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Saturday, May 23, 2015

NCAA Division I Team Indoor Recap, All-Tournament Teams, ITA Awards


Before the start of today's NCAA Division I singles and doubles quarterfinals, which most likely will be played indoors due to rain, I wanted to post a link to my Tennis Recruiting Network recap of the team championships.

Also, below are the All-Tournament teams and the ITA's national award winners.

MEN’S ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
No. 1 Doubles: Julian Lenz/Diego Galeano (BAYLOR)
No. 2 Doubles: Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Mac Styslinger (UVA)
No. 3 Doubles: Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA)
No. 1 Singles: Ryan Shane (VIRGINIA)
No. 2 Singles: Mitchell Frank (VIRGINIA)
No. 3 Singles: Collin Altamirano (VIRGINIA)
No. 4 Singles: Diego Galeano (BAYLOR)
No. 5 Singles: Spencer Papa (OKLAHOMA)
No. 6 Singles: Florin Bragusi (OKLAHOMA)
Most Outstanding Player: Mitchell Frank (VIRGINIA)

WOMEN’S ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
No. 1 Doubles: Lauren Herring/Ellen Perez (GEORGIA)
No. 2 Doubles: Catherine Harrison/Kyle McPhillips (UCLA)
No. 3 Doubles: Marie Casares/Frances Altick (VANDERBILT)
No. 1 Singles: Robin Anderson (UCLA)
No. 2 Singles: Astra Sharma (VANDERBILT)
No. 3 Singles: Jennifer Brady (UCLA)
No. 4 Singles: Courtney Colton (VANDERBILT)
No. 5 Singles: Hannah King (GEORGIA)
No. 6 Singles: Ashleigh Antal (VANDERBILT)
Most Outstanding Player: Astra Sharma (VANDERBILT)

Men's award winners:
Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year: David Roditi, Texas Christian University
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Howard Endelman, Columbia University
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Søren Hess-Olesen, University of Texas
ITA Rookie Player of the Year: Noah Rubin, Wake Forest University
ITA Player to Watch: Andrew Harris, University of Oklahoma
ITA Most Improved Senior of the Year: Jonny Wang, University of Southern California
ITA/Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award: Mitchell Frank, University of Virginia
ITA/Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sportsmanship & Leadership Award: Sebastian Stiefelmeyer, University of Louisville

Women's award winners:
Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year: Geoff Macdonald, Vanderbilt University
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Aleke Tsoubanos, Vanderbilt University
ITA Player to Watch: Stephanie Wagner, University of Miami (FL)
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Robin Anderson, UCLA
ITA Rookie Player of the Year: Brooke Austin, University of Florida         ITA Most Improved Senior of the Year: Julia Jones, University of Mississippi
Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship: Lindsey Kayati, Rutgers University
ITA/Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sportsmanship & Leadership Award: Lorraine Guillermo, Pepperdine University

Friday, May 22, 2015

Defending Champion Collins Reaches Women's Quarterfinals; Just Two Men's Seeds Remain in NCAA Division I Individual Championships

©Colette Lewis 2015--
Waco, Texas--

A trio of brief rain delays didn't derail defending champion Danielle Collins of Virginia, who will be joined in the NCAA women's singles quarterfinals by two other 2014 quarterfinalists: Jamie Loeb of North Carolina and Chanelle Van Nguyen of UCLA.

Collins, a No. 9 seed, defeated unseeded Jennifer Brady of UCLA 6-1, 7-5, coming from 5-2 down in the second set.  Collins had already made up two games of the deficit before an unanticipated shower caused a 10-minute interruption.

"I was down 5-4 when it started raining, so a lot of times people think, oh no, this is going to break my momentum," said Collins, a junior from St. Petersburg, Florida. "But I really felt like I could actually use it to break her momentum, with movement and the intensity of my shots and how well I was playing. I took advantage of the break, maintained my focus. Luckily it was smooth sailing from 2-5 down."

If any player in the draw was capable of disregarding Brady's WTA ranking of 209, it is Collins, who drew Simona Halep, then No. 2 in the world, as her first round opponent as a US Open wild card, and proceeded to win the first set in a tiebreaker.

"I heard somebody say Collins has to play Brady and that's going to be a really good match, she's 200 in the world," said Collins, who has now won 16 matches in a row. "Well, I thought, I took a set off the No. 2 player in the world. I used [the US Open match] as a really good learning experience and a big confidence booster. I've had a lot of matches this season when I've played some really tough girls and have been in situations where I've been down, lost first sets, or been down 5-1 in a second set and I've been able to come back. I just use all of that to give me confidence to know that I can do it."

Next up for Collins is 2014 quarterfinalist and seventh seed Loeb, who defeated Joana Eidukonyte of Clemson, a No. 9 seed, 6-3, 6-1 Friday. Loeb and Collins play in the same conference, but because Collins plays No. 2 and Loeb No. 1, they haven't met since last September, when Loeb beat Collins 6-3, 6-1 in the semifinals of the US Open Collegiate Invitational.

That is the only all-American match in the quarterfinals.  Top seed Robin Anderson of UCLA, who beat Sabrina Santamaria of Southern Cal 6-1, 6-2 Friday, will play No. 9 seed Stephanie Wagner of Miami. Wagner won a tough battle with unseeded Saska Gavrilovska of Texas A&M 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

Wagner's teammate Sinead Lohan, the ACC Rookie of the Year, advanced to play another freshman, Josie Kuhlman of Florida, a No. 9 seed.  Lohan defeated unseeded Natalie Beazant of Rice 7-5, 6-1, while Kuhlman recorded a 6-4, 6-1 victory over No. 4 seed Maegan Manasse of Cal.

Unseeded Chanelle Van Nguyen of UCLA, a quarterfinalist in 2014, returned to the final eight with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Ema Burgic of Baylor. Van Nguyen will face No. 2 seed Carol Zhao of Stanford, who has lost just six games in three matches.  On Friday, Zhao defeated Zsofi Susanyi of Cal 6-2 6-0.

In contrast to the six seeds remaining in the women's quarterfinals, only two advanced to the men's final eight: No. 7 seed Noah Rubin of Wake Forest and No. 8 seed Ryan Shane of Virginia.



Rubin defeated Yannick Hanfmann of Southern Cal, a No. 9 seed, 6-2, 6-4, although he saw his chance for a simple win slip away in the third game of the second set. Already down 2-0, Hanfmann saved four break points, went on to break Rubin in the next game and held for a 3-2 lead. Serving at 3-4, Rubin saved two break points, held and broke to find himself up 5-4.

"A couple of rain delays, fought a couple points and it switched in the blink of a moment," said the freshman from New York. "I scraped a couple of balls down, he got a little upset, then the last game wasn't even a game."

After missing a forehand at 30-40, Hanfmann slammed a ball back and the fence and it ricocheted back to Rubin's side of the court. Hanfmann was given a point penalty for ball abuse, so Rubin was up 15-0 when the game started.

"I hate saying this, but he tanked a couple points and that was it," Rubin said of the end of the match. "He's a great player, and I'm happy to be here. He's had good results--at Indian Wells beating Mathieu--he's beat some top 100 players so it was a good match."


Rubin will play Jared Hiltzik of Illinois, who defeated Lloyd Glasspool of Texas 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-3.

Hiltzik said the rain delays, the second of which lasted more than half an hour, complicated the process, but didn't ultimately hurt him.

"After the first rain delay I regrouped a lot, started to figure things out and played a lot better towards the end of that second set," said the junior from Wilmette, Illinois.

In the third set, Hiltzik got the break for a 4-2 lead, held for 5-2, and was up 40-0 serving for the match.  But a backhand error, a double fault and a forehand winner by Glasspool and all three match points had evaporated.  A good first serve gave Hiltzik his fourth match point, and after a long rally, he converted with an inside out backhand winner.

