doubles and has only dropped 3 individual courts while TCU is just 4-5 so I can't see anyway that Baylor doesn't win this point.  TCU has used 7 different guys in singles with Trevor Johnson (13.38) also seeing plenty of action at 6 so it's possible he could play at 6 if either Dachs or Lugones can't play.  Diego Galeano has sat out the singles portion for the last 2 matches so it sounds like he isn't 100% so with the way the other guys have been playing I'd be surprised to see him singles in this one.    


FYI, the # beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of the current date of this preview/recap. For more details about UTR check out their website.

Projected Singles Lineup
1. #28 Cameron Norrie (TCU 14.66) vs. #11 Julian Lenz (BU 14.69)   
2. #48 Nick Chappell (TCU 13.81) vs. #23 Tony Lupieri (BU 14.32) 
3. Arnau Dachs (TCU 13.99) vs. #40 Max Tchoutakian (BU 14.22) 
4. Will Stein (TCU 13.28) vs. Vince Schneider (BU 13.46) 
5. Guillermo Nunez (TCU 13.53) vs. Mate Zsiga (BU 13.82) 
6. Facundo Lugones (TCU 13.49) vs. Felipe Rios (BU 13.62)

#1 singles - Julian Lenz has jumped out to a 7-1 start in dual match play with 6 top 75 wins while Cameron Norrie is 6-3 but just 1-3 against ranked opponents.  Anything other than a Lenz win would be very surprising.  

#2 singles - Tony Lupieri is 5-3 in dual match play including a win over current #1 Thai Son Kwiatkowski but since that win he is 0-2 with losses to Mitchell Frank and Dane Webb.  Nick Chappel is 4-2 in dual play and 1-2 against ranked opponents with 3 other matches that didn't finish.  I think Chappell pulls the mild upset and takes this one in 3 if they play the matches out after the clinch.

#3 singles - Max Tchoutakian is 5-4 in dual match play but just 1-3 against ranked opponents while Arnau Dachs is 5-2 in dual match play but has dropped 2 of his last 3.  Dachs sat out a few matches and had a close one against Wisconsin yesterday so he may not be 100%.  I like Tchoutakian in straights against either Dachs or Stein. 

#4 singles -  Will Stein is 4-3 in dual match play but has dropped 2 of his last 3 while Schneider is 6-1 and 3-0 since moving up to #4 with wins over UCLA's Karue Sell and Virginia's Mac Styslinger.  I think Schneider has the hotter hand right now but Stein is more than capable of winning. 

#5 singles - Guillermo Nunez is 7-0 seeing action at 3, 4, 5, and 6 though none of those wins were against a ranked opponent while the up and down Mate Zsiga is 4-2 with 4 other matches that didn't finish (he was up big in 3 of those).  Zsiga either wins his matches in under a hour or they go closer to 2+ hours and go 3 sets and if he hadn't squandered the big lead against Ghilea in the NTI semis he'd be riding a 5 match winning streak.  Right now there is no way I can pick against Mate especially with it being at home so I'll go Zsiga in 2.  

#6 singles - Felipe Rios is 6-1 in dual match play and has won 6 straight since dropping his 1st collegiate dual match against Illinois's Ross Guignon while Facundo Lugones is 4-2 though he's lost his last 2 against tougher competition (UCLA's Karue Sell & LSU's Boris Arias).  If Trevor Johnson gets the call at 6 he'd bring a 5-1 dual match record into the match.  Ultimately I'd like Rios over both those guys.

It's possible Baylor could have a little bit of an emotional letdown after the big win over Virginia but it'd take a really big effort from TCU to pull the upset.  I'd say TCU's best chance would be to get wins from Chappell, Stein, Nunez, and whoever plays at 6.  A few of those guys may win but I don't see all 4 getting it done.  Prediction:  Baylor 5-2 


#51 Tulsa (10-6) at #21 UCLA (7-5) - 5pm est - Live Scoring - Tulsa has brought a Golden Hurricane down on each of its past 2 west coast victims with neither #1 USC or #53 Pepperdine able to overcome the Tulsa firepower.  UCLA, which had lost 3 of 4, finally stopped the bleeding with a nice 4-2 win on Saturday over an improving Stanford team.  UCLA is 9-3 in doubles while Tulsa is 9-6.  Tulsa has played in 5 consecutive matches that have finished with a 4-3 score - winning 3 of the 5.  

