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    SEC Tennis Today: May 12

    Georgia Men’s Tennis Opens NCAA Tournament With 4-0 Win Over SC State

    ATHENS, Ga. - The third-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team opened the NCAA Tournament with a 4-0 win over South Carolina State on Saturday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The Bulldogs will face Florida State Sunday at 2 p.m. for a berth in the NCAA Championships to be held May 18-22 in Athens.

    Hernus Pieters furnished the clincher for the Bulldogs (24-2), who will look to advance to the Round of 16 for the ninth straight year with a win Sunday.

    “I’m pleased with the way we played,” said Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz. “We need to play better a little bit better tomorrow to beat Florida State. They did a great job in coming back to win today. They are going to be a big challenge tomorrow. Overall we did a good job today, and I’m really pleased.”

    Georgia rolled in the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead. First at No. 3, the team of KU Singh and Wil Spencer beat Tomas Bizon and Young-Kwang Lee, 8-1, then 41st-ranked Nathan Pasha and Ignacio Taboada clinched the point at No. 2 with an 8-3 win over Dymtro Kovalevych and Anton Protsenko. With their win at No. 3, Singh and Spencer improved to 13-3, while Pasha and Taboada remained perfect at 11-0 this season.

    Sadio Doumbia and Pieters led 7-5 at No. 1 when the doubles point was clinched.

    Pasha extended the lead to 2-0 in singles as he cruised past Nikitin at No. 5, 6-0, 6-0, then No. 32 Doumbia downed Protsenko, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 3. Pieters followed with his fifth clincher of the season for the Bulldogs at No. 6, 6-2, 6-2 over Jang Eun-Lee.

    “South Carolina State won their conference, so we knew they were not a bad team,” said Pieters, who picked up his team-leading 34th singles win. “We had two weeks off after the SEC Tournament, so it was important for us to stay focused. I think we did that today.”

    Matches at Nos. 1, 3 and 4 were suspended with Georgia leading in all three.

    Georgia and Florida State will square off in Sunday’s second round for the second time in three years. In 2010 the Bulldogs claimed a thrilling 4-3 win over the Seminoles, sparking a run to the NCAA semifinals. Florida State came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat Boise State 4-3 earlier Saturday.

    South Carolina State ends its season at 17-3.

    Gamecocks Fall to Texas A&M in NCAA Tournament

    LOS ANGELES – No. 41 South Carolina dropped a 4-0 decision to No. 30 Texas A&M in the first round of NCAA Tournament action at Marks Stadium on the campus of Southern Cal. The Gamecocks (15-12) narrowly missed on the doubles point, and the veteran Aggies (14-14) took their advantage into singles early, jumping out to commanding leads in three of the six singles matches. South Carolina fought hard in the remaining three, and Chip Cox mounted a second-set rally, but it was not enough to hold off Texas A&M.

    South Carolina got off to a good start in doubles with the Nos. 2 and 3 matches picking up breaks early in the set. The Gamecocks’ No. 3 tandem of Kyle Koch and Carl Eguez kept it rolling by fighting off a pair of break points to go up 4-1. A second service break made it a 7-3 lead that Koch finished off by holding serve at love for an 8-3 outcome. Just after Ivan Machado and Thiago Pinheiro forced Texas A&M’s Alexis Klegou and Colin Hoover to work hard for a hold at 3-3, the Aggie tandem used the momentum to score a break to go up 4-3. The No. 37 team in the country of Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow held onto its early service break against the Gamecocks’ No. 23 duo of Cox and Nick Jones to score an 8-4 win, leaving the doubles point’s outcome to the No. 2 matchup. With Pinheiro serving at deuce and trailing 3-5, South Carolina suffered a second service break, which the Aggies used to build strength and close out the match 8-3.

    In singles, the Aggies opened with a pair of breaks early in the Nos. 5 and 6 matches and cruised to 6-1 wins in both first sets. The Gamecocks were holding strong on serve or up in three matches, while the No. 3 match saw Jones just down a break at 3-1. Pinheiro had the most control in his match, dominating Jeremy Efferding with breaks in two of his opponent’s first three service games. Serving with a 5-2 lead, the Gamecocks’ freshman sustained a charge from his counterpart but banged home some good serves to close out the set 6-2.

    Just before Pinheiro closed out his first set, Jones had a series of break points to even his No. 3 match against Colin Hoover, but the Aggie senior survived the barrage and won the set 6-4. No. 122 Andrew Adams traded breaks with Junior Ore in the No. 2 match just as Machado fell behind No. 33 Alexis Klegou by a break at 4-5. While Machado, ranked No. 115 this week, dropped his first set 6-4, Adams kept the pressure on Ore to what would become a first-set tiebreak.

    Meanwhile, Cox was battling back from his first-set setback in the No. 5 match, staying on serve with John Lewis. Hoover made it a 2-0 Aggie advantage with a 6-0 second set over Jones, and Koch was on the ropes against Withrow, trailing 1-4 in the No. 6 match. With Pinheiro up a break in the second set, and Adams continuing to fight off Ore, the Gamecocks needed Cox to push through to keep the match going and find some momentum.