"In the 8s, 10s, 12s, the down the line backhand was my best shot," Hiltzik said. "I'm coming around to being a more complete player now, but I'll always have that shot."

Hiltzik and Rubin last played in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Easter Bowl ITF, with Rubin winning 7-5, 6-4.

In the other quarterfinal in the top half, Thai Kwiatkowski of Virginia will play Winston Lin of Columbia.  Kwiatkowski avenged his National Team Indoor loss to Tony Lupieri of Baylor 6-1, 6-1, while Lin defeated the highest remaining seed in the draw, No. 5 Sebastian Stiefelmeyer of Louisville, 7-5, 6-4.

Lin trailed 4-1 in the first set, but won four straight games, only to be broken serving for the set. He broke right back, and took his second opportunity to secure the opening set.  In the second set, up a break at 3-2, Lin was able to hold on to it, hitting three forehand winners in the final game, the last to close out the match.

"I was feeling it physically," said Lin, relieved he could close it out when he did. "The first set was probably the longest I've played this year and one of the toughest physically. I stepped in, tried to take a little time away from him and that helped me a lot. Otherwise, he doesn't miss, so the only way to win points was to actually win them. He didn't give me anything, so that was tough."

Lin, a senior who also earned All-American honors last year, missed his graduation ceremony, which was the day of the first round of the team competition, but said it was for "a good reason."

After he plays his final match for Columbia, Lin is planning to compete professionally, which is not always the career path for an Ivy graduate.

"I'm going to play after college, for a couple of years," said the Williamsville, New York resident. "It's been my goal for a while, so I've got to try it out. I've got a lot of tennis left, but now I just want to keep representing Columbia."

The two international players are both on the bottom half, and both play Americans on Saturday.  TCU freshman Cameron Norrie of New Zealand defeated No. 9 seed Mikelis Libietis of Tennessee 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to advance to a contest against Quentin Monaghan of Notre Dame, also a No. 9 seed.

Monaghan served for the match against unseeded Jakob Sude of Oklahoma State at 6-2, 5-2, but was unable to get to match point. In his second attempt at 5-4, the junior from New Jersey went up 40-15, but a wild double fault--the second serve landing in the opposite serving box-- cost him the first one and an unforced forehand error the second. But on his third match point, Monaghan hit a great serve down the T to post a 6-2, 6-4 victory.

Shane defeated unseeded Jeremy Efferding of Texas A&M in a rematch of their meeting in the team quarterfinals, which went unfinished. Shane managed a break at 4-4 in both sets, the only two of the match, for a 6-4, 6-4 victory.

His opponent in the quarterfinals will be unseeded Felipe Soares of Texas Tech, who defeated Jonny Wang of Southern California 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.  Soares, a junior from Brazil, is the first player in the program's history to reach the final eight.

In doubles, both defending champions advanced to the quarterfinals, with Alabama's Erin Routliffe and Maya Jansen, seeded No. 1, surviving a stern test from Anderson and Brady of UCLA 2-6,6-1, 6-4.  Libietis and Hunter Reese of Tennessee, the No. 4 seeds, defeated Denver's Henry Craig and Alex Gasson 6-4, 7-6(2).

Men's top seeds Austin Smith and Ben Wagland advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Tomislav Gregurovic and Tin Ostojic of Wichita State.

Six of the eight women's second round doubles matches went to three sets Friday afternoon. Three of the men's doubles matches went to three sets, and the winners of those matches all lost the first set. All unseeded teams who reached the quarterfinals are awarded All-American honors, with seeded teams already achieving that status.

Singles begin on Saturday at noon CDT, with six of the eight matches scheduled. The first doubles match is set for 2 p.m.

Live scoring, draws and links to live streaming can be found at the tournament page.

Men's Singles Round of 16 - May 22 
#19 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VIRGINIA) def. #35 Tony Lupieri (BAYLOR), 6-1, 6-1
#17 Winston Lin (COLUMBIA) def. #5 [5] Sebastian Stiefelmeyer (LOUISVILLE), 7-5, 6-4
#23 Jared Hiltzik (ILLINOIS) def. #42 Lloyd Glasspool (TEXAS), 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-3
#6 [7] Noah Rubin (WAKE FOREST) def. #15 [9-16] Yannick Hanfmann (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA), 6-2, 6-4
#39 Cameron Norrie (TCU) def. #14 [9-16] Mikelis Libietis (TENNESSEE), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
#9 [9-16] Quentin Monaghan (NOTRE DAME) def. #32 Jakob Sude (OKLAHOMA STATE), 6-2, 6-4
#8 [8] Ryan Shane (VIRGINIA) def. #47 Jeremy Efferding (TEXAS A&M), 6-4, 6-4
#37 Felipe Soares (TEXAS TECH) def. #45 Jonny Wang (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA), 6-3, 3-6, 6-2

 seed in []

Women's Singles Round of 16 - May 22 
#1 [1] Robin Anderson (UCLA) def. #24 Sabrina Santamaria (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA), 6-1, 6-2
#11 [9-16] Stephanie Wagner (MIAMI [FL]) def. #54 Saska Gavrilovska (TEXAS A&M), 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
#15 [9-16] Danielle Collins (VIRGINIA) def. #47 Jennifer Brady (UCLA), 6-1, 7-5
#7 [7] Jamie Loeb (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #12 [9-16] Joana Eidukonyte (CLEMSON), 6-3, 6-1
#37 Sinead Lohan (MIAMI [FL]) def. #32 Natalie Beazant (RICE), 7-5, 6-1
#13 [9-16] Josie Kuhlman (FLORIDA) def. #4 [4] Meagan Manasse (CALIFORNIA), 6-4, 6-1
#21 Chanelle Van Nguyen (UCLA) def. #22 Ema Burgic (BAYLOR) , 6-4, 6-1
#2 [2] Carol Zhao (STANFORD) def. #43 Zsofi Susanyi (CALIFORNIA), 6-2, 6-0

Women's Doubles Round of 16 - May 22
#1 [1] Maya Jansen/Erin Routliffe (ALABAMA) def. #9 Robin Anderson/Jennifer Brady (UCLA), 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
#14 Ema Burgic/Blair Shankle (BAYLOR) def. #26 Desirae Krawcyk/Stephanie Vlad (ARIZONA ST.) 6-2, 7-5
#4 [4] Beatrice Gumulya/Jessy Rompies (CLEMSON) def. #19 Giuliana Olmos/Zoë Scandalis (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA), 6-4, 6-3
#10 Caroline Doyle/Ellen Tsay (STANFORD) def. #7 [5-8] Maegan Manasse/Denise Starr (CALIFORNIA), 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
#5 [5-8] Klara Fabikova/Zsofi Susanyi (CALIFORNIA) def. #25 Mami Adachi/Aldila Sutjiadi (KENTUCKY), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-1
#18 Ashleigh Antal/Astra Sharma (VANDERBILT) def. #23 Matea Cutura/Christine Maddox (PEPPERDINE), 6-1, 1-6, 6-2
#6 [5-8] Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) def. #11 Lauren Herring/Ellen Perez (GEORGIA), 7-5, 3-6, 6-3
#2 [2] Taylor Davidson/Carol Zhao (STANFORD) def. #16 Jamie Loeb/Caroline Price (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-3, 4-6, 6-3