One of UCLA's biggest issues has been getting it's 6 most talented guys on the court at the same time. Gage Brymer, who was a rock last year as a freshman going 18-3 playing primarily at #4, has struggled this year and has only played in 5 of UCLA's 12 matches.  Brymer suffered a personal tragedy when his mother passed away in late January and has had trouble finding his form since then and actually pulled himself out of the starting lineup due to his level of play at the National Indoors after dropping his match against North Carolina's Oystein Steiro.  I guess at this point only Gage knows when he'll be ready to return to the court.  Joseph Di Giulio is another Bruin that's had trouble finding his form this year.  Last year Di Giulio went 9-3 playing at #6, with a slew of matches that didn't finish, but so far this year he's just 2-5 appearing in 9 of UCLA's 12 matches.  If UCLA can get those 2 guys back and playing at last year's form they'll be a tough 2 seed in someone's regional come in May.  


Projected Singles Lineups:
1. #71 Or Ram-Harel (TU 13.24) vs. #3 Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA 14.87)
2. Alejandro Espejo (TU 13.67) vs. #35 Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA 13.50)
3. 
Juan Gonzalez (TU 13.44)vs. Martin Redlicki (UCLA 14.23)
4. Matthew Kirby (TU 12.88)  vs. Karue Sell (UCLA 14.03)
5. Mitchell Pritchard (TU 12.51) vs. Austin Rapp (UCLA 12.91)
6. Dylan McCloskey (TU 12.59) vs. 
Ryoto Tachi (UCLA 13.06)

Other possible singles additions:  Gage Brymer (UCLA 13.82), Joseph DiGiulio (UCLA 13.50), Carlos Bautista (TU 12.71).  

#1 singles - Or Ram-Harel is 8-2 in dual match play with 3 wins over ranked opponents including the stunner on Friday over #6 Yannick Hanfmann while Mackenzie McDonald is 8-1 with 6 wins over ranked opponents. While Ram-Harel caught Hanfmann on the right day he won't catch McDonald and the Bruins sophomore wins this in 2. 

#2 singles - Espejo is 6-4 with his only ranked win coming over Roberto Quiroz while Mkrtchian is just 3-4 with 2 ranked wins and with 4 additional matches not finishing. Mkrtchian took a medical timeout during his match against Stanford due to flu symptoms but he was able to continue though the result wasn't too good.  I'm assuming that Mkrtchian still won't be at 100% and will likely come up short in this one -Espejo in 2.

#3 singles - Gonzalez is 0-6 on the year having played 2 matches each at 1, 2, and 3 while Redlicki is 8-1 with notable wins over Brett Clark and David Wilczynski. Gonzalez didn't play against USC but did play against Pepperdine losing 6-4 in the 3rd.  I like Redlicki in 3.

#4 singles - Kirby is 7-4 with notable wins over Herkko Pollanen and Diego Galeano but has dropped 3 straight while Sell is 7-4 but he's lost 3 of his last 5. 6 of Sell's 7 wins have come in straight sets so I say he makes it 7 of 8.  

#5 singles - Pritchard was the hero of the USC match by winning the clincher and is now 9-5 however he got blown out on Sunday by Pepperdine's Pedro Iamachkine 6-1, 6-1.  Rapp is 3-3 with 4 additional matches that didn't finish.  I'll go with the Tulsa freshman in this one.

#6 singles - McCloskey is 6-4 on the year splitting his last 4 matches while Tachi has seen action in just 3 matches going 2-0 including a come from behind win on Saturday over Stanford's David Hsu.  I'll go with Tachi in 3 in this one.  