    The sophomore from Myrtle Beach, S.C., was up to the challenge, fending off Lewis to send the set to a tiebreak, just as Adams and Ore began their first-set tiebreak. Cox bombed an ace to open the tiebreak, which Lewis answered by winning both of his service points before going on to split Cox’s next two serves for a 3-2 edge. The senior again claimed both of his points and split Cox’s for a 6-3 lead, which he closed out with a backhand tucked just inside the line to win the set 7-6 (3).

    Adams and Ore were locked in a battle in their tiebreak, splitting service points each time for a 5-4 Adams advantage. Ore won three of the last four points, however, to claim the hard-fought set 7-6 (5). On the other courts, Pinheiro and Machado were both on serve in their second sets, but Koch was in the final throws against Winthrow, forcing the Aggie freshman to serve for the match, which he did successfully for a 6-2 win to send Texas A&M into the second round.

    The Gamecocks finished the season, their second under head coach Josh Goffi, with a 15-12 overall record, more than double their win total from his inaugural season. With two Gamecocks in the national singles rankings and a doubles team in the top 25, South Carolina is back in the national picture. This was the Gamecocks’ first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2009, and Goffi returns five of his top six singles players.

    The lone departure from the regular lineup, Machado, closes his career among the program’s best doubles players. He holds the school record for dual-match doubles matches played in a career at 97, and he is tied overall in doubles matches played with 128. His 63 doubles victories stands 11th in school history, and his 44 dual-match wins on the doubles court are the eighth-most all-time.


    Florida men’s tennis advances to Second Round of NCAA Tournament, beating Navy 4-0

    Gainesville, Fla. — The 12th-seeded Florida men’s tennis team defeated Navy, 4-0, on Saturday afternoon at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex. The Gators advance to the second round and will face Harvard (23-2), who defeated Virginia Tech, 4-3, on Sunday at 2 p.m.

    “We’re very pleased to advance,” said head coach Andy Jackson. “Navy won their conference. We were ready to play, which is a sign of respect for Navy, but we also knew that we were better than Navy. The competition level will go up drastically tomorrow with a top 25 team [No. 24 Harvard]. We’re looking forward to having a chance to secure a spot in Athens for the Round of 16.”

    Florida (15-9, 7-4 SEC) wasted no time, jumping out to big leads over Navy (18-9) on all three courts in doubles action. Tripper Carleton and Nassim Slilam, pairing together for the first time all season, defeated Navy’s Peter McDonald and Calvin Mark, 8-4, on court one. UF’s Spencer Newman and Bob van Overbeek secured the doubles point with an 8-3 win over Marcus Rebersak and Tyler Burnett on court two. Michael Alford and Florent Diep led 6-3 when their match was halted.

    Slilam made quick work of McDonald at No. 3 singles, winning 6-0, 6-0 to give the Gators a 2-0 lead overall. On court one, van Overbeek earned another point for Florida with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Rebersak and shortly after Diep clinched the team victory with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Gutsche at No. 5 singles. The three remaining Gators all led in their matches when play was halted.

    Florida and Harvard will face each other for the seventh time in school history on Sunday, with the two teams splitting the previous six meetings, 3-3. The last meeting between the Gators and the Crimson came in 2005, when UF won 4-0.

    No. 3 Duke Hands South Carolina 4-0 Loss in NCAA Tournament

    DURHAM, N.C. (May 12, 2012) — The 30th-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team suffered a 4-0 defeat at the hands of No. 3 Duke on Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Ambler Tennis Stadium in Durham, N.C. Duke improved to 27-2 with the win and advanced to Athens, Ga., for the NCAA Championships, while South Carolina ended the 2012 season with a 16-9 record. The Gamecocks have competed in 18 consecutive NCAA Tournaments and won at least one round during those 18 matches.

    South Carolina faltered in the doubles point, losing on courts one and three. At one, Jaklin Alawi and Dijana Stojic fell behind 4-0 to Ester Goldfeld and Mary Clayton before picking up a game. They managed to get the score to 5-2 before Goldfeld and Clayton won three straight games to close out the match with an 8-2 victory.

    The Gamecocks’ Josefin Andersson and Katerina Popova were down 4-1 on court three to Hanna Mar and Annie Mulholland after winning the first game of the match. They trimmed the margin to 4-2 and held steady at 5-3, but Mulholland and Mar eventually closed out the contest with an 8-4 victory to give the Blue Devils a 1-0 advantage heading to singles play. Andersson and Popova ended the season as South Carolina’s most productive doubles unit with a 17-9 overall record and an 11-5 mark in dual matches.

    At No. 2 doubles, Beatrice Capra and Rachel Kahan held a 4-0 advantage against Dominika Kanakova and Anya Morgina. Later, the Duke duo led 6-1 and was ahead 7-3 when the No. 3 doubles match decided the doubles point, suspending play.

    Duke got its second point from the No. 4 singles position where Kahan defeated Kanakova in straight sets 6-1, 7-5. Goldfeld won next, fighting off a 4-3 deficit in the second set to upend Alawi 6-3, 6-4 at the No. 2 singles position. The final point came courtesy of Monica Turewicz on court six when she downed Adriana Pereira 6-2, 7-6 to clinch the match for Duke.