Men's Doubles Round of 16 - May 22
#1 [1] Austin Smith/Ben Wagland (GEORGIA) def. #41 Tomislav Gregurovic/Tin Ostojic (WICHITA STATE), 6-2, 6-3
#22 Hugo Dojas/Felipe Soares (TEXAS TECH) def. #29 Kyle Koch/Thiago Pinheiro (SOUTH CAROLINA), 6-3, 6-2
#18 Harry Jadun/John Patrick Mullane (MICHIGAN STATE) def. #28 Oliver Pramming/Justin Roberts (SOUTH FLORIDA), 7-6 (0), 6-4
#14 Boris Arias/Jordan Daigle (LSU) def. #15 Alex Lawson/Billy Pecor (NOTRE DAME), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6), 7-5
#8 [5-8] Diego Galeano/Julian Lenz (BAYLOR) def. #13 Skander Mansouri/Christian Seraphim (WAKE FOREST), 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-1
#4 [4] Mikelis Libietis/Hunter Reese (TENNESSEE) def. #49 Henry Craig/Alex Gasson (DENVER), 6-4, 7-6 (2)
#24 Arjun Kadhe/Jakob Sude (OKLAHOMA STATE) def. #21 Marko Krickovic/Lukas Ollert (AUBURN), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
#19 Lloyd Glasspool/Søren Hess-Olesen (TEXAS) def. #30 Trevor Johnson/Cameron Norrie (TCU), 6-4, 6-0

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Top Seed Alvarez Falls to Lupieri in NCAA Division I Second Round; 18 Players Earn All-American Honors

©Colette Lewis 2015--
Waco, Texas--

The weather changed dramatically Thursday, but the exodus of men's seeds continued with No. 1 Axel Alvarez of Oklahoma and No. 2 Julian Lenz of Baylor joining 10 others on the sidelines.

Temperatures reached the upper 80s for Wednesday's first round, with high humidity adding to the discomfort but Thursday's highs were in the mid 60s, with a chilly breeze. Blankets and down jackets, unthinkable 24 hours earlier, were welcome accessories for shivering fans and coaches, although the players appreciated the break from the oppressive heat.

Alvarez, who saved two match points in his 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-1 win over Nik Scholtz, could not summon the same magic against Baylor's Tony Lupieri, falling to the 35th-ranked Bear 6-4, 6-4.


"I was trying to be relaxed out there, swing fast, and everything works today perfectly for me, a big win for me. It's the second time of the year I've beaten the No. 1 guy in the country," said Lupieri, who beat Virginia's Thai Kwiatkowski when he was ranked No. 1, at the ITA Team Indoor.

Lupieri, as with all unseeded players who reached the third round, earned All-American honors with the win, which was less a goal than a bonus.

"I didn't put pressure on at the beginning of the year that I wanted to be All-American," said the senior from Croatia. "But it's a great feeling, and it's always great to put on a resume that you're All-American. It's fantastic. I'll come out tomorrow with the same energy and try to win this tournament, that's my goal."

Lupieri's teammate Julian Lenz, ranked No. 2, can no longer aspire to that, after falling to Southern California's Jonny Wang 6-2, 1-6, 7-5. Lenz had two match points with Wang serving at 3-5, but Wang's serve saved him, with an ace on the first and a service winner on second. He held for 5-4, saved a break point to hold for 5-all, then broke Lenz at love. On his first opportunity to close the match, he converted, and the senior could look ahead to at least one more college match.

"I was thinking, wow, this could be my last point, my last match in college tennis," said Wang, who hits a two-handed forehand. "So I was getting a little emotional. I was thinking about all the times I had in college, reflecting on the good times. But I'm just thankful I have another opportunity to play another match."

Wang, who walked on at USC, didn't crack the lineup regularly until this year.

"It took a lot of time," said Wang, of San Marino, California. "I gave it my all every day, especially in practices. It wasn't so much technically, but the mental aspect that improved. Fighting for every point, staying mentally engaged."

In addition to Lupieri and Wang, eight other men earned All-American honors: Kwiatkowski, Jeremy Efferding of Texas A&M, Lloyd Glasspool of Texas, Felipe Soares of Texas Tech, Cameron Norrie of TCU, Jakob Sude of Oklahoma State, Winston Lin of Columbia and Jared Hiltzik of Illinois.

Women's top seeds Robin Anderson of UCLA and Carol Zhao of Stanford moved on Thursday with straight-set wins, while No. 9 seed Danielle Collins of Virginia outlasted Ronit Yurovsky of Michigan 4-6, 6-0, 6-3. Collins' next opponent in defense of her title is UCLA's Jennifer Brady, who defeated Jasmine Lee of Mississippi State 6-1, 2-6, 6-3.  A third Bruin reached the final 16, with Chanelle Van Nguyen taking out No. 6 seed Julia Elbaba of Virginia 6-2, 6-0, winning 12 straight games from the 2014 National Indoor champion.

In addition to Brady and Van Nguyen, six other players have joined the list of 2015 All-Americans: Sinead Lohan of Miami, Natalie Beazant of Rice, Saska Gavriloska of Texas A&M, Ema Burgic of Baylor, Zsofi Susanyi of Cal and Sabrina Santamaria of Southern California.

Santamaria, who defeated Belinda Woolcock of Florida 6-3, 6-3 Thursday, still wears a knee brace over a year after tearing her ACL.

"I did a lot of bad stuff to my knee last year," said Santamaria, the 2013 NCAA doubles champion. "But I hit the rehab pretty hard and aggressive right after that and I was able to come back after ten months."

Santamaria began her return at the No. 6 spot, but by April she was back in the No. 1 spot she had occupied before the injury.

"Here, I think I've just been progressing my game," Santamaria said. "I'm still trying to get better each day. I may not be where I was my sophomore year, which was really good, but it's getting there."

Her next match is against Pac-12 rival Anderson, who beat Santamaria 3-6, 6-0, 7-5 in USC's 4-3 win over the Bruins on April 16.

"It was a tough three-set battle," Santamaria said. "I know she's going to be hungry to beat me and I'm just going to go out and have fun, savor each college match that I have."

Despite the rivalry between USC and UCLA on the court, the teams are unusually friendly off the court.

"We actually had breakfast this morning together," Santamaria said of Anderson. "We were talking like, man, is it really over? It went by so quickly. Our team and UCLA, even though we're rivals, everyone is really good people; we're friends and on the court, it's good competing. Everyone's cool and really friendly, so it's great."

The first round of doubles was completed today, with both defending champions posting wins.  Alabama's Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe, 2014 champions and the top seeds this year, defeated Angeles de los Rios and Elizabeth Thomas of Texas-Arlington, 6-2, 6-1. Tennessee's Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese, the 2014 champions seeded No. 4, beat TCU's Nick Chappell and Will Stein 7-6(2), 6-2.

No. 2 seeds Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz of Southern Cal fell to Lloyd Glasspool and Søren Hess-Olesen of Texas 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 and No. 3 seeds Ryan Shane and Luca Corinteli of Virginia lost to Michigan State's Harry Jadun and John Patrick Mullane 6-1, 6-7(4), 7-5. Top seeds Ben Wagland and Austin Smith of Georgia did advance to Friday's second round.

For complete results, see the tournament page.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Top Seed Alvarez Saves Match Points; Brady Downs No. 3 Seed Austin In NCAA Division I Singles Opening Round Action

©Colette Lewis 2015--
Waco, Texas--

The emotional and physical challenges of playing a first round singles match the day after playing in the team championships are undeniable, particularly for members of the losing team.  But Oklahoma's Axel Alvarez and UCLA's Jennifer Brady navigated those obstacles Wednesday, posting impressive wins in hot and humid conditions at the Hurd Tennis Center on the campus of Baylor University.


Alvarez, whose match with Ryan Shane went unfinished Tuesday afternoon in Oklahoma's 4-1 loss to Virginia, didn't look particularly interested in being back out on the court against 18th-ranked Nik Scholtz of Ole Miss, a three-time All-American. Alvarez was overruled on line calls three times in the first set, an extremely rare occurrence, but although clearly exasperated with the chair umpire, he dug in.

Trailing 6-3, 4-1, the junior from Spain held twice, forcing Scholtz to serve for it. Scholtz, a senior from South Africa, used his big serve to get to match point, but couldn't summon one when he needed it most. He hit a forehand wide on his first match point, and a backhand long on the second, both times failing to get a first serve in.  Two more second serves and two more errors and the match was back on serve, with Alvarez clearly rejuvenated.

