Friday afternoon's Battle for LA between UCLA and USC went down to the wire, as many of these encounters do, and in the end it was the No. 13 Bruins prevailing with a close as it gets 4-3 win over the No. 9 Trojans. UCLA jumped out to the early 1-0 lead after a 6-4 win at No. 1 doubles and a 6-3 win at No. 2. Each team claimed three opening sets in singles and four of the six matches would finish in straight sets. USC took a 3-2 lead after getting straight set wins from Brandon Holt, Laurens Verboven, and Mor Bullis at No. 1, No. 3, and No. 6 while Keegan Smith won in straights at No. 2 for UCLA.
UCLA tied it up at 3-3 after Ben Goldberg knocked off Logan Smith 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 at No. 5 which meant the decider would come at No. 4 between UCLA freshman Patrick Zahraj and USC junior Riley Smith. Zahraj won the opening set in a tiebreak 7-4 while Smith claimed the second set 7-5. Smith led 4-2 in the third set before Zahraj held, broke, and held to take a 5-4 lead. After an exchange of holds, Smith fought off a match point by holding on the no-ad point to send it to a match-deciding tiebreak. Zahraj jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the tiebreak but Smith took the next four to go up 5-4. Zahraj got the mini-break back to even it at 5-5 before Smith retook the lead at 6-5. Zahraj won both points on his serve to go up 7-6 and then after Smith tied it at 7-7 Zahraj went up 8-7. Zahraj closed it out on the next point to give UCLA the win.
The big match during the week took place in Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon as eighth-ranked UCLA hosted ninth-ranked Pepperdine. The Bruins struck first by taking the doubles point with wins at No. 2 and No. 3 but Pepperdine quickly tied it up with a 6-0, 6-0 win by Anastasia Iamachkine at No. 6. UCLA retook the lead with a straight set win by Elysia Bolton at No. 2 but Pepperdine added straight set wins by Jessica Failla and Daria Kuczer at No. 3 and No. 4 to go in front 3-2. UCLA's Jada Hart tied the match at 3-3 with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 1 but Pepperdine's Dzina Milovanovic would win the decider at No. 5 singles 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
In men's action on Wednesday, No. 11 North Carolina defeated ACC rival No. 21 NC State 4-0. The Tar Heels took the doubles point and then added straight set wins in singles from William Blumberg, Brian Cernoch, and Bo Boyden at No. 1, No. 3, and No. 5.
Sunday was a big day for the University of Texas with the men's team edging #6 Baylor 4-3 at home in front of a national television audience on the Longhorn Network while the women's team went on the road to Stillwater and defeated #9 Oklahoma State 5-2.
The Texas men found themselves down 1-0 after dropping the doubles point at 1 and 2 but straight set wins in singles from Christian Sigsgaard, Yuya Ito, and Rodrigo Banzer put them in front 3-2. UT senior Colin Markes clinched the win at No. 5 with a 2-6, 6-0, 6-1 win over Sven Lah while BU's Will Little closed out the night at No. 4 with a win over Harrison Scott to make the final 4-3.
The Texas women were able to get the early momentum at Oklahoma State after winning the doubles decider at No. 2 in a tiebreak 8-6. In singles, Texas took four of six opening sets but the first two to finish were at No. 4 and No. 5 with Oklahoma State's Marina Guinart and Sofia Blanco winning 6-2, 6-0 and 6-3, 6-3. UT's Katie Poluta tied it up at 2-2 with a straight set win at No. 6 and Bianca Turati made it 3-2 with a 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 1. Petra Granic put the Horns over the top with a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (2) at No. 3 while Anna Turati followed suit with a 6-4, 7-6 win at No. 2.
The USC men finished off a weekend sweep in the Bay Area by following up a 4-2 win over #40 Cal with a 4-1 win over #10 Stanford. The Trojans won a close doubles point with Brandon Holt and Riley Smith winning 7-5 at No. 1 while Daniel Cukierman and Tanner Smith prevailed 7-6(3) at No. 3. Stanford tied it up at 1-1 with a 6-4, 6-3 win from Timothy Sah at No. 6 but USC was in control everywhere else and would add straight set wins from Daniel Cukierman, Laurens Verboven, and Riley Smith at No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 with Verboven getting the clinch.
The Stanford women looked like they were going to be upset at #16 USC but senior Caroline Lampl refused to lose and gutted out a third set tiebreak to secure the 4-3 Cardinal win. With the score even at 3-3, USC's Rianna Valdes served for the match on two occasions at 5-4 and 6-5 but she wouldn't come close to a match point on either occasion so off to a tiebreak they went. The tiebreak was tied at 3-3 at the changeover but Lampl would take the next 3 points to go ahead 6-3 and would go on to take it 7-4. The win was Lampl's 15th straight and it came on a day when the Cardinal needed it with Emily Arbuthnott out of the singles lineup.