    Cats Roll Hoosiers to Advance to Third Consecutive Sweet 16
    LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Behind a strong performance in doubles and three impressive singles wins, including a come-from-behind effort from sophomore No. 80 Tom Jomby, the sixth-ranked University of Kentucky men’s tennis team earned its third consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 with a 4-0 victory over No. 26 Indiana on Saturday at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center in Lexington, Ky.
    The victory for Kentucky (28-5) gives UK three consecutive Sweet 16 appearances for only the second time in school history. UK advanced to three straight Sweet 16s from 1987-89 before missing postseason play in 1990. The Wildcats will play Friday, May 18 at 4 p.m. ET against the winner of No. 11 Stanford and No. 39 Santa Clara, who will meet in the second round Sunday in Stanford, Calif. UK and Stanford have met once already this season with the Cardinal posting a 4-1 victory over UK in the National Indoor Championships. UK and Santa Clara have never met in school history.
    “Well, we’ve only done it (three consecutive Sweet 16s) one other time and I’ve been here 30 years so that kind of says it all,” UK head coach Dennis Emery said on advancing to a third-straight Sweet 16. “It’s really hard to keep it going. We’re going to Athens (Georgia) with a chance. We went to the Elite Eight last year, and we’re going to Athens with a real chance to go further. It’s not going to be easy, but we have the athletic ability, the composure as well as the experience that I think we can do it.”
    UK’s win over Indiana is its 13th victory in its last 14 matches, and the eighth consecutive win at home. All told, Kentucky ends the season with an impressive 16-1 record at home and a 62-10 posting at Boone since the start of the 2009 season. The victory moves Kentucky’s record to 23-5 this season against ranked foes, while UK’s 28 wins in 2012 is one off its school record 29 wins set a season ago.
    This was the fourth consecutive season that Kentucky has hosted the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament, boasting a 7-1 record in those events. Last season, UK took down Cleveland State and Louisville to advance to the Sweet 16 before defeating Florida to punch its ticket to the Elite Eight for only the fourth time in school history. This is Kentucky’s 23rd appearance in the NCAA Tournament, posting a 21-22 overall record in the event.
    Kentucky got off to a quick start in the match by taking big leads on courts one and three in doubles action. Senior Eric Quigley and sophomore Panav Jha started the scoring in doubles, taking an 8-5 win over Isade Juneau and Jeremy Langer at No. 1 doubles. With the match on serve at court two between Alex Musialek/Anthony Rossi and Josh MacTaggart/Alastair Barnes, UK would clinch the doubles point at court three. After Alejandro Gomez and Jomby jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the match, the IU duo of Stephen Vogl and Will Kendall bounced back to cut the score to 6-5 before Jomby was able to hold serve and increase the lead to 7-5. IU would then hold serve to cut the lead back to one at 7-6 before Gomez held serve to give Kentucky the 8-6 win and clinch the first point of the match.
    UK is now 21-0 this season when it wins the doubles point.
    “I thought we came out and probably played our best doubles point of the year,” Emery said. “Certainly the first 20 minutes we played our best doubles point of the year. I thought that really set the tone for the match, even though we kind of went away a little bit there for a while at the No. 3 doubles. They (Indiana) had a break point that could have made it six-all, but I thought our guys did a really good job of righting the ship. Then at No. 1, I thought (Panav) Jha really played well, they’re All-Americans (Eric Quigley and Panav) and seeded at the NCAA Tournament, but I thought it was his (Jha’s) best doubles match by far this year.”
    Quigley, ranked third in the nation in singles by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, played one of his best matches of the season Saturday, defeating Juneau in straight sets at the No. 1 singles position. Quigley and Juneau each held serve to start the match before Quigley would win 11 consecutive games to roll to the 6-1, 6-0 victory. The win for Quigley, which took 45 minutes to complete, moved his season record to 49-6 and his career posting to 167-45. UK is now 24-2 this season when Quigley wins a singles match.
    “Well, he played fantastic in singles and in doubles,” Emery said about Quigley. “I think that’s a real credit to him. It’s a huge match for us. So, sometimes you have a tendency to think that they may play a little tight. Obviously, he really turned it loose. It wasn’t necessarily a great matchup for him, but he really took care of it. He really took care of business.
    “Certainly, he’s our all-time career wins leader. Really, above all of that he’s probably one of the most productive players that we’ve ever had. In singles and doubles, he’s a five-time All-American. There’s really almost no way you can describe what he’s done for us and our program. I think he took it from, we had a good culture, but now we have a championship culture.”
    Jomby gave Kentucky a key point at court four when he used a come-from-behind effort to grab the win over Vogl. After dropping the first set 6-4, Jomby turned on in the second set to post a 6-3 win and then fought off a break in the third set to grab a 6-4 win and earn the match. The native of Nantes, France is now 30-11 on the season and 19-6 in dual matches. Kentucky is 19-1 this season when he wins a singles match.
    “I thought we got off to a little bit of a slow start in singles,” Emery said. “When we win the doubles point we’re 21-0 this season. So, I think we tried to lay back a little bit and Indiana is just too good to do that. They’re a very good team, and what they do very well is fight hard. I thought it showed a lot of character for our guys to come back. For Jomby to be able to come back from being down a set to go on and win his match (was huge).”
    Sophomore Grant Roberts would seal the 4-0 victory for Kentucky with his straight-set win at court six. Roberts jumped out to a big lead in the match at court six over Dimitrije Tasic, before Tasic came back to cut the lead 5-4. The UK sophomore would earn a key break over Tasic to seal the first set 6-4. Roberts then controlled the second set 6-3 to earn the win. The native of Lexington, Ky., is now 16-6 on the season and 14-3 in dual matches.
    Three matches remained on court when Kentucky sealed the victory. Rossi, who is ranked 22nd in the nation in singles, had won the first set over Langer 6-4 and was leading 3-1 in the second at court three. Indiana’s MacTaggert had claimed the first over UK’s No. 15 Musialek, while the two were on serve in the second set. Finally, at court five, No. 111 Gomez was in a third set with Will Kendall.