Alvarez dominated the tiebreaker, then took a 3-0 lead in the third set, with Scholtz making frequent unforced errors, possibly due to fatigue. Alvarez, in contrast, eliminated mistakes from his game, although he was again agitated when he was overruled a fourth time with Scholtz serving a 1-3, 30-all.  That overrule immediately gave Scholtz the game, but didn't stop Alvarez's momentum, and although the tournament referee had to stay courtside watching the match, with a default being required after the next overrule, Alvarez rolled through the next three games. When he had secured match point, Alvarez let loose with a long vamos, then a short one, with his commitment to winning the match no longer in doubt.

"It was really hard," Alvarez admitted. "I didn't really have the energy or the motivation to play after yesterday's loss in the final. You don't get one day off, you have to play right away. I was really tired from all four of the matches we played."

Although still puzzled by his disagreements with the umpire, Alvarez said it may have lit the fire that was missing when he started the match.

"That definitely helped a little bit, yeah," Alvarez said. "I've never been overruled more than two times in a match in my three years here in college. I know the umpire sees what he sees, and I know one of the balls could have been in, but the rest were clearly out. But I can't get mad at him, that's what he sees, and I have to accept it, but I got a little lucky with that. It helped me pick up the energy."

Alvarez will next play Tony Lupieri of Baylor, one of three Bears who reached the second round.

Number 2 seed Julian Lenz of Baylor was, like Alvarez, in serious trouble in the first round, with Duke's Jason Tahir serving for the match at 6-2, 5-4. Tahir saved a break point, but got no closer than deuce, with Lenz eventually taking a 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 victory, his first in three years of competition at the NCAAs.

Men's third seed Mackenzie McDonald of UCLA did not survive, beaten by Texas's Lloyd Glasspool, ranked No. 42.

"I played tactically very well, rather than how I hit the ball," said the senior from England. "He's a very good player. If it's in his strike zone he hits it very well, better than anyone here, so I was trying to keep it high or low or anywhere, and it seemed to work today. I think he could have played better, yeah, but I think I made him play that way.  The courts here are slow and pretty bouncy which did help me get it high up to him."

Oklahoma's Andrew Harris, the No. 4 seed, withdrew, with Guillermo Nunez of TCU replacing him in the draw.

Two other seeds, both 9-16s, lost Wednesday, with North Carolina's Brayden Schnur retiring to Felipe Soares of Texas Tech at 3-2 in the first set, and Gonzales Austin of Vanderbilt falling to Virginia's Thai Kwiatkowski 6-4, 6-0.

In the women's first round, top seed Robin Anderson of UCLA and No. 2 seed Carol Zhao of Stanford had no difficulty, nor did defending champion Danielle Collins of Virginia.  Collins, a 9-16 seed, defeated Taylor Davidson of Stanford 6-3, 6-3.


Third seed Brooke Austin of Florida, named ITA Rookie of the Year yesterday, was drawn against UCLA's Brady, who is 209 in the WTA rankings.

Austin got off to a great start, leading 4-0, but Brady took the match 7-6(3), 6-4.

"She came out pretty well in both the first and second sets," said Brady, a sophomore who has said she will turn pro after this event. "In the first, I went down 4-0 in a couple of minutes. I started pretty slow energy-wise, but I think once I started getting used to her ball, and the balls started getting a little deader, I started getting into the match, getting my rhythm, moving a lot more and feeling the ball better."

Brady was in a similar situation last year in singles, after UCLA won the title 4-3 over North Carolina.

"I remember after we won it, I came out flat-footed and lost my first set 6-0 in about five or ten minutes," said Brady, who recovered for a three-set win over Baylor's Jordaan Sanford. "I came out today pretty much the same way, but didn't lose the first, just went down 4-0. But in the back of my mind, I knew it was going to hard to start quick, because she had a few days where she wasn't playing, got back into practicing and had more motivation. But once I got going, got my feet moving, that helped me a lot."

Brady, although hardly considering herself an underdog, was aware of Austin's success this year.

"I know she got rookie player of the year and SEC player of the year," Brady said. "She's had a great freshman year, congrats to her. I knew she was going to come out playing well, because clearly she's been doing well results-wise. So I knew I had to stay focused throughout the match, and hopefully things would go my way."

Other women's seed to fall in the first round were Georgia's Lauren Herring, seeded No. 5, who went out to Miami's Sinead Lohan 6-1, 6-4, and No. 9 seeds Hayley Carter of North Carolina, who lost to Baylor's Ema Burgic 6-3, 6-4, and Pepperdine's Lorraine Guillermo, who was beaten 6-2, 6-3 by Belinda Woolcock of Florida, who received entry as an alternate when Murray State's Erin Patton withdrew.

The first round of doubles begins on Thursday, primarily after the second round of singles.

Complete results and draws can be found at Tournament Central.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Vanderbilt Women Claim First NCAA Team Title; Virginia Beats Top Seed Oklahoma for Men's Championship

©Colette Lewis 2015--
Waco, TX--

The Virginia Cavaliers claimed their second NCAA Division I team title Tuesday afternoon, beating top seed Oklahoma 4-1, while the Vanderbilt women outlasted defending champion UCLA 4-2 in a nearly five-hour marathon to earn the program's first national championship at the Hurd Tennis Center on the campus of Baylor University.

A rain-free but blustery day made for challenging conditions, but cooler temperatures were an improvement over Monday's semifinal steam bath.  Third-seeded Virginia captured the doubles point, with Luca Corinteli and Ryan Shane beating Andrew Harris and Alex Ghilea 8-4 at line 1, and looking sharp in the process to set the tone, with Virginia also getting wins at 2 and 3. Cavaliers Thai Kwiatkowski and Mac Styslinger held on to their early break against Dane Webb and Spencer Papa for an 8-5 victory at line 2, but while their match point was in progress, Collin Altamirano and JC Aragone broke Axel Alvarez and Jose Salazar to win at line 3 by the same score.

Virginia coach Brian Boland knew better than to take any confidence from that early lead, as the Cavaliers had taken the doubles point in their meeting with Oklahoma back in March, but lost the match 4-3.

"I think 11 times they've lost the doubles point," said Boland, although Oklahoma had actually lost it 14 times, but dropping only three of those matches, including this one.  "They've learned to deal with it when they go down the doubles point, so we were certainly focused on getting off to a great start."

Knowing Oklahoma's knack for winning close matches, Virginia was on its guard, although was able to breathe a bit easier when Mitchell Frank at line 2, Collin Altamirano at line 3 and Thai Kwiatkowski at line 4 all captured first sets.  That meant Oklahoma would need to win a three setter to take the title that eluded it last year in Athens, when the Sooners lost in the final to Southern California 4-2.

Oklahoma fans, who included coach John Roddick's younger brother Andy, were heartened by the quick 6-3, 6-2 win by Spencer Papa over Alexander Ritschard at line 5, making the score 1-1. Sooner Axel Alvarez led Shane 6-4, 1-2  at line 1 and Florin Bragusi came from 5-3 down in his first set tiebreaker with Virginia's Aragone at line 6 to capture a set they desperately needed, but getting a match to a third set proved difficult for Oklahoma.

Freshman Collin Altamirano gave the Cavaliers a 2-1 lead with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Dane Webb at line 3, and Kwiatkowski pulled away from Alex Ghilea at line 4, claiming a 6-3, 6-4 win to make it 3-1. Alvarez served for Oklahoma's second point at 5-4 in the second set, but Shane broke back. Meanwhile, Frank was up 7-5, 4-1 against Harris at line 2, only to lose the break with Harris tying it up at 4-4, while Aragone was earning a split with Bragusi.