The one thing that you can be assured of is that Tulsa won't catch UCLA sleeping but after 2 tough matches in the last few days the question is how much does Tulsa have left in the tank.  The doubles point could be the turning point in this one because if Tulsa can take it I could easily see them picking up 3 points in singles especially if Mkrtchian isn't 100% and neither Brymer or Di Giulio play.  However I do see the Bruins grabbing the doubles point and then picking up wins at 1, 3, and 4.  If they play it out after the clinch I think it'd finish 5-2. Prediction:  UCLA 4-1 







Published in Blogs
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 00:17

Baylor & UCLA Both Win Going Away

Tulsa showed up at the LA Tennis Center with nothing to lose after upsetting USC and Pepperdine and lose is exactly what they did.  Billy Martin's boys came to play and they gave Tulsa a pretty thorough beating in every facet of the match.  UCLA's #1 and #3 doubles teams both posted 6-0 shutouts to seal the doubles point and give UCLA the early 1-0 lead.

Things never got any closer in singles as UCLA cruised to 5 1st sets and the 2nd sets went just as quickly with Mackenzie McDonald, Dennis Mkrtchian, Martin Redlicki, and Karue Sell all winning in straight sets.  The only positive for Tulsa was Mitchell Pritchard taking the 1st set at #5 singles.  

UCLA recap
Tulsa recap

FYI, the # beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of the current date of this preview/recap. For more details about UTR check out their website.


#16 UCLA 5, #26 Tulsa 0
Mar 03, 2015 at Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Tennis Center)

Doubles
1. #5 McDonald/Redlicki (UCLA) def. #33 Bautista/Espejo (TU) 6-0
2. Joseph Di Giulio/Sell (UCLA) vs. Matthew Kirby/Ram-Harel (TU) 3-2, unfinished
3. Mkrtchian/Rapp (UCLA) def. McCloskey/Pritchard (TU) 6-0
UCLA Wins Doubles Point

Singles
1. #3 Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA 14.87) def. #71 Or Ram-Harel (TU 13.24) 6-4, 6-0
2. #35 Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA 13.50) def. Alejandro Espejo (TU 13.67) 6-3, 6-2
3. Martin Redlicki (UCLA 14.23) def. Juan Matias Gonzalez (TU 13.44) 6-1, 6-3
4. Karue Sell (UCLA 14.03) def. Carlos Bautista (TU 12.71) 6-3, 6-2
5. Austin Rapp (UCLA 12.91) vs. Mitchell Pritchard (TU 12.51) 3-6, 5-3, DNF
6. Ryoto Tachi (UCLA 13.06) vs. Dylan McCloskey (TU 12.59) 6-3, 5-1, DNF

Match Notes
Tulsa 10-7; National ranking #26
UCLA 8-5; National ranking #16
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (3,1,2,4)

________________________________________________________

Waco, TX:  TCU came out fired up in doubles and went up an early break on all 3 courts and led 3-0 on 1, 3-0 on 2, and 3-1 on 3 however Baylor would turn the tide at #2 and #3 doubles and win 6 of the next 7 games on 2 and 5 of the next 6 games on 3 to take the doubles point.  Singles would start out just the opposite of doubles with Baylor getting the jump on TCU and going up multiple breaks on every court except #2 singles.  Baylor would take the opening set on every court except #2 but TCU would finally show some life early in the 2nd sets at 4, 5, and 6.  WhWhile Guillermo Nunez was able to hold on to his break lead and take the 2nd set at #4, both Facundo Lugones and Trevor Johnson would fail to consolidate their breaks and would both fade down the stretch and go down in straight sets to Mate Zsiga and Felipe Rios. Baylor's Max Tchoutakian would win in straight sets at #3 and in just over 2 hours Baylor had posted a 4-0 shutout of TCU.  All remaining matches were abandoned though both BU's Julian Lenz and TCU's Nick Chappell each served for the match at 1 and 2 but both were broken and would not get a second chance due to the clinch.  