    Florida Women’s Tennis Earns Trip to NCAA Round of 16, Defeats Washington State 6-0
    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Senior Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) capped an outstanding home career by leading the second-seeded University of Florida women’s tennis team to a 6-0 victory against Washington State in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships held at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex on Saturday.
    Florida will face Michigan (21-7) in the NCAA Round of 16 on Thursday, May 17 in Athens, Ga., beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The 15th-ranked Wolverines defeated Texas A&M, 4-3, in their second round match. Florida is 2-0 all-time against Michigan, taking the 5-2 decision on Feb. 12, 2010 in the ITA National Team Indoor Round of 16 and the 5-0 victory on May 15, 1997, in the NCAA Round of 16.
    The Gators improved to 13-1 all-time in NCAA Round of 32 matches and will be making their 29th overall appearance in the Round of 16, including their eighth straight trip.
    Mather, who has helped Florida to a 54-0 record at home during her four-year career, earned wins on the doubles and singles courts Saturday, as she provided the first singles victory with a 6-3, 6-2 decision against Andjela Kankaras and earn her 16th consecutive win. Mather’s first set was on-serve through five games before the Gator senior earned a break and took a 4-2 lead. She broke again in the eighth game and served out for the first frame, carrying that momentum into the second set where she jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Kankaras held on her next two services games, as did Mather, who earned one last break in the seventh game before serving out to take the win in her final home match.
    Sophomore Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) continued her impressive play showing in NCAA team singles matches, as she improved to 6-0 all-time in NCAA dual match singles action after her 6-0 6-2 victory against Charlotte Koning that gave Florida a 3-0 lead . Cercone won the first eight games of the match before Koning held to break up the bagel. The Gator sophomore earned another break in the fifth game that was the first of three straight breaks in the set, as Cercone ended the trend by serving out for the victory.
    The matches on courts one, two and four all were playing match point at the same time and the Gators won that final point on all three to claim the 6-0 decision.
    Sophomore Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) polished off her 6-4, 6-0 win on court four against Elizavete Luzina, just moments before junior Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) downed Liudimila Vasilieva 6-3, 6-1 and junior Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) defeated Elisabeth Fournier, 6-2, 6-3.
    Oyen found herself trailing midway through the first set against Luzina, who earned a break in the fifth game and Oyen wasn’t able to square the match until breaking in the eighth game and holding for a 5-4 lead. She then broke Luzina at love to take the set and won the first four points on her serve to take a 1-0 lead in the second as she seemed to assume the momentum for the rest of the match en route to the win. Oyen improved to 20-1 in dual matches this year and collected her 49th career singles win.
    Will was in an early hole on court one, where Vasilieva opened with a break and held a love to take a quick 2-0 lead. Will was able to get the set back on-serve with a break in the sixth game and then held, before winning the next two games to take the frame. She rode that into the second set, where she jumped out to a 4-0 lead, before Vasilieva was able to hold serve and avoid the bagel, as Will won the final two games and earn her ninth consecutive victory and improve to 22-1 overall year, including 17-1 in dual match action.
    Embree opened with a 4-0 lead against Fournier, holding at love on her first trip to the baseline. She held serve throughout that first frame and won it 6-2. The two traded breaks early in the second set, which was on-serve until Embree broke Fournier in the seventh game and held for a 5-3 lead. The Gator All-American then earned one last break, losing just one point on Fournier’s serve to earn her 15th straight win.
    UF sophomore Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) led Olga Musilovich, 7-5, 5-1, when the Gators clinched the dual match and play was halted.
    The Gators came out strong again on the doubles court, where their top two teams dominated 8-1 and 8-2 and captured the doubles point for the important 1-0 lead.
    Florida’s top-ranked tandem of Sofie Oyen and Allie Will raced out to a 7-0 lead before Ksenia Googe and Andjela Kankaras were able to hold and prevent the shutout, before Will used her powerful serve to close out the first individual decision of the dual match in 37 minutes.
    Lauren Embree and Joanna Mather continued their impressive run together, as they polished off Liudmila Vasilieva and Elizaveta Luzina to clinch the doubles point and win their 22nd consecutive match, a run tied for the fourth longest in program history. Embree and Mather improved to 25-2 overall this year, including 22-0 in dual match play and 51-7 all-time in their career together.

    Lady Vol Tennis Season Ends At Hands Of Virginia, 4-1

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - A promising season that saw the Tennessee Lady Vol tennis team rise to as high as No. 5 in the national rankings came to a close Saturday afternoon at the Snyder Tennis Center in the same manner that it started, with a loss to Virginia - this time 4-1.