Serving from behind, Harris managed to hold at 4-5, but after Frank held for 6-5, the pressure began to tell.  Harris, who lost the deciding match in the final last year to USC's Max de Vroome, missed a backhand, double faulted, then missed a forehand, giving Frank three championship points.  Harris saved the first with an overhead, the second when Frank missed a return and the third when Frank's forehand went wide. Another forehand miss and Frank had a fourth match point, which he cashed in when Harris netted a third-shot forehand.

After clinching Virginia's first national title two years ago under memorable circumstances, Frank admitted his mindset was different in the quest for a second national title.


"The first one is maybe a little bit more stressful," said Frank, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. "You're in a situation where you come into the Virginia program and everyone always talked, like they're so close, but they find a way to lose. You hear it all the time, honestly, that's what people were saying. They just can't get it done, something like that. The first one was like getting over that hump, a curse somebody had put on us or something, so I think coming into this one this year, I felt more relaxed maybe. Obviously everyone wants it really bad, but it's all about managing that."

Boland, who is in his 14th season as head coach of the Cavaliers, agreed.

"The first one is always the toughest," said Boland, who has led the team to the semifinals or beyond for six straight years. "It's true in tournaments and everything else. We were relieved in terms of getting past the first one, and we were a little more free this time."

Roddick, who has now led Oklahoma to the finals twice in just six years as coach of the Sooners, believes the expectation bar has been raised after last year.

"From an NCAA standpoint, anything except a national championship, that was what we wanted," Roddick said. "And I don't think any one of our guys will shy away from that goal. We know we're a capable team and we have the ability to do that. It's a huge disappointment, probably more disappointing this year than maybe last year. Last year we were still trying to figure out if we were a team capable of doing this, and I think it hurts more because we know we are."

Roddick conceded that on Tuesday, Virginia was the better team.

"We knew if we played our best tennis, we'd have a chance to win, and we knew if Virginia played their best tennis, they'd have a chance to win. I think both teams proved that back in March. That match could have gone either way and this one was close. We had our opportunities to at least put it in position to go either way. I don't think it was that close, but we were right on the cusp of making it--there was a 30- minute stretch where it really started to get interesting.  Our guys kept competing, no one gave up."

With Webb the only senior in the Oklahoma lineup and Frank the lone senior in the Virginia lineup, both teams should again be contenders for the national title in 2016.


Few observers would have expected the Vanderbilt women to be a national title contender prior to the start of the season, or even three months ago, when the team was 4-4, but the No. 4 seeds earned the program's first team title with a 4-2 win over defending champion UCLA.

One of the key ingredients of the Commodores run, which included a come-from-behind win over No. 5 seed Florida in the quarterfinals and a 4-0 blanking of No. 1 seed USC in the semifinals, was redshirt freshman Astra Sharma. The 19-year-old from Australia clinched those two matches and also got the final point Tuesday night, defeating Chanelle Van Nugyen 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 at line 2 after nearly five hours of intense competition between the two teams.

Vanderbilt took the doubles point, as the evening's gusty winds peaked as the sun began setting, making ball tosses an adventure and lobs difficult to execute.

Courtney Colton and Sydney Campbell defeated Bruins Robin Anderson and Jennifer Brady 8-3 at No. 1 doubles, and although UCLA's Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips closed their 8-5 win at No. 2 doubles against Ashleigh Antal and Sharma, the point looked assured for Vanderbilt, with Maria Casares and Frances Altick up 5-0 on Van Nguyen and Maia Magill, making her first appearance in competition at the final site.

Van Nguyen and Magill fought back to make it 7-5, but Magill was broken in the final game to give Vandy the lead.

When singles began, Sharma immediately went down 5-1 in the first set, but found her form late in the first set and took the second set 6-2.

Each team took three first sets, meaning the defending champions, seeded seventh, would need to win a three-setter, while keeping Vanderbilt at bay in the three matches.  UCLA's Anderson and Brady won first sets over Campbell and Altick at 1 and 3 respectively, but the bottom half of Vanderbilt's lineup was keeping them alive. Colton, down 4-1 to UCLA's Harrison at line 4, came back to win the first set in a tiebreaker, while Antal was up 6-1, 3-0 over UCLA's Kaitlin Ray at line 6, and Casares had taken the first set from McPhillips at line 5.

Anderson completed her match, defeating Campbell 6-4, 6-1 to give UCLA its first, and as it turned out, last point they would earn in the next hour of play.

Brady could not serve out her match leading Altick 6-4, 5-4, with Altick taking four straight game before Brady broke Altick to force a tiebreaker.

Colton had made it 3-1 Vanderbilt by again coming from behind, this time after trailing 3-0 in the second set, taking a 7-6(5), 6-4 win.

Shortly after Colton wrapped up her match, Casares broke McPhillips at 5-all and stepped to the line to serve out her match and the championship.   At 15-all, McPhillips netted a forehand volley, but Casares made a rare error to make it 30-all. McPhillips cracked a forehand winner to get a break point, and at 30-40, Casares double faulted, with her second serve bouncing before it got to the net.

Sharma had earned a split with Van Nguyen to send that match to a third, and McPhillips won the tiebreaker 7-5 to earn a third set.

"I don't think McPhillips missed a ball for several minutes," said Geoff Macdonald, in his 21st year as Vanderbilt's coach. "She made no unforced errors, was flawless. I give her a ton of credit. I thought it was a really high level match between Maria and Kyle McPhillips."

Brady and Altick were just entering a second set tiebreaker when McPhillips earned the split, with UCLA now needing all three matches remaining on the court.  Up 5-3 in the tiebreaker, Brady made two errors for 5-5.  After a brief but tense rally, Altick called a Brady forehand wide on the near sideline, but the chair umpire overruled her. Because it was Altick's third overrule, a point penalty was assessed, and after moment's confusion, Brady was declared the winner of the match.

The Vanderbilt fans in the stands were convinced the overrule was not warranted, and a few made loud derogatory remarks about the chair umpire's competence, resulting a warning from the tournament referee, with a point penalty against the Vanderbilt team if it continued. The situation did not escalate, and Macdonald gave Altick credit for keeping her composure in its wake.

"I felt so badly for Frances," said Macdonald. "We joke that she plays out balls all the time. It was a close call, I'm not going to talk about what the official did. She(Frances) did a really good job of not making a huge scene on the court even though I think she was pretty emotional. She got out of view and went inside and dealt with it. Marie, these young people are so tough, they know how to regroup really well. They've done it all year."

Both Sharma and Casares were briefly down a break early in the third set, but recovered.

At 4-all in the third, Sharma saved a break point at 30-40, with a good serve and a forehand winner, taking a 5-4 lead.

Van Nguyen, who alternating between moon balls and aggressive flat hitting had two game points, but Sharma was simply not missing balls, no matter how long the rallies were.

Van Nguyen hit a backhand wide to give Vanderbilt its first championship point, but saved it with a forcing forehand into the corner.  After a fine forehand volley putaway, Sharma had her second match point, but missed a forehand long.  A rare error by Sharma, a netted forehand, gave Van Nguyen her third game point, but a courageous forehand swing volley by Sharma negated it. Another forehand long, and Sharma wasn't missing by much, gave Van Nguyen her fourth game point, but a return winner on a soft second serve brought it back to deuce. A big Sharma forehand forced an error and on match point number three, Van Nguyen sent a forehand wide to set off a celebration befitting a first national championship.

Sharma felt the tension in the final minutes of the match.

"There was a lot of noise from the crowd and it was predominately UCLA people," said Sharma, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. "It was nerve-racking to have that feeling of the entire championship on my shoulders, but I just really had to regroup, and reframe the pressure, like, she's as nervous as I am and it's no big deal. I've played so many points in my life, this is just another one. The worst that could happen is that we go back to deuce. So I just had to be disciplined with my thought."

UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster admitted to being a little surprised by the poise Vanderbilt showed in their first appearance in a team championship since 2001.

