A pair of top 20 matches highlighted the day on the men's side while there was a top 7 showdown on the women's side.
In Winston Salem, second-ranked Wake Forest avenged an early season loss to third-ranked Virginia with a convincing 6-1 win. The Demon Deacons opened things up by taking the doubles point with a 6-4 win at No. 3 and a 7-5 win at No. 3. Wake would add five opening sets in singles, with three of them coming in tiebreaks, and they'd close four of those out in straight sets with freshman Melios Efstathiou clinching at No. 4 with a 7-6, 6-3 win. Full results available at this link.
#6 Baylor won the BNP Paribas Collegiate Challenge in Indian Wells with a 4-2 win over #16 USC. The Bears won the doubles point and added straight set wins from Matias Soto, Sven Lah, and Jimmy Bendeck at 2, 5, and 6 while USC got straight set wins from Brandon Holt and Riley Smith at 1 and 4. The match at No. 3 went unfinished with USC's Laurens Verboven leading 5-3 in the third.
The second-ranked Georgia women improved to 13-0 and 5-0 in the SEC after picking up a nice 4-2 win on the road over seventh-ranked South Carolina. Georgia dropped the doubles point for the first time since the National Team Indoors and then the teams split opening sets in singles. Georgia picked up straight set wins from Lourdes Carle and Vivian Wolff at No. 3 and No. 4 while South Carolina's Paige Cline won in straight sets at No. 2.
Georgia's Elena Christofi gave the Dawgs its first lead of the match with a 0-6, 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 5 and Meg Kowalski would clinch at No. 6 with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 win. The match at No 1 went unfinished at 5-5 in the third after SC's Ingrid Gamarra Martins reeled off four straight games from 1-5 down.
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.
Friday was a busy, busy day of college tennis action with three top 16 showdowns on the women's side (all won by the higher ranked team and two of them not close at all), a top five women's team going down, and three top 20 teams going down by lower ranked teams on the men's side.
We'll start off in Atlanta where unranked Georgia Tech (6-6) was hosting #7/#4 North Carolina (8-2). The Yellow Jackets hadn't tasted pay dirt against the Tar Heels since 2012 and with GT entering the match having lost four of its last five there weren''t many that would have predicted a close match let alone an upset - but that's exactly what happened. UNC rolled through the doubles point with lopsided wins at No. 1 and No. 2 but GT turned it around in singles and claimed four opening sets.
GT sophomore Brandon Freestone evened the match at 1-1 with a 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 6 but UNC freshman Brian Cernoch put the Heels back in front with a 6-1, 6-2 at No. 4. UNC junior William Blumberg made it 3-1 with a 7-6, 6-2 win at No. 1 but that'd be the last point they'd be able to muster.
GT senior Phillip Gresk upset ITA #40 Ben Sigouin 7-6, 6-2 at No. 2 and fellow senior Andrew Li won 6-4, 7-6 at No. 3. The deciding match at No. 5 came down to a third set between GT freshman Pablo Schelcher and UNC senior Bo Boyden. Schelcher was only playing his third dual-match of the season (last match came back on Feb 1 which was a lopsided loss against Auburn) while Boyden entered with a 9-1 record. Despite the difference in experience it'd be the freshman that would pull through 6-3 in the third to give the Jackets a stunning upset win.
After a rough few days in Austin there was reason to smile on Thursday night after the fourth-ranked Longhorns avenged their only loss of the year by knocking off top-ranked Ohio State 4-1. Coming into the match the Buckeyes were a perfect 17-0 in doubles but for the second match in a row they'd be without the service of their top player JJ Wolf who was in Canada playing an ATP Challenger event. A large crowd in the stands and a national television audience on the Longhorn Network saw the Longhorns take the early lead after winning the doubles point with a 6-3 win at No. 3 and a 7-6(4) win by Leo Telles and Colin Markes at No. 2.
Each team would take three opening sets in singles with Texas winning both of the sets that went to a tiebreak. Yuya Ito put the Horns up 2-0 with a 6-0, 6-3 win at No. 2 but James Trotter, who was playing in just his fourth dual-match of the season, put the Buckeyes on the board with a 6-2, 7-5 win at No. 5 which snapped Colin Markes's 14-match winning streak.
Rodrigo Banzer made it 3-1 after a 7-6, 6-2 win at No. 6. Banzer came back from a 3-0 deficit in the opening set and after taking the tiebreak he sprinted out to a 4-1 lead.
The clinching point would come about 30 minutes later with Leo Telles coming back from a set down to defeat Martin Joyce 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 3.
The other matches were abandoned with Texas up a break on 1 and up a set on 4. Texas had a really good recap of the match so make sure you give it a read.
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.
While there were several matches played on Tuesday the big story was the names released in a federal investigation into a college admissions scheme where coaches were taking payments to label prospective applicants as athletes to increase their chances of getting accepting. University of Texas head coach Michael Center was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud after reportedly accepting approximately $100,000 to designate a 2015 applicant as a tennis recruit. The unnamed applicant was accepted at Texas and subsequently enrolled in school but never played tennis. Center was placed on administrative leave by the school with associate head coach Bruce Berque named interim head coach. The charges against Center are linked here and and an article from Hook'Em is linked here. Center appeared in court on Tuesday and plead not guilty and was released on a $50,000 bond.