    Playing at regional host Virginia, the Lady Vols (15-13) were competing for a chance to advance to the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 for the 10th time in program history.

    But Virginia won a competitive doubles point and took five of the first six opening sets in singles, never allowing Tennessee to gain any momentum.

    Tennessee, which opened the season 9-3, totaled six Top 25 wins and had a 14-5 record when playing with a complete lineup, saw five players miss at least singles action in a combined 25 matches in 2012 due to multiple injuries and illnesses.

    "We've had a broken foot, a shoulder problem, an ACL tear, strep throat, a sprained ankle and just a plethora of injuries that you can't afford with a small team," co-head coach Mike Patrick said. "Our girls hung together and did what they could do. We made it to the tournament, played a good match yesterday and competed as hard as we could today."

    But the Lady Vols return six players in 2013 that saw action this season.

    "We have a lot of young players and we have some new kids coming in," Patrick said. "The future looks bright. Our whole program is based on a lot of hard work and when you're not able to do that hard work, you come up a little bit short at the end. It's not from a lack of trying. We had a lot of things to overcome and we did the best we could."

    That mark includes three returning freshmen that made up the fifth-ranked recruiting class a year ago, a unit bolstered by the addition of Jesse Grace after the fact.

    "I know how good they can be," Patrick said. "They were more snake bit than anybody. Caitlyn, Sarah and Jo have all faced some major obstacles this year. Hopefully, if adversity is going to make them stronger, we're going to be pretty darn strong next year."

    Tennessee scored its lone point Saturday via Kata Szekely's 6-1, 6-4 win over No. 118 Li Xi, which brought UT within 2-1 before Virginia tacked on its final two points.

    Szekely was one of three Lady Vols selected to the NCAA Singles Tournament in Athens, Ga., which begins May 23. She'll also participate in the doubles tournament with Natalie Pluskota.

    Szekely enters the individual tournament with six consecutive wins, which is a season-best and matches a career-high for the third time.

    The Lady Vols played a tightly contested doubles point, which Virginia captured with victories on courts two and three.

    Maria Fuccillo and Lindsey Hardenbergh defeated UT's Joanna Henderson and Jesse Grace, 8-0, to put the Cavaliers in position to take the point.

    Brynn Boren and Caitlyn Williams traded games back and forth with 43rd-ranked Hana Tomljanovic and Erin Vierra to lead 4-3 before the Virginia duo reeled off three straight games for a 6-4 advantage.

    Boren and Williams bounced back to tie it at six, but Tomljanovic and Vierra closed out the match and the doubles point with an 8-6 win. Pluskota and Szekely led 5-4 at the time, but did not complete their match.

    Virginia went ahead 2-0 with Vierra's win over Henderson before Szekely shrunk UT's deficit back to one.

    Caryssa Peretz and Hardenbergh closed out the match almost simultaneously with straight-set wins over the Lady Vols.

    Virginia will play Duke on Thursday in Athens, Ga., while Tennessee awaits the individual tournaments that follow.

    Boren, Pluskota and Szekely will all compete in singles, while Pluskota and Szekely will represent Tennessee in doubles. Draws will be released on May 22.

    "We'll let them know what our expectations are and I think they know what it is," Patrick said of the promising future. "We're going to come back. We're going to be older, wiser, stronger, faster, healthier and all those things."

    No. 8 Tide Topped in Heartbreaker to Georgia Tech, 4-3
    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 8 seed Alabama women’s tennis team fell 4-3 to Georgia Tech in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship on Saturday at the Alabama Tennis Complex. With the loss, the Crimson Tide ends the season at 18-5, while the Yellow Jackets improve to 16-11 and advance to the Round of 16 in Athens, Ga.
    “Today was a heartbreaker for the team,” said Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz. “Definitely give credit to Georgia Tech. They came out well prepared, however I think we did a lot of things well and a lot of things right. We knew it was going to be a battle. In the end, it came down to a point or two. I told the team in the locker room that I was proud of them. It doesn’t change because we lost a tennis match. We stand for a lot more than one match.”
    Georgia Tech edged out Alabama in doubles to clinch the point, winning on courts two and three. First to finish was the matchup on court three, where the Yellow Jackets’ Caroline Lilley and Muriel Wacker posted an 8-3 win over the Tide’s Taylor Lindsey and Yasmine Ebada. Lilley and Wacker jumped out to a 5-0 advantage before Lindsey and Ebada won three straight to close the gap to two, however, the Georgia Tech team would go on to win the final three games to take the win. Alabama evened the field, winning 9-7 on court one as the Tide’s 14th-ranked duo of Alexa Guarachi and Courtney McLane held on for the victory over the Yellow Jackets’ 23rd-ranked team of Jillian O’Neill and Alex Anghelescu. The point would come down to the match on court two that was close throughout. Alabama’s 41st-ranked duo of Antonia Foehse and Mary Anne Macfarlane picked up an early break, but Georgia Tech’s tandem of Lynn Blau and Elizabeth Kilborn would break back and get the match back on serve until taking a 7-6 lead. Blau and Kilborn would serve for the win and eventually close out the match despite a comeback in the final game from the Tide duo.
    Foehse would even the match at 1-1 as she collected the first win in singles, topping Blau 7-5, 6-0 on court five. Shortly after her match ended, play was moved indoors as inclement weather approached the area. Georgia Tech would reclaim the lead with a win on court four as Anghelescu posted a 6-4, 6-4 win over Alex Clay. The Yellow Jackets pulled in front 3-1 with another singles win, this time on court six as Christina Ngo topped Lindsey, 6-0, 6-3. The remaining three matches would all play into a third set with the first going in favor of Alabama as McLane came back to beat Kilborn 5-7 6-3, 6-2 on court three. The Tide’s Macfarlane, ranked 24th, would give Alabama another come-from-behind win, tying the match at 3-3, as she took down 11th-ranked O’Neill 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 on court one. The match came down to the decision on court two, the closest of the afternoon. No. 52 Guarachi took the first set 6-4, before Lilley came back to win the second in a tiebreaker 7-6(3). Guarachi came out blazing in the third set and pulled ahead 5-3, but Lilley came back to hold in the next game and eventually take then next three after that to win the third set 7-5.
    “This team has played together all year,” added Mainz. “They played for each other, by each other no matter what. They are the epitome of the word team. I think Taylor and Courtney have been instrumental in the success and leadership of this program in their four years here. They will be missed, not just for their tennis, but also for their strength of character and leadership on and off the court. They have been solid for us, and taught the younger players to carry the torch.”
    Despite being out of the team championship, Alabama will send a trio to the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships as Macfarlane and Guarachi will represent the Tide in singles, while Guarachi and McLane will pair up in doubles.