"I'm just really impressed, to tell you the truth," Sampras Webster said. "The way their players played and handled the situation. I just don't get to see that team very much, but they've beaten Georgia, Florida, beaten all these great teams--SC yesterday--so we knew it was going to be a tough match and they're playing extremely well, they really showed it today."

Macdonald knew his team had earned the title the hard way by defeating UCLA.

"When you think about it, the seniors on that team have been to four straight Final Fours," Macdonald said. "We were in new water for us and there was no panic or nerves. Well, there were nerves, of course there are in a tennis match, but I just have to say hats off to my team for handling an incredibly large moment with class, guts and great spirit. It's beautiful to be a part of."

For more from the men's final, see College Tennis Today.

The individual tournament begins Wednesday at 9 a.m. with singles.
Draws are available at the Baylor tournament website.

============================================
#3 VIRGINIA (29-3) def. #1 OKLAHOMA (30-3) 4-1 - Hurd Tennis Center Grandstand Courts - 1 p.m.
Head Coaches: John Roddick (OKLAHOMA) and Brian Boland (VIRGINIA)

Doubles (Order of finish: 1, 3, 2)
1. #2 Luca Corinteli/Ryan Shane (VIRGINIA) def. #57 Andrew Harris/Alex Ghilea (OKLAHOMA) 8-4              
2. #42 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Mac Styslinger (VIRGINIA) def. Dane Webb/Spencer Papa (OKLAHOMA)      8-5
3. Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Axel Alvarez/Jose Salazar (OKLAHOMA)        8-5

Singles (Order of finish: 5, 3, 4, 2)
1. #1 Axel Alvarez (OKLAHOMA) vs. #8 Ryan Shane (VIRGINIA)           6-4, 5-5, UF
2. #20 Mitchell Frank (VIRGINIA) def. #7 Andrew Harris (OKLAHOMA)               7-5, 7-5
3. #77 Collin Altamirano (VIRGINIA) def. #44 Dane Webb (OKLAHOMA)            6-3, 6-3
4. #19 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VIRGINIA) def. #103 Alex Ghilea (OKLAHOMA)  6-3, 6-4
5. Spencer Papa (OKLAHOMA) def. Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA)    6-3, 6-2
6. Florin Bragusi (OKLAHOMA) vs. J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA)     7-6 (5), 4-6, 1-0, UF         

============================================
#4 VANDERBILT (25-6) def. #7 UCLA (23-5) 4-2 - Hurd Tennis Center Grandstand Courts - 5 p.m.
Head Coaches: Geoff Macdonald (VANDERBILT) and Stella Sampras Webster (UCLA)
Doubles (Order of finish: 1, 2, 3)
1. #20 Courtney Colton/Sydney Campbell (VANDERBILT) def. #9 Robin Anderson/Jennifer Brady (UCLA)   8-3
2. #3 Catherine Harrison/Kyle McPhillips (UCLA) def. #18 Ashleigh Antal/Astra Sharma (VANDERBILT)  8-5
3.  Marie Casares/Frances Altick (VANDERBILT) def. Chanelle Van Nguyen/Maia Magill (UCLA) 8-5

Singles (Order of finish: 6, 1, 4, 3, 2)
1. #1 Robin Anderson (UCLA) def. #8 Sydney Campbell (VANDERBILT) 6-4, 6-1
2. #42 Astra Sharma (VANDERBILT) def. #21 Chanelle Van Nguyen (UCLA) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
3. #47 Jennifer Brady (UCLA) def. #96 Frances Altick (VANDERBILT)    6-4, 7-6 (5)
4. #61 Courtney Colton (VANDERBILT) def. #33 Catherine Harrison (UCLA) 7-6 (5), 6-4
5. #120 Marie Casares (VANDERBILT) vs. #35 Kyle McPhillips (UCLA)  6-3, 6-7 (4), 3-3, UF

6.  Ashleigh Antal (VANDERBILT) def. Kaitlin Ray (UCLA)           6-1, 7-6(6)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Top Seed Oklahoma Meets Virginia for Men's D-I Title; Defending Champion UCLA Takes on Vanderbilt for Women's Championship

©Colette Lewis 2015--
Waco, TX--

The top-seeded Oklahoma men and women's defending champions UCLA earned another shot at an NCAA team title with victories in Monday's semifinals at the Hurd Tennis Center on the campus of Baylor University.  Oklahoma will take on No. 3 seed Virginia at 1 p.m. Tuesday, with UCLA facing No. 4 seed Vanderbilt at 5 p.m.

Heated would be the word for the two men’s semifinals, with mid afternoon temperatures in the upper 80s and the heat index in the mid 90s—the first really uncomfortable day of the championships. With both matches extending for four hours, Oklahoma advanced to its second straight final with a contentious 4-3 win over No. 5 seed TCU, while Virginia surged past No. 2 seed Baylor 4-2.

Mitchell Frank and freshman Collin Altamirano gave the Cavaliers their final two points, simultaneously winning match points in third sets to deflate the hundreds of fans in green and gold who were hoping for a Baylor comeback.

Baylor put the crowd in a positive frame of mind by taking the doubles point in a tiebreaker at line 3, with the Bears’ Vince Schneider winning the only point that went to the server at 6-5. He and Felipe Rios defeated Altamirano and JC Aragone after Altamirano had served for the match at 7-6. Baylor’s Julian Lenz and Diego Galeano had won 8-4 at line 1 and Virginia’s Thai Kwiatkowski and Mac Styslinger had won 8-6 at line 2.

Virginia’s large traveling fan base, accustomed to being able to book their airline tickets early, with their team reaching the semifinals for the sixth consecutive year, had their spirits lifted early by junior Ryan Shane’s 6-3, 6-4 win over Julian Lenz, the nation’s second-ranked player.

“I played one of the better matches I’ve played in a while,” said Shane, who lost to Lenz in Baylor’s 5-2 win in Waco in March. “He played really well too, but things kind of went in my favor, and that point, right off the bat, helped us move forward in winning the match.”

Frank had breezed by Tony Lupieri 6-0 in the opening set at line 2, but when first sets were all completed, Baylor had three and Virginia had three, meaning the Cavaliers had to win a three-setter to advance to their fourth final in five years.  It was Baylor earning the first split however, with Lupieri taking the second set from Frank 6-2. With the late afternoon skies darkening and predicted thunderstorms looming, Virginia took a 2-1 lead when JC Aragone, who was down 4-1 in the second set, beat Felipe Rios 6-3, 7-5 at line 6.

Kwiatkowski had earned a split for Virginia by that time in his match with Galeano at 4, with Altamirano also getting to a third set against Max Tchoutakian. Virginia’s Alexander Ritschard was serving to take Mate Zsiga into a third, but Lupieri had taken a 3-1 lead over Frank in the third set at 2.

Just as Ritschard forced a third set, Lupieri lost his break, but Kwiatkowski was having cramping issues trailing 4-2 in the third.  He finished, but without much energy, and Galeano tied the score at 2 with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win.

Altamirano and Zsiga had early breaks in their third sets, with Frank and Lupieri at 4-4 in the third.  Lupieri saved three break points serving at 4-all, but on the fourth netted a forehand, giving Frank a chance to serve for the match and a 3-2 Virginia lead.

Frank got to match point at 40-30, with backhand winners and gutsy drop shots, but Lupieri rallied to break back for 5-5, sending the Baylor crowd into a spasm of BU chants. They didn’t last long however, as Lupieri hit a tight-looking forehand into the net at 15-40 to give Frank a second chance to serve for the match.


