Trinity’s Bobby Cocanougher and Cory Kowal fall in DIII final

Oberlin, Ohio – Trinity University Tigers juniors Bobby Cocanougher and Cory Kowal lost a tightly played 6-3, 6-4 decision Sunday to No. 2 seeds Brian Pybas and Marc Vartabedian of California-Santa Cruz in the NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Championships doubles final.

Cocanougher, from Southlake, Texas (Carroll); and Kowal, from Austin, Texas (Anderson); had become the first Tiger players to reach an NCAA championship match since 2001, when Sloan Rush and Ed Rahn accomplished that feat.

Earlier in the day, the unseeded Trinity All-Americans outfought top seeds Andrew Lee and Andrew Thomson of Middlebury 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in the semifinals at Oberlin College. It marked the Tiger team’s second straight trip to the national semifinals.

The 90-minute title match was closer than the score indicated. Both teams held serve in the first set, until Cocanougher was broken, giving the Banana Slugs a 5-3 lead. The second set also was a battle, particularly in the seventh and eighth games. Cocanougher gave Trinity a 4-3 lead, which included a service ace in the process. The Slugs evened the score at 4-4, in a game which went back and forth to deuce a number of times. Santa Cruz then broke the left-handed Kowal, and led 5-4.

Trinity began the 16-team doubles tournament last Friday with a 7-6 (2), 6-2 victory over David Maldow and Andrew Wang of Johns Hopkins. Cocanougher and Kowal came from behind to defeat third seeds Isaac Stein and Max Woods of Washington-St. Louis 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

The Tigers are led by first-year head coach Russell McMindes, a former Trinity standout. Trinity (18-10 in dual matches), won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship, the NCAA West regional, and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps eliminated the Tigers 5-2 in the team tournament.

It’s been one week… one fans thoughts on last Friday

It’s been one week…

Yes, I am stealing from a Barenaked Ladies song, but I believe it is apropos. It was a week ago that a couple of Texas teams experienced what can be termed as Black Friday. Of course Baylor doesn’t feel that way, but please don’t interrupt my drama.

That song also came on my headphones this evening first when I pressed shuffle before I started to workout. I believe in fate.

I haven’t been able to write about what happened for a variety of reasons, including a lack of knowledge, information and desire. Every day for a week, I have thought of how I would evaluate the two matches, but have not been able to pull the trigger and actually commit anything to paper.

I now think I am ready. Like I said, it’s been one week.

Let me preface this by saying this will come from the point of view of a fan who followed along online from 1000 miles away. I have no inside knowledge and have not spoken to anyone involved. And away we go…

I’ll go ahead and give you the background starting with Thursday night. My brother was in town, visiting from California with his wife and kids. They usually come in once a year and drove up from our parents’ house in San Antonio for the afternoon and evening. My oldest immediately started feeling bad and we thought he was starting to get sick. Of course he does and I sleep no more than 90 minutes at a time for the entire night.

Friday comes and I am doggedly tired and staying at home with my son for the morning. I venture to work in the afternoon but can barely see straight. I get home and my younger son starts to get sick. Good times. Strep throat all around. When the Baylor-Texas A&M match moves indoors, I follow along with the scores for a bit.

The Aggies take the doubles point and I think that it’s on for them to beat the Bears for the 3rd time this season. I decide to relax and catch up on Friday Night Lights. I speed through the past week’s episode and am about to start the recent one when I check my computer.

Baylor is crushing the Aggies in singles. It is not even close. They have won four first sets in decisive fashion. I am stunned. I know Texas A&M wasn’t real excited to have to play Baylor, and you kind of expect a competitive match, but for the Bears to blow them out like this is unreal.

I get this weird feeling in my stomach, but return to the FNL viewing.

After a segment or two, I check and Baylor has finished off the Aggies. Baylor wins 1-2, 3-3, 1-2 and 2-1 at 1, 2, 5 and 6, respectively. Stunning, absolutely stunning. Yes, it is a minor shock that Baylor wins, but the fact that the Aggies couldn’t get anything going across the board is just plain unbelievable.

How do you get your rear end handed to you like that to end the season? It sure gives you a lot to chew on for eight months? You have a great team returning next fall if everyone comes back, but will they? It just leaves a ton of questions before the next season.