Friday was a stacked day with nine matchups between top 25 teams with six of those coming on the women's side. The highest profile match on the men's side took place in Waco with sixth-ranked Baylor hosting ninth-ranked TCU. The Bears claimed the doubles point with a 6-4 win at No. 1 and a 7-6(5) win at No. 3 and then in singles each team won three opening sets. Only two of the six matches would finish in straight sets with Baylor's Sven Lah winning 6-3, 6-3 at No. 5 while TCU's Alex Rybakov won 7-5, 6-3 at No. 1.
Baylor's Will Little put the Bears up 3-1 with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 4 and Jimmy Bendeck clinched at No. 6 with a 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 win. The other two matches were played out with Baylor's Johannes Schretter winning at No. 2 while TCU's Reese Stalder won at No. 3.
Baylor Head coach Brian Boland on the win…
"We enjoyed it. It was a tremendous crowd, and everyone came out and supported a great college tennis match and it was everything (and) more than we thought it would be. I'm just happy for the guys. They really prepared well all week, and now we have to get ready to play Texas, so we do not have a lot of time. But a tribute to our leaders, they played really hard tonight and did a really good job preparing this week, along with the rest of the team. Once again, doubles is pivotal in terms of the momentum, especially in matches that are as competitive as this one. And congratulations to TCU, they played a great match, and I look forward to another opportunity to play them again down the road. The Big 12 is a big challenge, and now we have another top-five team in front of us on Sunday."
Wake Forest defeated North Carolina for the second time in the last five weeks with a 5-2 victory at home in Winston-Salem. North Carolina got off to a promising start after taking the doubles point and adding a straight set win from Mac Kiger at No. 6 but Wake tied it up at 2-2 with straight set wins from Petros Chrysochos and Rrezart Cungu at No. 2 and No. 5. The three remaining matches went three sets with Wake taking them all. Borna Gojo won 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 1 to make it 3-2, Bar Botzer got the clincher with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 3, and to close out the day Melios Efstathiou won 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-4 at No. 4.
The Winston-Salem Journal has a good recap of the match with quotes from Tony Bresky, Sam Paul, Borna Gojo, and Bar Botzer so make sure you give it a read.
Wake Forest now has a two game lead in the ACC over North Carolina and Virginia while Miami is just one game back however the Canes still have to play both Wake and UVA.
After a pretty ho-hum Saturday, Sunday brought us several good matches with a few upsets and a few near-upsets. #15/#11 USC pulled off the biggest upset of the day by going to Austin and defeating #3/#1 Texas 4-2. The Trojans grabbed the early lead with doubles wins at No. 2 and No. 3 and then the teams split opening sets in singles. All matches that finished did so in straight sets with USC getting wins from Brandon Holt, Riley Smith, and Mor Bulis at 1, 5, and 6 while Texas picked up wins from Yuya Ito and Harrison Scott at 2 and 4 while Leo Telles led 6-4, 4-4 on 3.
#8/#12 Mississippi State extended its home winning streak to 24 with a late rally to get past #22/#19 Georgia 4-3. Georgia claimed the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 3 but Mississippi State fought back in singles with four opening sets. Strahinja Rakic and Nuno Borges rolled to straight set wins at No. 4 and No. 1 to make it 2-1 but Georgia's Trent Bryde would tie it at 2-2 with a straight set win at No. 3. Georgia senior Walker Duncan made it 3-2 with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 win at No. 6 and it looked like match at No. 4 was all but over with Georgia freshman Philip Henning serving up 4-6, 6-2, 5-2 (30/0) against MSU senior Trevor Foshey. However on the 30/0 point Henning would go down on the baseline with what appeared to be a pretty severe ankle sprain.
Henning did his best to continue after a lengthy medical timeout but he could barely put any weight on his injured ankle and Foshey quickly won point after point. With the outcome of that match all but certain the focus went to No. 2 where MSU junior Giovanni Oradini led Georgia senior Jan Zielinski 5-4 in the third. Oradini had jumped out to a 4-1 lead early in the set but Zielinski managed to get it back on serve at 4-4. After Oradini held for 5-4 he'd get the pivotal break to close it out 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 to make it 3-3. Moments later Foshey would close out Henning 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 to extend the home winning streak to 25. Unlike most match clinchers there was no celebration in this one with Foshey and Henning hugging at the net while the teams exchanged handshakes.