TCU recap

"I thought it was the best that we played coming out of the gate in doubles, head coach David Roditi said. "We were up a break in every match and if we continue to come out the way we started in doubles, we will win that doubles point. Baylor deserves a lot of credit for the way they played and they just competed better than we did.

Baylor recap

"It was a great win for us. It was a good atmosphere with the crowd in this building. I feel great about how we played. Momentum is big in these dual-matches. We won doubles and Felipe (Rios) got off quick, so we are up 2-0 and that puts us in a good spot. It creates pressure on the other team and I think we rode that." - head coach Matt Knoll on the match

#5 Baylor 4, #13 TCU 0
Mar 03, 2015 at Waco, Texas (Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center)

Doubles competition
1. #20 Will Stein/Nick Chappell (TCU) def. #57 Tony Lupieri/Mate Zsiga (BU) 6-4
2. Diego Galeano/Julian Lenz (BU) def. Guillermo Nuez/Cameron Norrie (TCU) 6-4
3. Vince Schneider/Felipe Rios (BU) def. Facundo Lugones/Trevor Johnson (TCU) 6-4

Singles competition
1. #11 Julian Lenz (BU 14.69) vs. #28 Cameron Norrie (TCU 14.66) 6-2, 5-6 DNF
2. #48 Nick Chappell (TCU 13.81) vs. #23 Tony Lupieri (BU 14.32) 6-3, 5-6 DNF
3. #40 Max Tchoutakian (BU 14.22) def. Will Stein (TCU 13.28) 6-3, 6-2
4. Vince Schneider (BU 13.46) vs. Guillermo Nuez (TCU 13.53) 6-4, 3-6, 2-0 DNF
5. Mate Zsiga (BU 13.82) def. #110 Facundo Lugones (TCU 13.49) 6-0, 6-4
6. Felipe Rios (BU 13.62) def. Trevor Johnson (TCU 13.38) 6-0, 6-2


Match Notes
TCU 8-4, 0-1; National ranking #13
Baylor 10-2, 1-0; National ranking #5
Published in Blogs
Another day brings another big match for Illinois as the Illini will try to make it 2 Top 10 wins in as many days after making the 100 mile trek from Austin to College Station. What's still unknown is whether we'll see the Illini's #1 Farris Gosea but I'd have to say that I would be more than surprised if he was available for action today.

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. 

#4 Illinois (14-2) at #9 Texas A&M (8-2) - 1pm est/12pm central - Live Scoring

Projected Singles Lineup
1. #18 Jared Hiltzik (ILL 14.46) vs. #65 Jeremy Efferding (aTm 14.03)
2. #32 Tim Kopinski (ILL 14.15) vs. #71 Shane Vinsant (aTm 14.20)
3. #76 Aron Hiltzik (ILL 13.76) vs. #48 Harrison Adams (aTm 13.74)
4. #49 Aleks Vukic (ILL 14.19) vs. Arthur Rinderknech (aTm 14.15)
5. Toshiki Matsuya (ILL 13.11) vs. Jordi Arconada (aTm 13.54)
6. Blake Bazarnik (ILL 13.27) vs. #89 A.J. Catanzariti (aTm 13.97)

Projected Doubles Lineups
1. Jared Hiltzik/Tim Kopinski (ILL) vs. #9 Harrison Adams/Shane Vinsant (TAMU) 
2. Blake Bazarnik/Brian Page (ILL) vs. #26 Jeremy Efferding/Jordan Szabo (TAMU) 
3. Aron Hiltzik/Ross Guignon (ILL) vs. AJ Catanzariti/Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU)

#1 singles - #18 Jared Hiltzik is 12-1 on the year with 10 of those 12 wins coming at #2 singles but he's coming off a 6-1, 6-4 loss to #2 Soren Hess-Olesen which snapped his 12-match winning streak while #65 Jeremy Efferding is 7-1 (2-1 against ranked) but 3-0 playing at #1 and is coming off a match clinching 6-3, 6-4 win over Rhys Johnson. Efferding beat Hiltzik 7-6 in the 3rd back in October in the aTm Conference Challenge. Prediction:  Efferding in 2.