Texas and Oklahoma are in the doubles point and it looks like it might be close.

I finish watching FNL and Texas has won the doubles point over OU, but only the first four singles matches are on for some reason (we find out later that the last two courts were still wet from the earlier rains). Texas is up at 1, but trailing at 2 and 3, with 4 being tight.

I am not there, but it just doesn’t feel right. A team like Texas, ranked #3 and having played well all season, should take control of the matches early and kill the momentum, but just isn’t. To me, it seemed like they let the Sooners (and the crowd) get into the match. When that happens, you give a team hope and they fight even harder.

The last two matches do get on, but form holds in the first four and OU takes a surprising 3-2 lead, forcing Teas to play from behind.

Now I am exhausted, but I cannot possibly go to sleep now. It is too far into it. Also every half hour or so, I need to go down and comfort a sick kid.

For awhile it looks like Texas might pull it out, as Mladenov wins the first set. Josh Zavala takes forever to rally and win his first set and the Longhorns are in this. Mladenov gets down a break in the second, but comes back to even the match. He eventually loses the set in a tiebreak.

He gets down a break in the third also, but rallies again, winning three-straight games to take a 5-4 lead. At the same time, Zavala has a match point in the second set, but cannot capitalize, eventually losing the set and forcing a third.

By this point it is past 12:30 a.m. in Austin and I am trying to sleep on my keyboard, waking up every few minutes to check the score. I also have the video on for the match at line six.

Mladenov can’t find the range, losing the last three games and the match.

I tweet the result and head straight to bed. I don’t even turn off the computer. I am too tired.

Whereas the Baylor-A&M result was surprising to me, but plausible, this one is completely outer-worldly. For the Longhorns to give this match away they did after the season they had is a crime. I don’t really want to take anything away from OU. They executed in the singles and just took that match away. Texas is a better team, top-to-bottom, but on this night they were taken to the woodshed.

Dimi was great as he has been all year.

I can understand Corrie losing. That is a tough match-up that can go either way.

Damico’s effort was horrid. To lose like that is unacceptable. Like I stated earlier, I have no information on what happened or if he were injured, but that just cannot happen. The second set lasted maybe 20 minutes, if my calculations were correct.

Jean Andersen blowing a 5-2 first set lead, then the match is not what you need either. He didn’t look good against Minnesota in the second round after being the Big 12 tournament MVP. Not the way to compete.

I feel sorry for Zavala. He should’ve closed that thing out. If he does, you never know how that would’ve affected the momentum at line six. Or if he actually got on when the others did and had a chance to keep the pressure on by winning earlier.

Last year, prior to the tournament, I made the statement that Texas needed to prove themselves at the tournament before I could evaluate their season. They of course had a great run to the semifinals before falling to USC and everyone was happy.

This year I wonder what they think of their season?

Yes, the regular season and Big 12 Tournament were about as good as you can ask for, but to have such a monumental collapse in the round of 16 pretty much negates those good feelings and leaves and empty feeling of what could’ve been.

The draw was there. Heck, even Florida had lost to UGA. You had two teams that had only reached the quarters of their conference tournaments ahead of you.

As with the Aggies, there will be a lot of soul searching before the next season starts for the Longhorns. They lose Kutrovsky and Zavala, two guys that have been solid as rocks for the couple of years. They will be tough to replace.

I am tired of rambling. OU and Baylor outplayed and outcompeted (sounds like coach-speak) their opponents. Congrats to them. I knew Baylor had it in them all year, I just had not seen it against their Big 12 opponents yet.

I want to go on more about my selections prior to the tournament, but will wait for another time and leave you with the title of the next song on BNL’s album Stunt, “It’s all been done.”

Trinity falls to Claremont in DIII Elite 8

The third-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags beat the No. 13 Trinity Tigers 5-2 Tuesday in the NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Championship quarterfinals at Oberlin College.

Trinity, which had its 14-match winning streak snapped, completed the season with an 18-10 record. Claremont (22-4) meets the winner of Emory and Amherst in Wednesday’s semifinals.