    URBANA, Ill. – A match that lasted nearly five hours came down to the final excruciating points as the 17th-ranked Auburn men’s tennis team dropped a heart-wrenching 4-3 decision to No. 16 Illinois, ending the Tigers’ NCAA Tournament run in the second round at Illinois’ Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex.

    The Tigers finish the 2012 dual match season with an 18-10 record, giving Auburn its most wins in a season since 2002. The loss marked Auburn’s sixth straight in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Illinois (19-7) will advance to the round of 16 for the ninth time in 10 years.

    “What can you say about a match like that?” Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. “The guys left it all out there. We got off to a slow start in doubles and really, really battled back. We put ourselves in a position to win. Even though we lost the doubles point, I didn’t feel bad. I thought we were carrying some momentum into singles, and we did. Ultimately, we came up a little bit short. I’m proud of these guys and everything they did.

    “We’ve been in tight matches like that over the last few years, but not in that situation, for a Sweet 16 berth. But would you rather lose 4-0 and be done in three hours, or would you rather lose the last match of the day after a five-hour battle? I’ll take the five-hour match, because you know you’re in the battle. And I thought we proved that today.”

    With five of the six singles matches decided in straight sets, it all came down to a three-set affair that lasted nearly four hours on court three between Auburn’s Daniel Cochrane and Illinois’ Bruno Abdelnour. Cochrane lost a first-set tiebreaker, but came back to take control in the second set and gain a 6-2 win.

    As the wind picked up and the crowd of nearly 500 Illinois fans gathered around court three, the players started off by trading breaks to get back on serve after two games. Abdelnour, however, found a way to break Cochrane’s serve and take a 3-1 lead. Both players held from there until Abdelnour had a chance to serve for the match at 5-3. Cochrane had two break point chances at the end, but two extremely close calls – one down the far sideline and one just beyond the baseline – went in Illinois’ favor, and Abdelnour eventually won the match.

    “There were a couple of things in that match with Dan that you can’t control,” Shore said. “It’s tough on the road when it comes down to crunch time, and things don’t really go in your favor. But that’s the way it is. The NCAA committee felt like we shouldn’t have hosted, and that’s a hard one to swallow right now. I don’t think we lose this match at Auburn. Illinois fed off their crowd a little bit at the end, and we would have fed off our crowd at home. But we put ourselves in a position to win, and you can’t ask any more than that. I’m proud of them.

    “You can’t say enough about (Dan). He’s grown up as a player. He went through a rough stretch this year, but he was a warrior today. He left it out there. I’m so impressed with him as a person and a player, and I’m looking forward to the next two years with him.”

    Auburn fell behind 1-0 early as Illinois won the doubles point; the Illini improved to 14-0 on the year when taking an early lead. Despite falling behind early, the Tigers clawed their way back into the match on every court. But the ninth-ranked team of Alex Stamchev and Andreas Mies fell in what was an outstanding match against 21st-ranked Dennis Nevolo and Roy Kalmanovich, 8-6, on court one. Illinois then clinched the point as Cochrane and Lukas Ollert dropped a hard-fought decision on court three to Stephen Hoh and Abdelnour, 8-6. Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso were on serve with Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon when play was halted.

    The Fighting Illini took a 2-0 lead when Hoh defeated Lengsfeld in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, on court five. But from there, things got interesting.

    Auburn got on the board as Ollert downed Guignon, 6-3, 6-2, at the No. 6 singles slot to make it 2-1. Just a few minutes later, 68th-ranked Stamchev used the momentum from winning a first-set tiebreaker to take down 31st-ranked Roy Kalmanovich, 7-6 (5), 6-3, and knot the team score at two apiece. It was the highest-ranked player Stamchev has ever defeated in singles, and it came in what turned out to be his final singles match as a Tiger.