#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


Other interesting story-lines for Sunday:

Does Noah Rubin get his 1st big collegiate win? There will be a nice matchup at #1 singles in the Louisville/Wake Forest match with ITA #1 Sebastian Stiefelmeyer (14.74) taking on #63 Noah Rubin (14.73). Since the ACC schools are using regular scoring and playing all the matches out to a conclusion we should be guaranteed a result one way or another.  I like Wake Forest in the match and Rubin to pick up his 1st big win of his young collegiate career.  

Will Ohio State get caught looking ahead to Tuesday's match against Texas?  #10 Ohio State goes to #29 Tulsa as these teams will face each other for the second time in the last 45 days. Ohio State won the first encounter in Columbus during the ITA Kickoff Weekend by a 4-1 score but Tulsa has definitely improved since that match.  As long as Ohio State is focused on this match, and not its Tuesday match at Texas, they should be fine.  I think Tulsa will keep most of the courts reasonable close but Ohio State still wins.

Can the Tide express keep rolling along against Florida?  #66 Alabama has been playing some great tennis since it crammed 6 dual matches against Jackson State and Jacksonville State into one long day.  The Crimson Tide has wins over Ole Miss and Auburn in the last week and has seen some great play out of Korey Lovett at #1 singles with the Tide freshman having straight set wins over #59 Lukas Ollert and #23 Nik Scholtz.  However #18 Florida is the better team and should win this one in a 4-2 type of match.  

Can #68 Georgia Tech take the next step and get a big conference win against #24 Florida State?  The Ramblin' Wreck went on the road last week and beat both Clemson and Miami while Florida State got hammered on Friday by Wake Forest 7-0.  I think Georgia Tech has a really good shot to take out the Noles. 

Can #11 Vanderbilt win in Baton Rouge if Gonzales Austin doesn't play again?  I think they can but LSU will be licking its chops at the opportunity of picking up a Top 15 win.  


Follow them all at the below live scoring links.

Boston College at Notre Dame - 9:30am est - Live Scoring & Streaming
Texas Tech at Indiana - 10am est - Live Scoring
Miami at Duke - 12pm est - Live Scoring & Streaming - w subsc
Louisville at Wake Forest - 12pm est - Live Scoring & Streaming
Clemson at Virginia Tech - 1pm est - Live Scoring & Video
Illinois at Texas A&M -1pm est - Live Scoring
Michigan at TCU - 1pm est - Live Scoring
Pepperdine at Oklahoma State - 1pm est - Live Scoring
Vanderbilt at LSU - 1pm est - Live Scoring
Alabama at Florida - 1pm est - Live Scoring
San Diego at Rice - 1pm est - Live Scoring
Ohio State at Tulsa - 2pm est - Live Scoring & Streaming
Florida State at Georgia Tech - 2pm est - Live Scoring & Streaming
Mississippi State at Auburn - 2pm est - Live Scoring
Oregon at Boise State - 3pm est - Live Scoring
Ball State at Indiana - 3:30pm est - Live Scoring
Abilene Christian at Texas A&M - 5pm est - Live Scoring
Detroit at Notre Dame -5pm est - Live Scoring
New Orleans at LSU - 6pm est - Live Scoring

USF Spring Break Tournament 
Furman vs. #73 VCU - 9am - Furman Twitter
#25 Drake vs. #52 North Florida - 11am - UNF Twitter & Drake Twitter 
#48 Penn St vs. #63 Tulane - 12pm - Penn St Twitter & Tulane Twitter
#20 South Florida vs. UNC Wilmington - 3pm - Live Scoring & USF Twitter & UNCW Twitter


Published in Blogs
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