The Tigers, led by first-year head coach and former Trinity standout Russell McMindes, opened the match with a 2-1 lead after doubles. Trinity won No. 1 doubles, as Bobby Cocanougher and Cory Kowal defeated Robert Erani and Ronald Wu 8-1. The Stags took No. 2 doubles, with Eric MacColl and Brandon Wei edging Erick DelaFuente and Max Frey 8-6.

The Trinity team of Benjamin Carroll and Don Murray won No. 3 doubles 9-8, outlasting Russell Brockett and Mikey Lim 8-6 in the tiebreaker.

Claremont, which beat Trinity 9-0 last March in California, won all four of the completed singles matches.

The clincher was at No. 3 singles, as MacColl won a three-set battle with DelaFuente 6-0, 2-6, 6-2.

Lim beat Cocanougher 6-4, 6-3 at No. 2 singles, and Alex Johnson was a 6-0, 6-4 winner over Murray at No. 5. The No. 6 singles match went to Mac Cahill, who beat Carroll 6-4, 6-2.

Two matches were halted after the clinch by Claremont. Trinity’s Frey took the first set 7-6 (3) from Erani, and was down 5-6 in the second, at No. 1 singles. Kowal lost the No. 4 sigles first set 6-7 (3) to Brockett, rallied to win the second 6-2, and was leading 1-0 in the third when the match was called.

The Tigers made their 13th appearance in the NCAA quarterfinals since 1993, with their previous trip in 2007. Former coach Butch Newman, now Trinity’s Director of Tennis, led the Tigers to 16 straight NCAA berths. He also guided the Tiger men and women to the 2000 NCAA Team Championships. Coach McMindes was a key member of the national championship men’s team.

Three Tiger players will compete in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships, also at Oberlin, from Friday-Sunday. Frey, a sophomore from Tulsa, Okla. (Holland Hall), has a slot in the 32-draw singles tournament. Juniors Kowal, from Austin, Texas (Anderson); and Cocanougher, from Southlake, Texas (Carroll), are in the 16-draw doubles event.

The Tiger women will be represented at the NCAA Singles Championship by sophomore Katie Griffith of Spokane, Wash. (Ferris). Griffith will compete in the 32-draw singles tournament Friday-Sunday at the University of Mary Washington at Fredericksburg, Va.

Trinity’s women’s team is led by second-year head coach Ryan Takao, a former Tiger men’s player. Coach Takao was an assistant during the 2000 women’s national championship run.

1. Bobby Cocanougher/Cory Kowal, Trinity, def. Robert Erani/Ronald Wu 8-1
2. Eric MacColl/Brandon Wei, C-M-S, def. Erick DelaFuente/Max Frey 8-6
3. Benjamin Carroll/Don Murray, Trinity, def. Russell Brockett/Mikey Lim 9-8 (6)

2. Lim, C-M-S, def. Cocanougher 6-4, 6-3
3. MacColl, C-M-S, def. DelaFuente 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 (clinch match)
5. Alex Johnson, C-M-S, def. Murray 6-0, 6-4
6. Mac Cahill, C-M-S, def. Carroll 6-4, 6-2

The following singles matches did not finish:
1. Frey, Trinity, vs. Erani [7-6 (3), 5-6]
4. Kowal, Trinity, vs. Brockett [6-7 (3), 6-2, 1-0]

No. 2 Tennessee too much for Bears

The second-seeded Tennessee Volunteers grinded out the doubles point, then took over on the singles courts as they defeated Baylor’s seventh-seeded men’s tennis team 4-0 in the NCAA Quarterfinals at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., on Sunday.

“I thought Tennessee played a great match, they were well-prepared,” head coach Matt Knoll said. “It was tough for us out there. Our guys fought hard the whole time. We had some guys give us an opportunity out there, we just didn’t have enough oars in the water to get to four.”

Baylor nearly pulled off the upset in the doubles action against Tennessee, who features two of the top 15 doubles pairs in the nation. On Court 1, BU’s 28th-ranked duo of Denes Lukacs and Roberto Maytin continued their stellar play, upsetting the third-ranked pair of John-Patrick Smith and Davey Sandgren 8-6.

The Vols 12th-ranked duo of Rhyne Williams and Boris Conkic had little resistance from Jordan Rux and Attila Bucko on Court 2 on their way to an 8-1 win, leaving the doubles point up to Court 3.