    “What a competitor,” Shore said of Stamchev. “He left it all out there today. Got us a huge win in singles. But I can’t say enough about Stam and what he’s meant to the program. And he gets to play some more. He gets to play doubles in the NCAA Tournament. But I know he’s really disappointed right now. He’s meant so much to the program, and we wouldn’t have been in this position without him.”

    Auburn took the lead at 3-2 as Lopasso earned a huge 6-4, 7-6 (7) win over Kopinski  at the No. 4 singles slot, and the remaining two matches loomed large.

    Mies, ranked 18th in the country, took No. 7 Nevolo to a first-set tiebreaker, but fell behind with a 7-5 setback. The players stayed on serve throughout the second set, but Nevolo managed to break Mies at 5-4 to clinch the victory, 7-6 (5), 6-4, and set up the thriller on court three.



    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — With six Vols making their NCAA Tennis Championship debuts, Tennessee caught the momentum and never looked back in a 4-1 first-round victory against UNC Wilmington on Saturday at the Cone-Kenfield Center.

    After taking the doubles point, the 17th-ranked Vols (15-13) got straight-set wins from Taylor Patrick, Edward Jones before Hunter Reese clinched the match on court 2 by beating Chris Cooprider 6-1, 6-3.

    Tennessee now takes on host and 15th-seeded North Carolina on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the second round. The Tar Heels quickly defeated College of Charleston 4-0 in their match Saturday.

    Sunday’s winner advances to the NCAA final site in Athens, Ga. The Vols have reached the final site the last four seasons. Tennessee and North Carolina have not played each other since 2000, a 4-2 win for the Vols on their way to the NCAA semifinals.

    Patrick, sophomore Jarryd Chaplin and redshirt freshman Hunter Reese had witnessed the NCAA Championships before, but that was only from the stands cheering as their teammates rolled to the title match and the quarterfinals the last two years. For the rest of the freshmen, the trip to North Carolina was their first NCAA experience.

    Only Jones and senior Bryan Swartz had actually played in the national tournament, with Jones leading the way by far with his 11th career NCAA lineup appearance Saturday.

    “We’ve been waiting for this all year really; you do all your training in the fall and ultimately it leads up to the NCAAs,” Patrick said. “For me, I’ve been here for two years. I’ve been through the NCAA Tournament but I’ve never played in it. It was a bit of a nerve-racking experience.

    “I still played well out there but nerves were getting in the mix of play, making some nervous mistakes. I settled down after a little bit and got a hold of the match and felt good out there.”

    Freshmen Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese jumped out to an early lead at the top of the doubles lineup in an 8-4 victory over Cooprider and Kosta Blank, good for their 23rd win together of the season.

    Jones and Jarryd Chaplin, who moved into the national rankings for the first time this week at No. 73, lost four games in a row midway through the match but recovered for an 8-5 win against Petro Mol and Michael Reilly on court 2 to clinch the doubles point.

    Tennessee kept rolling to start singles play, winning five of six first sets.

    Patrick was first off the court for Tennessee, beating Reilly 6-4, 6-0 on court 6 as matches starting wrapping up in the bottom half of the lineup. UNCW cut Tennessee lead to 2-1 when Mol beat Chaplin 6-4, 6-1 on court 4.

    Jones beat Kaue Pereira 6-2, 6-3 on court 5 to put the Vols ahead 3-1, putting all the attention on the top three courts.

    With Libietis still early in his second set on court 1 and freshman Brandon Fickey starting the third on court 3, Reese was in position to finish off the match for Tennessee. He broke Cooprider to clinch the team victory and extend his winning streak to three matches.

    “I did a good job of treating it like every other match, and I feel like everybody did,” Reese said. “I told Sam the other day, between the hotels and the practices, everything feels normal. That’s a really good thing. It’s a really good experience for me.”


    Georgia Women’s Tennis Punches Ticket To NCAA Round Of 16

    ATHENS-----The sixth-ranked Georgia women’s tennis team advanced to the round of 16 of the NCAA Championships with a 4-3 win over No. 24 Clemson here Saturday. The sixth-seeded Bulldogs will face the No. 11 seed Texas Thursday, May 17 at 4 p.m. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

    Maho Kowase clinched the win with a 0-6, 7-5, 6-1 win at No. 3 as the Bulldogs improved to 22-0 all-time in early round NCAA Tournament matches played in Athens.

    Georgia (23-4) won the doubles point and eventually led 3-0 before Clemson (26-10) rallied to tie it at 3-3. After falling in the first set, Kowase trailed 5-2 in the second before mounting a furious comeback.

    The match lasted five hours and 20 minutes and included a rain delay during the doubles point. The teams moved indoors to finish doubles, then returned outdoors for the singles matches.

    Senior Chelsey Gullickson also won a pair of matches to set the school record for the most singles and doubles wins. The Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., native is 123-33 in singles and 101-40 in doubles for a total of 224 career wins.

    “This was an epic battle,” said Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace. “Clemson played fantastic the entire match. After the long break before singles, every player came out here and gave everything they had. Maho wasn’t playing bad, but her opponent was just outplaying her. For her to come back and win in three sets is amazing. She’s such a hard worker and such a fighter. I couldn’t be prouder or Maho and the entire team.”