Friday brought us seven matchups between top 25 teams with five taking place on the men's side and two on the women's side. The only top 10 matchup took place in Nashville with fifth-ranked Vanderbilt hosting sixth-ranked South Carolina. The Gamecocks hadn't beaten Vandy in Nashville since 2005 but the 14 year drought came to end thanks to a few key points in doubles and then getting all around strong play throughout the singles lineup.
South Carolina grabbed the early lead after taking the doubles point with a 6-1 win at No. 1 and a 7-6(4) win at No. 2. In singles, SC claimed four opening sets and they'd manage to close three out in straight sets. Ingrid Gamarra Martins was first off the court with a 7-5, 6-4 win at No. 1 and Kennedy Wicker followed with a 6-2, 7-6 win at No. 6. While the matches at No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 were deep in the third set, SC senior Paige Cline would close out her match at No. 2 in straight sets with a 6-2, 7-6(4) win.
Wednesday had a pretty solid schedule on the men's side with five matches between top 50 teams including a pair between top 15 teams. Fourth-ranked Florida improved to 13-2 with a dominating 6-1 win at home over #13/#16 Illinois. The Gators grabbed the early lead with 6-3 wins at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles and then in singles they won five opening sets. Sam Riffice, Andy Andrade, Johannes Ingildsen, and McClain Kessler won in straight sets at 2, 3, 4, and 5 while Duarte Vale came back from a set down to win in three sets at 6. Illinois picked up its lone point from Aleks Kovacevic who came back from a set down to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 1 singles over Oliver Crawford.
The other top 15 matchup between #10/#7 TCU and #12/#10 Columbia saw TCU win a close doubles point and then take all six opening sets in singles before Columbia fought back to force third sets on five courts. The Horned Frogs claimed the doubles point by winning the decider at No. 1 in a tiebreak (7-5) and senior Alex Rybakov rolled to a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 1 over #16 Jack Lin. Columbia cut the deficit to 2-1 after a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win by Austen Huang at No. 6 but TCU would close it out with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win by Reese Stalder at No. 3 and a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win by Alastair Gray at No. 2. The other two matches went unfinished with TCU a game away from a win at No. 4 while Columbia was a game away at No. 5.
How is seeding done at most conferences?
There are some conferences that play a round robin format during the regular season and some that do not. The ones that do not play a full round robin format usually seed the conference tournament based off the most recent ITA rankings. The next thing you're probably wondering is what if there aren't any teams ranked in the ITA top 50 - then what? The conferences and schools are able to see the unpublished rankings so that way they can seed accordingly.
Pac-12 Conference - Ojai, Ca - April 24-27
#9 Washington State def. #8 Colorado 4-0
#1 Stanford def. #9 Washington State 4-0
#1 Stanford def. #4 USC 4-0
Thursday (First Round)
#9 Purdue def. #8 Michigan State 4-2
#10 Iowa def. #7 Indiana 4-2
#1 Michigan vs. #9 Purdue 4-0
#5 Northwestern def. #4 Ohio State 4-0
#2 Wisconsin def. #10 Iowa 4-3
#3 Illinois def. #6 Minnesota 4-0
#1 Michigan def. #5 Northwestern 4-1
#1 Michigan def. #3 Illinois 4-1
Wednesday (First Round)
#4 Duquesne def. #13 St. Bonaventure 4-0
#5 Davidson def. #12 Saint Joseph's 4-1
#9 Saint Louis def. #8 Rhode Island 4-3
#3 Massachusetts def. #14 La Salle 4-0
#6 Richmond def. #11 Dayton 4-0
#7 Fordham def. #10 George Mason 4-0
No. 5 Southern Utah def. No. 4 Eastern Washington 4-3
No. 1 Northern Arizona def. #5 Southern Utah 4-0
No. 2 Idaho def. #3 Weber State 4-3
#1 Northern Arizona def. #2 Idaho 4-0