Current Rhode Island women's head coach Gordon Ernst, who was hired in August after serving as head coach at Georgetown for 12 years before departing unexpectedly, was charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering. Ernst is reported to have accepted approximately $2.7M in bribes to help facilitate the acceptance of multiple applicants over a six year period at Georgetown. Ernst has been placed on administrative leave according to this statement from Rhode Island. The full details of Ernst's case are at this link. The school website doesn't list any other coaches so I'm not sure who has taken over in the interim. Ernst appeared in court on Tuesday and was released on a $200,000 bond.
Full details on the entire case and all the charges brought against multiple individuals are linked here and there's plenty of other info out there all over the internet.
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
#8 Utah def. #9 Oregon 4-1
Thursday (First Round)
#8 Minnesota def. #9 Wisconsin 4-0
#1 Ohio State def. #8 Minnesota 4-0
#1 Ohio State def. #4 Michigan 4-2
#1 Ohio State def. #2 Illinois 4-1
Thursday (First Round)
#8 Duquesne def. #9 Saint Joseph's 4-1
#5 George Washington def. #12 St. Bonaventure 4-0
#11 La Salle def. #6 George Mason 4-2
#7 Fordham def. #10 Saint Louis 4-0
#4 Dayton def. #5 George Washington 4-1
#3 Davidson def. #11 LaSalle 4-0
#2 Richmond def. #7 Fordham 4-1
No. 4 Portland State def. No. 5 Montana 4-2
#4 Portland State def. No. 2 Southern Utah 4-3
Big West Conference - Indian Wells, CA - April 25-28
No. 3 UC Irvine def. No. 6 Hawai'i 4-1
No. 4 UC Davis def. No. 5 UC Riverside 4-1
No. 1 UC Santa Barbara def. #4 UC Davis 4-0
No. 2 Cal Poly def. #3 UC Irvine 4-2
#1 UC Santa Barbara def. #2 Cal Poly 4-0
Horizon League - West Lafayette, IN - April 26-28
Mid Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) - Norfolk, VA - April 25-27
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) - West Windsor, NJ - April 27-28
#1 Monmouth def. #4 Fairfield 4-0
#3 Quinnipiac def. #2 Marist 4-1
#1 Monmouth def. #3 Quinnipiac 4-0
Mountain West Conference - Fresno, CA - April 25-27
#1 New Mexico def. #8 Air Force 4-0
#4 San Diego State def. #5 UNLV 4-1
#2 Utah State def. #7 Boise State 4-0
#3 Fresno State def. #6 Nevada 4-0
#4 San Diego State def. #1 New Mexico 4-3
#3 Fresno State def. #4 San Diego State 4-2
Ohio Valley - Nashville, TN - April 26-28
#3 Jacksonville State def. #6 Tennessee State 4-0
#5 Eastern Illinois def. #4 Austin Peay 4-2
#1 Tennessee Tech def. #5 Eastern Illinois 4-0
Southland Conference - Corpus Christi, TX - April 26-27
#1 Abilene Christian def. #4 Nicholls 4-0
#2 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi def. #3 Incarnate Word 4-2
#2 Texas A&M Corpus Christi def. #1 Abilene Christian 4-3
West Coast Conference - Claremont, CA - April 25-27
#4 LMU def. #5 Pepperdine 4-2
#1 San Diego def. #6 Santa Clara 4-1
#4 Chicago State def. #5 UT Rio Grande Valley 4-2
#1 Grand Canyon def. #4 Chicago State 4-0
Week of April 15th-21st (14)
#12 Arkansas def. #13 Auburn 4-1
#2 Mississippi State def. #6 South Carolina 4-2
#9 Notre Dame def. #8 Virginia Tech 4-0
#1 Wake Forest def. #9 Notre Dame 4-3
#1 Wake Forest def. #2 Virginia 4-2
Thursday (First Round)
#7 Temple def. #10 UConn 4-0
#9 SMU def, #8 East Carolina 4-0
Atlantic Sun - DeLand, FL (Stetson) - April 18 - 20
#4 Kennesaw State def. #5 Stetson 4-2
#1 Florida Gulf Coast def. #4 Kennesaw State 4-0
#2 Butler def. #7 Villanova 4-2
#3 Marquette def. #6 Georgetown 5-1
#4 DePaul def. #5 Creighton 4-1
Big South - Radford, VA (Radford) - April 17-20
#1 Gardner-Webb def. #8 USC Upstate 4-0
#5 Radford def. #4 Presbyterian 4-1
#2 Campbell def. #7 Winthrop 4-1
#3 UNC Asheville def. #6 Longwood 4-3
#5 Radford def. #1 Gardner-Webb 4-3
#2 Campbell def. #3 UNC Asheville 4-0
#5 Rice def. #4 Charlotte 4-0
#2 Old Dominion def. #7 Southern Miss 4-0
#3 Middle Tennessee def. #6 UTSA 4-3
Colonial Athletic Association - Elon, NC - April 18 - 20
#4 James Madison def. #5 Charleston 4-2
#2 Elon def. #7 Hofstra 4-0
#3 William & Mary def. #6 Drexel 4-3
#2 Elon def. #3 William & Mary 4-2
Mid-American Conference (MAC) - Kalamazoo, MI - April 19-21
#1 Western Michigan def. #5 Ball State 4-0
Northeast Conference - West Windsor, NJ - April 18-20
#3 Fairleigh Dickinson def. #6 St. Francis Brooklyn 4-0
#5 Mount St. Mary's def. #4 Sacred Heart 4-2
#5 Boston University def. #4 Bucknell 4-2