Ritschard had won four straight games at 6 to come back from 2-0 down, but it was Altamirano who had taken control of his match with Tchoutakian, as Frank tried to close out Lupieri.  Altamirano led 5-1, but Tchoutakian won three straight games, leaving Altamirano one final chance to finish, serving at 5-4.  As Frank came from 15-30 down with a good volley and a forehand forcing an error to get to match point, Altamirano was also at match point. Frank again used his drop shot and softly tapped Lupieri’s reply into the open court, while Altamirano finished off Tchoutakian without any further drama, with quiet descending over the Hurd Tennis Center, with only the shouts of the Virginia fans breaking the silence.

“I don’t know anyone outside our locker room who gave him a chance to win that match,” Baylor coach Matt Knoll said of Lupieri.  “But we felt like we had a good plan and if we could execute the plan we’d have a real chance. Tony was executing the plan to a certain extent, but in the key moments he got a little over excited and kind of deviated. It’s easy to fall back into what you’re comfortable doing. It sounds easy when I sit up here and say do the plan, but [Frank] is a great player and posed some real challenges.”

“That was really exciting,” Virginia coach Brian Boland said. “It was great to be a part of a match like that in college tennis. I know there’s always questions about whether college tennis is exciting. There was great excitement and drama out there today. Credit to Baylor, they had an unbelievable season, they’re a great team and I’m sure it’s hard for them, hosting the event, to go down, but they left it all on the court.”


After playing four hours in the stifling heat and humidity, Virginia could have been facing Tuesday’s final at a disadvantage, but top seed Oklahoma’s win over TCU was almost exactly as long to the minute, with OU’s Axel Alvarez defeating Nick Chappell 7-5, 7-6(5) at line 1 to
end it.

At 5-4 in the tiebreaker, a dispute arose over whether Alvarez had called a ball in and then changed his call to out, as some spectators had observed. The chair umpire was prepared to go with Alvarez's call, and the referee was called to court, but as a matter of fact, not interpretation, the out call stood.  Chappell, then receiving at 5-5, called a serve out, but was overruled by the chair umpire, giving Alvarez a match point. Chappell had a chance to recover from those two difficult points, but missed a volley into the open court to give Alvarez the win.

"It's nothing that's never happened before," said TCU coach David Roditi. "Nick thought the serve was out, and the referee thought the serve was in, so it was an overrule....On the point before, we felt like Axel might have called it in first and there was confusion as to whether he called it in first and changed his call or not. The referee (chair umpire) didn't see him call it in; I personally didn't see him call it anything, in or out, I was blocked. We'll never know, that stuff happens in every sport, and I certainly don't want it to take away from the unbelievable season both teams have had, what a great season TCU has had, and that's just sports. I hope, I hope, that Axel called it out."

The match began with a true rarity: all three doubles courts in tiebreakers at the same time.  Oklahoma took it with Alvarez and Jose Salazar winning the last of the three tiebreakers 8-7(5) over Guillermo Nunez and Hudson Blake at line 3.

In singles two points were posted quickly, with Spencer Papa of Oklahoma defeating Aranu Dachs 6-1, 6-4 to make it 2-0, but Cameron Norrie got TCU on the board with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Dane Webb at line 3. The Horned Frogs tied it up with Facundo Lugones taking out Alex Ghilea 6-1, 6-4 at line 4, but the Sooners appeared to be in control with both Alvarez and Andrew Harris, at line 2, up a set, and Florin Bragusi serving for the match against Will Stein at 6-3, 5-2.
TCU's Nunez took Harris to a third set and Stein forced a tiebreaker, but Bragusi managed to post a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory to make it 3-2. With Harris struggling with cramps, Nunez breezed through the third set to tie it up, winning 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-0 and turning the attention to Court 1, where Alvarez had already missed a chance to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second.

"Just to battle through it and find a way to win, our guys had a lot of heart," said Oklahoma coach John Roddick, who would not comment on the tiebreaker controversy or words he exchanged with David Roditi shortly after the completion of the match, when a TCU fan heckled him. "You saw the match and how tough it was physically. It's the first really hot day the players have seen and that's kind of what happens. I'm sure there's bodies who aren't moving too quick coming out of that match too. I don't know for a fact, but I would bet my life on it."

Boland expressed relief that Oklahoma had played just as long under the same difficult conditions.

"I figured it might work a little bit to our disadvantage if they got off the court in two and a half hours, like we did against A&M," Boland said. "But it seems like both teams had tough matches today, so we'll just go out there and leave it all on the court tomorrow."

Roditi said he thought Virginia's depth could be a factor given the quick turnaround for Tuesday's 1 p.m. final.

"I think Virginia is a really tough team and they have so many players," Roditi said. "If someone is physically broken down, they have three guys I would have given a full scholarship to on the bench. In this conditions, that's a huge advantage."

After all the tension and excitement in the men's semifinals, the two women's matches were a bit anticlimactic, although a lengthy lightning delay and the constant threat of thunderstorms, which surrounded the city but never materialized at the tennis courts, added tremendous tension to Vanderbilt's 4-0 win over top seed Southern California and UCLA's 4-1 victory over No. 6 Georgia.

Vanderbilt managed to win the doubles point from top seed USC with wins at lines 1 and 2, and after a more than one hour delay, returned to the courts with their momentum intact.

The Commodores won four first sets on courts 1 through 4, with Courtney Colton giving Vanderbilt a quick second point with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Madison Westby at line 4, and Frances Altick following with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Zoe Scandalis at line 3.  The fourth point proved to be more elusive however, with USC's Sabrina Santamaria forcing Sydney Campbell to a third set at line 1, and Giuliana Olmos taking Vanderbilt's Astra Sharma to a third set at line 2.  At line 5, Vanderbilt's Maria Casares taken Gabby Smith to a third set, with USC's Meredith Xepoleas closing in on a victory over Ashleigh Antal at line 6.


Santamaria had led Campbell 3-1 in the final set, but Campbell won four straight games and was serving for the match when Antal won a tiebreaker at 6 to keep USC off the board.  Sharma, who clinched Vanderbilt's 4-3 comeback over Florida on Sunday night, was up 5-2 on Olmos, and it was the freshman from Australia who put Vanderbilt in its first final since 2001.

"At a couple of positions we played almost flawless tennis," said Vanderbilt coach Geoff Macdonald. "It was a hell of a match and we beat a really good USC team and made it look easy, but it wasn't."

Macdonald's team has peaked at the right time after some difficult going early in the dual match season.

"We were 4-4 on February 15th," Macdonald said. "The four losses were 4-3s, really, really close. A couple of them show up as 4-2s, but we had match point on one. If you look at our schedule and compare it to any other team in the country, we played the hardest schedule.  I was worried early, gosh have I put them in too difficult a competitive arena every single time out. We got to where we embraced competing and relished it. We lost some close ones, but we stayed together really nicely as a unit, learned from them. And some of those players who lost heartbreaking 3-all matches ending up winning some big ones for us, so the tough schedule worked for us very well."

USC coach Richard Gallien was impressed with the level of play Vanderbilt displayed.

"They played really well. We had beaten them earlier in the year in a close match, and I knew this was going to be a very tough match," said Gallien. "Just give them a lot of credit. They played excellent tennis for a long period of time. That was a five-hour match when you consider the lightning stuff, so their kids did a terrific job."

Vanderbilt will need to sustain the level they displayed against USC in the final, with defending champion UCLA also hitting its stride after struggling with injuries much of the dual match season.

Against Georgia, No. 7 seed UCLA spotted the Bulldogs the doubles point, but roared back in singles, taking four matches in straight sets.

Jennifer Brady was first off the court, beating Silvia Garcia 6-3, 6-0 at line 3, and Catherine Harrison followed shortly thereafter, beating Kennedy Shaffer 6-1, 6-3.

Georgia's Lauren Herring had taken a 6-3, 3-1 lead over Robin Anderson at line 1, but Anderson won five straight games to force a third set.  Chanelle Van Nguyen made it 3-1 UCLA with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Ellen Perez at line 2, and Kaitlin Ray finished it at line 6, beating Caroline Brinson 7-6(3), 6-2 to put the Bruins in their third final in four years.