Big West Conference - Indian Wells, CA - April 25-28
No. 1 UC Santa Barbara def. #9 UC Riverside 5-0
No. 4 Hawai'i def. No. 5 UC Davis 4-0
No. 3 Long Beach State def. No. 6 Cal Poly 4-0
No. 2 Cal State Fullerton def. No. 7 CSUN 4-3
#4 Hawai'i def. #1 UC Santa Barbara 4-3
#3 Long Beach State def. #4 Hawai'i 4-3
Horizon League - West Lafayette, IN - April 26-28
No. 5 Wright State def. No. 4 Milwaukee 4-2
No. 1 UIC def. #4 Wright State 4-1
#1 Illinois Chicago def. #2 Cleveland State 4-0
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) - West Windsor, NJ - April 27-28
No. 1 Quinnipiac def. No. 4 Siena 4-1
No. 2 Fairfield def. No. 3 Marist 4-1
Mid Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) - Norfolk, VA - April 25-27
South No. 1 South Carolina State def. North No. 4 Coppin State 4-0
South No. 2 Florida A&M def. North No. 3 Delaware State 4-0
South No. 3 North Carolina Central def. North No. 2 Howard 4-1
Mid-American Conference (MAC) - Buffalo, NY - April 26-28
No. 4 Ball State def. No. 5 Toledo 4-1
No. 6 Buffalo def. No. 3 Western Michigan 5-0
#1 Miami OH def. #4 Ball State 4-0
Mountain West Conference - San Diego, CA - April 24-27
#7 Utah State def. #10 Boise State 4-3
#6 Colorado State def. #11 Nevada 4-1
#1 UNLV def. #8 San Jose State 4-0
#2 Air Force def. #7 Utah State 4-1
#3 San Diego State def. #6 Colorado State 4-2
#1 UNLV def. #5 Wyoming 4-0
#1 UNLV def. #3 San Diego State 4-0
No. 2 Illinois St. def. No. 7 Valparaiso 4-0
No. 3 Bradley def. No. 6 UNI 4-0
Ohio Valley - Nashville, TN (April 26-28)
#6 UT Martin def. #3 Murray State 4-3
#5 Southeast Missouri def. #4 Belmont 4-1
#1 Austin Peay def. #5 Southeast Missouri 4-0
No. 4 Bucknell def. No. 5 Loyola Maryland 4-0
No. 3 Army West Point def. No. 6 Lehigh 4-0
No. 2 Navy def. No. 7 Colgate 4-0
Southland Conference - Corpus Christi, TX - April 25-27
No. 2 Northwestern State def. No. 7 New Orleans 4-1
No. 1 Abilene Christian def. No. 8 Lamar 4-0
No. 4 Sam Houston State def. No. 5 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 4-2
#3 Central Arkansas def. #4 Sam Houston State 4-2
#1 Denver def. #3 Omaha 4-0
West Coast Conference - Claremont, CA - April 25-27
#1 Pepperdine def. #3 Gonzaga 4-1
#4 UT Rio Grande Valley def. #5 Chicago State 4-1
#3 Kansas City def. #6 Seattle 4-`
#2 New Mexico State def. #1 Grand Canyon 4-3
Week of April 15th-21st
#11 Arkansas def. #14 Missouri 4-1
#9 Syracuse def. #8 Georgia Tech 4-3
#1 North Carolina def. #9 Syracuse 4-0
#1 North Carolina def.. #5 Miami FL 4-0
#1 North Carolina def. #2 Duke 4-2
Thursday (First Round)
#8 Baylor def. #9 Iowa State 4-0
Big South - Radford, VA (April 16-19)
Tuesday (First Round):
Wednesday (First Round)
#5 Wichita State def. #12 UConn 4-0
#6 SMU def. #11 Tulane 4-2
#10 Cincinnati def. #7 ECU 4-1
#1 UCF def. #2 South Florida 4-0
Atlantic Sun - DeLand, FL (April 18-20)
#4 Florida Gulf Coast def. #5 Stetson 4-0
#4 Florida Gulf Coast def. #1 Liberty 4-3
#7 Creighton def. #10 Providence 4-0
#2 DePaul def. #7 Creighton 4-0
#6 Villanova def. #3 Marquette 4-3
#4 St. John’s def. #5 Seton Hall 4-0
#2 DePaul def. #1 Xavier 4-3
Conference USA - Houston, TX (April 18-21)
#7 Middle Tennessee def. #10 LA Tech 4-1
#4 FIU def. #13 UTEP 4-1
#3 Florida Atlantic def. #14 WKU 4-0
#5 North Texas def. #12 UAB 4-0
#6 Charlotte def. #11 Marshall 4-0
#2 Rice def. #1 Old Dominion 4-2
Colonial Athletic Association - Elon, NC (April 17-20)
Northeast Conference - West Windsor, NJ (April 18-20)
#1 LIU Brooklyn def. #8 St. Francis Brooklyn 4-0
#3 Bryant def. #6 Wagner 5-0
#5 Samford def. #4 UNCG 4-1
#2 ETSU def. No. 7 Western Carolina 5-0
#3 Wofford def. No. 6 Mercer 4-0
#1 Furman def. #2 ETSU 4-2
Sun Belt - Peachtree City, GA - April 18-21
#2 South Alabama def. #7 Troy 4-0
#4 UT Arlington def. #5 Louisiana-Monroe 4-1
#8 Georgia Southern def. #1 Appalachian State 4-3
#2 South Alabama def. #6 Georgia State 4-1
Week of April 8th-14th
#1 Alabama State def. #6 Jackson State 4-3