#3 Lehigh def. #6 Colgate 4-1
#2 Army West Point def. #7 Loyola Maryland 4-0
#4 Wofford def. #5 Samford 4-3
#2 Furman def. #7 UNCG 4-0
#6 Mercer def. #3 Chattanooga 4-1
#2 Furman def. #6 Mercer 4-0
#1 ETSU def. #2 Furman 4-2
Sun Belt - Peachtree City, GA - April 18-21
#3 Coastal Carolina def. #6 Georgia Southern 4-3
#2 South Alabama def. #1 Georgia State 4-1
Week of April 8th-14th (1)
#4 Prairie View A&M def. #6 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 4-0
#3 Jackson State def. #5 Alcorn State 4-2
#1 Alabama State def. #4 Prairie View A&M 4-0
Top-ranked Ohio State suffered its first loss of the year on Monday night falling 4-3 to #28/#20 Texas A&M in a match that wasn't as close as the final score. The Buckeyes, who were playing without JJ Wolf (Drummondville Challenger), took the early 1-0 lead after 6-4 wins at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles but the Aggies stormed back in singles taking five opening sets. A&M freshman Noah Schachter tied the match at 1-1 with a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 5 over Tim Seibert who was playing in just his third dual-match of the year and first against a Power 5 opponent. A&M took the lead with a 6-2, 7-6 win by Hady Habib at No. 2 and Valentin Vacherot put them a point away after a 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 win at No. 3.
A&M sophomore Barnaby Smith clinched the upset with a 7-6, 6-3 win at No. 4. The final two matches were played out with Ohio State's John McNally winning 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 at No. 1 while Hunter Tubert won 6-7, 7-6, 10-4 at No. 6.
Per the Texas A&M recap it was the just the second time in school history that the Ags had defeated a top ranked opponent with the other coming in 2015 against Oklahoma.
Wolf won his opening round match in Canada over former Cal Bear Andre Goransson and will meet former Virginia Cavalier Thai-Son Kwiatkowski in the second round on Tuesday. Ohio State's next match is set for Thursday in Austin against Texas so if Wolf were to beat Kwiatkowski and then the winner of Yannick Maden (Clemson '13) and Dennis Novikov (UCLA '13) he'd probably miss it.
Sunday was a day of near upsets with a pair of top 5 men's teams narrowly avoiding a big loss on the road. Second-ranked Wake Forest, who was playing without Borna Gojo (playing Canada Challenger) got all it wanted and more from #49 UCF.
The Knights took the early lead with 6-2 wins at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles and then the teams split opening sets in singles. Wake senior and ITA #1 Petros Chrysochos evened the match at 1-1 with a straight set win at No. 1 and freshman Siddhant Banthia put the Deacs ahead with a straight set win at No. 6. UCF freshman Trey Hilderbrand tied it back up with a straight set win at No. 5 but Wake freshman Melios Efstathiou won a close 7-6, 7-5 match at No. 4. Both of the remaining matches went three sets with UCF freshman Bogdan Pavel finishing first with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 win at No. 3 which evened the match at 3-3. In the final match on court at No. 2, Wake sophomore Bar Botzer broke UCF sophomore Alan Rubio to go ahead 2-1 in the final frame and then he added one more break to clinch with a 6-7, 6-1, 6-3 win.
Saturday was a busy day across the Pac-12 with 8 of the 9 men's schools in action while there were 4 in action on the women's side. On the men's side #7/#6 Stanford and Cal finished off weekend sweeps of #21 Arizona and Arizona State. Stanford won a top 25 showdown over Arizona in convincing fashion with the Cardinal winning every completed set in singles. Cal came back from 2-0 down with four straight set wins in singles to defeat Arizona State 4-2.
#12/#21 Oregon overcame a slow start at home to defeat Washington 5-1. The Ducks dropped the doubles point but won a lot of close first sets and used that as a springboard to collect four straight set wins.
#19/#12 USC was playing without one of its top players, Daniel Cukierman, but managed to pull through on the road over #41 Utah 4-2. The Trojans jumped out to a 3-0 lead but Utah won the top two spots in straight sets to pull within 3-2. Both of the remaining matches went three sets and it'd be USC freshman Jack Sands clinching at No. 5 with a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 win while the match at No. 3 went unfinished with Utah junior Slava Shainyan leading 6-5.