"I've been blessed with the class I came in with," said Ray, a senior, who was injured and didn't play in UCLA's loss to Florida in the 2012 final. "Chanelle Van Nguyen and Robin Anderson, we've done some pretty special things and not many girls can get to at least the final four in all four years. Granted I was injured a couple of those years, but I've gotten to be a part of the national championship last year and now I'm about to play for another national title. That's such a privilege. To be part of a program where you wake up every morning with a chance to win a national title is all that you can ask for as an athlete."

Coach Stella Sampras Webster didn't worry when her team lost the doubles point.

"After the doubles and going into singles, I was really pleased with the way the team came out in singles," Sampras Webster said. "There was never a doubt they were going to go out and fight. I was really way the proud of the way they competed. Kaitlin has probably never clinched a match for us because her matches are so long, so for her to clinch this match, it's just unbelievable, and I'm so happy for her. Georgia's a tough team, they really come after you and I just felt we played really good tennis."

Georgia coach Jeff Wallace agreed.

"You've got to congratulate UCLA for a great match today," Wallace said. "I felt we had some opportunities, but UCLA really played well in some key situations, and you've got to take your hat off to them."

Sampras Webster acknowledged the disparity in NCAA finals experience may prove significant.

"These girls do know what it's like," said Sampras Webster, whose team has not faced Vanderbilt this year. "Our players are excited, they've been waiting for this all year, and I just feel like they're ready to play."

For more on the men's semifinals, including video, see College Tennis Today.  The tournament hub page has links to live scoring and video. The men's final is scheduled for 1 p.m., the women's final for 5 p.m. CDT.
============================================

#1 OKLAHOMA (30-2) vs. #5 TCU (25-8) 4-3 - Hurd Tennis Center Riverside Courts - 1 p.m.
Head Coaches: John Roddick (OKLAHOMA) and David Roditi (TCU)
Doubles (Order of finish: 1, 2, 3)
1.#57 Andrew Harris/Alex Ghilea (OKLAHOMA) def. #30 Cameron Norrie/Trevor Johnson (TCU)               8-7 (6)
2. Nick Chappell/Facundo Lugones (TCU) def. Dane Webb/Spencer Papa (OKLAHOMA)              8-7 (7)
3.Axel Alvarez/Jose Salazar (OKLAHOMA) def. Guillermo Nuñez/Hudson Blake (TCU)  8-7 (5)

Singles (Order of finish: 5, 3, 4, 6, 2, 1)
1. #1 Axel Alvarez (OKLAHOMA) def. #49 Nick Chappell (TCU) 7-5, 7-6 (5)
2. #59 Guillermo Nuñez (TCU) def. #7 Andrew Harris (OKLAHOMA)     6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-0
3. #39 Cameron Norrie (TCU) def. #44 Dane Webb (OKLAHOMA)       6-2, 6-0
4. Facundo Lugones (TCU) def. #103 Alex Ghilea (OKLAHOMA)           6-1, 6-4
5. Spencer Papa (OKLAHOMA) def. Arnau Dachs (TCU)  6-0, 6-1
6. Florin Bragusi (OKLAHOMA) def. Will Stein (TCU)   6-3, 7-6 (4)  
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#3 VIRGINIA (28-3) def. #2 BAYLOR (25-6) 4-2 - Hurd Tennis Center Grandstand Courts - 1 p.m.
Head Coaches: Matt Knoll (BAYLOR) and Brian Boland (VIRGINIA)
Doubles (Order of finish: 1, 2, 3)
1.#8 Julian Lenz/Diego Galeano (BAYLOR) def. #2 Luca Corinteli/Ryan Shane (VIRGINIA) 8-4
2. #42 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Mac Styslinger (VIRGINIA) def. #79 Tony Lupieri/Mate Zsiga (BAYLOR) 8-6
3.Vince Schneider/Felipe Rios (BAYLOR) def. Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) 8-7(6)

Singles (Order of finish: 1, 6, 4, 2, 3)      
1.#8 Ryan Shane (VIRGINIA) def. #2 Julian Lenz (BAYLOR) 6-3, 6-4
2.#20 Mitchell Frank (VIRGINIA) def. #35 Tony Lupieri (BAYLOR) 6-0, 2-6, 7-5
3.#77 Collin Altamirano (VIRGINIA) def. #58 Max Tchoutakian (BAYLOR) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
4.Diego Galeano (BAYLOR) def. #19 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VIRGINIA) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
5.#116 Mate Zsiga (BAYLOR) vs. Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA) 6-4, 2-6, 4-5, UF
6.J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Felipe Rios (BAYLOR) 6-3, 7-5
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#7 UCLA (23-4) def. #6 GEORGIA (24-7) 4-1 - Hurd Tennis Center Riverside Courts - 5 p.m.
Head Coaches: Jeff Wallace (GEORGIA) and Stella Sampras Webster (UCLA)
Doubles (Order of finish: 3, 1)
1.#11 Lauren Herring/Ellen Perez (GEORGIA) def. #9 Robin Anderson/Jennifer Brady (UCLA) 8-7(1)                        
2. #43 Kennedy Shaffer/Silvia Garcia (GEORGIA) vs. #3 Catherine Harrison/Kyle McPhillips (UCLA) 7-6, UF
3. #85 Caroline Brinson/Hannah King (GEORGIA) def. Chanelle Van Nguyen/Kristin Wiley (UCLA) 8-2

Singles (Order of finish: 3, 4, 2, 6)
1. #5 Lauren Herring (GEORGIA) vs. #1 Robin Anderson (UCLA)           6-3, 3-6, UF
2. #21 Chanelle Van Nguyen (UCLA) def. #63 Ellen Perez (GEORGIA)   6-3, 6-3
3. #47 Jennifer Brady (UCLA) def. #94 Silvia Garcia (GEORGIA)           6-3, 6-0
4. #33 Catherine Harrison (UCLA) def. #59 Kennedy Shaffer (GEORGIA) 6-1, 6-3
5. #88 Hannah King (GEORGIA) vs. #35 Kyle McPhillips (UCLA)           6-3, 4-6, 1-0, UF
6. #109 Kaitlin Ray (UCLA) def. #104 Caroline Brinson (GEORGIA)        7-6(3), 6-2

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#4 VANDERBILT (24-6) def. #1 USC (25-3) 4-0 - Hurd Tennis Center Grandstand Courts - 5 p.m.
Head Coaches: Richard Gallien (USC) and Geoff Macdonald (VANDERBILT)
Doubles (Order of finish: 1, 2)
1. #20 Courtney Colton/Sydney Campbell (VANDERBILT) def. #24 Zoe Katz/Sabrina Santamaria (USC) 8-2
2. #18 Ashleigh Antal/Astra Sharma (VANDERBILT) def. #19 Giuliana Olmos/Zoe Scandalis (USC) 8-6
3. Gabby Smith/Madison Westby (USC) vs. Marie Casares/Frances Altick (VANDERBILT) 6-5, UF

Singles (Order of finish: 4, 3, 2)
1. #24 Sabrina Santamaria (USC) vs. #8 Sydney Campbell (VANDERBILT)  3-6, 6-3, 4-5, UF
2. #42 Astra Sharma (VANDERBILT) def. #14 Giuliana Olmos (USC)      6-2, 3-6, 6-2
3. #96 Frances Altick (VANDERBILT) def. #38 Zoe Scandalis (USC)       6-2, 6-2
4. #61 Courtney Colton (VANDERBILT) def. #57 Madison Westby (USC) 6-1, 6-2
5. #78 Gabby Smith (USC) vs. #120 Marie Casares (VANDERBILT)       6-4, 2-6, 2-3, UF
6. #79 Meredith Xepoleas (USC) vs. Ashleigh Antal (VANDERBILT)       6-4, 6-7(6), UF