    In doubles, Gullickson and Lauren Herring topped Beatrice Gumulya and Klara Vyskocilova, 8-6, then Lilly Kimbell and Kowase clinched the point with an 8-6 win over Monika Kochanova and Romy Kolzer at No. 3.

    Seventh-ranked Gullickson cruised past Keri Won, 6-0, 6-2 at No. 1 to extend the Georgia lead to 2-0, then No. 96 Kate Fuller made it 3-0 with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Nelly Ciolkowski at No. 5.

    Clemson’s rally began at No. 6 where Kolzer topped Kimbell, 7-5, 7-5, then Josipa Bek came back to beat Nadja Gilchrist at No. 2, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. The Tigers tied it at 3-3 when Beatrice Gumulya defeated No. 70 Herring at No. 4, 7-6(1), 1-6, 6-1. That set the stage for Kowase, who cliched her fourth match of the season.


    No. 25 Baylor Edges No. 9 State In NCAA Second Round, 4-3

    STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State’s men’s tennis squad (20-7) fell in NCAA Second Round action to No. 25 Baylor (19-11) 4-3 Saturday in an intense marathon match. The epic contest was played both outdoors at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre and indoors at McCarthy Gym, and lasted a total of six hours and 42 minutes, excluding a two-and-half-hour rain delay.

    The loss concluded MSU’s stellar season as a team as the Bulldogs claimed their second straight SEC Western Division crown and posted their best record and highest national ranking since 1998.

    “This was a tough loss today, especially for our seniors,” head coach Per Nilsson said. “I was really proud of Zach’s (White) efforts and this was a great season. I am thankful for the seniors that put their time and effort into this program and we are going to truly miss them.”

    The day started outdoors with doubles at an altered match time hoping to avoid inclement weather and the match did just that for roughly two-and-a-half hours.

    As doubles swung in the balance during a back-and-forth battle on all courts, Baylor would battle to take the decision from MSU in a big tiebreaker on court 3.

    Competing for the Bulldogs in the No. 2 spot was the 47th-ranked duo of Louis Cant and Malte Stropp. With both parties holding serve, the No. 45 Bear tandem of Kike Grangeiro and Roberto Maytin had a 7-6 advantage and broke the Bulldogs to take an 8-6 decision.

    The clinching point then came from the third spot where the MSU pair of Zach White and Ethan Wilkinson had battled to an 8-8 tiebreaker with Julian Bley and Marko Krickovic of Baylor. However, the Bears would hold their ground and take a 9-8(1) win and clinch the doubles point for BU.

    Court 1 was abandoned where the 25th-ranked duo of George Coupland and Artem Ilyushin held a 7-6 advantage and double match point over Baylor’s Diego Galeano and Mate Zsiga.

    In singles, all but four first sets had been decided before play was suspended due to rain around 12:30 p.m. With a forecasted afternoon full of rain, tournament officials moved the match indoors to McCarthy Gymnasium with play resuming at 3 p.m.

    With only two courts competing at a time, the No. 1 and 2 positions were the first to resume.

    In the top spot for the Bulldogs was 13th-ranked Ilyushin where he was facing No. 17 Zsiga of BU. Battling back and forth in the first, Zsiga would outlast Ilyushin with a tight 7-5 first set triumph. However, Ilyushin would fight back as he gained a 3-0 advantage to begin the second. Unfortunately, Zsiga would allow nothing more as he downed Ilyushin 7-5, 6-3 to give Baylor a 2-0 advantage.

    However, 88th-ranked James Chaudry of MSU would close the gap on the Bears as he plowed through No. 86 Maytin 6-3, 6-2 on court 2 to close the gap to 2-1.

    Again, Baylor would extend their lead as the No. 3 and 4 positions began play. The Bears’ Krickovic downed MSU’s 74th-ranked Stropp 6-2, 6-4 on court 3 to put Baylor ahead by two points with three courts remaining.

    In the fifth spot for the Bulldogs was 50th-ranked Cant facing Baylor’s Grangeiro. After taking a 5-0 advantage in the first, Cant would allow four straight games before sealing the first set 6-4 (all outdoors). One inside, the second proved to be much easier as Cant took a 6-4, 6-2 win to close the gap to 3-2.

    MSU would then even the match on court 4 where No. 56 Coupland was facing Galeano of Baylor. Taking a quick 6-2 decision in the first, Coupland would drop the second in the same fashion. With the both sides holding serve to 2-2, Coupland was able to break his Baylor foe and hold serve to take a 4-2 advantage. Holding serve the remainder of the match, Coupland earned a hard-fought 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 triumph and tied the match at 3-3 overall.
    In what proved to be the deciding match of the day, MSU’s Zach White was in an all-out battle in the No. 6 position with Bley of Baylor. Taking the court following the conclusion of the first five matches, the two would fight through a first set to a 6-6 tiebreaker, which was resumed at the 3-3 mark indoors. Unfortunately, Bley would take a 7-6(5) first set. As both sides held serve, the second would be decided in another intense tiebreaker. As the players went back and forth, White fought off an incredible six match points. But his battle would ultimately fall short as Bley would take the second set and match 7-6(5), 7-6(10).