On the final court, Baylor’s Sergio Ramirez and Maros Horny fought back to tie the match at 5-5, but the Vols’ combo of Edward Jones and Matteo Fago got a break-point then held serve to take a 7-5 lead. Horny held serve for the Bears, but Tennessee didn’t let up to clinch the point with an 8-6 win.

With the doubles point in hand, the Vols put the pressure on Baylor on the singles courts, featuring ranked players at five positions. On Court 5, No. 116 Matt Brewer was the first to finish with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Maytin for a 2-0.

The next two points came shortly after with No. 36 Conkic fending off No. 35 Rux in the first set with a 6-4 win, then breaking serve twice to take a 6-2 second set. UT’s 45th-ranked Williams then defeated BU’s Bucko 6-3, 6-2 on Court 3.

The Bears had mounted a challenge on the remaining three courts, the most impressive of which came on Court 1 from its senior Lukacs. Ranked 28th, Lukacs was in a heavyweight bout with the No. 1-ranked Smith. In the first set, Lukacs and Smith traded breaks early then held serve to force a tiebreak. In the tiebreak, Lukacs jumped out to a 5-2 lead, but Smith scored four in a row to take a 6-5 lead. Lukacs then earned the final three points with great baseline play to win the tiebreak 9-7. The two were tied 1-1 in the second set when Tennessee clinched the team win.

Baylor’s other senior, Dominik Mueller, put together an impressive first set with a 6-4 win, and was down 3-2 in the second set. On Court 6, Julian Bley was battling out of a 6-4 first set loss to lead the second set 3-1 at the conclusion of the match.

The loss ends Baylor’s season in the NCAA Quarterfinals with a record of 24-7. Individually, the Bears will be represented by two singles players and one doubles tandem in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships on May 26-31 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. Lukacs and Rux will each play in the singles tournament, while Lukacs will team with Maytin for the doubles.

Baylor vs Tennessee
May 23, 2010 at Athens, Ga.
(Dan Magill Tennis Complex)
#8 Tennessee 4, #2 Baylor 0
Singles competition
1. #1 John-Patrick Smith (TENN) vs. #15 Denes Lukacs (BU) 6-7 (7-9), 1-1, unfinished
2. #36 Boris Conkic (TENN) def. #35 Jordan Rux (BU) 6-4, 6-2
3. #45 Ryhne Williams (TENN) def. Attila Bucko (BU) 6-3, 6-2
4. #111 Tennys Sandgren (TENN) vs. Dominik Mueller (BU) 4-6, 3-2, unfinished
5. #116 Matt Brewer (TENN) def. Roberto Maytin (BU) 6-3, 6-3
6. Matteo Fago (TENN) vs. Julian Bley (BU) 6-4, 1-3, unfinished

Doubles competition
1. #28 Denes Lukacs/Roberto Maytin (BU) def. #3 John-Patrick Smith/Davey Sandgren (TENN) 8-6
2. #12 Ryhne Williams/Boris Conkic (TENN) def. Jordan Rux/Attila Bucko (BU) 8-1
3. Matteo Fago/Edward Jones (TENN) def. Maros Horny/Sergio Ramirez (BU) 8-6

Match Notes:
Baylor 24-7; National ranking #2
Tennessee 29-1; National ranking #8
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (5,2,3)

Stanford stops top-ranked Baylor

In a tight battle between two of the best in the nation, Baylor’s top-seeded women’s tennis team fell in a heartbreaker 4-2 to eighth-seeded Stanford at the NCAA Team Championships in Athens, Ga., at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

The win for Stanford was the first in the last three matches against Baylor. The Lady Bears had beaten the Cardinal out of the NCAA Championships each of the past two seasons.

“Stanford played a great match,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “They just outplayed us tonight and we came up short. It’s tough when you have two great seniors like Csilla [Borsanyi] and Lenka [Broosova] who care so much and it’s a tight match and there’s the thought that it could be your last match. I’ve never had to experience that, but imagine its tough. When you pour your heart and soul into winning the national championship and you feel it slipping away, it’s tough.”

Stanford squeaked out the crucial point in doubles, clinching with a tiebreak victory on Court 1 from the No. 2 duo of Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette over 11th-ranked Broosova and Borsanyi. The Baylor duo came flying out of the gates to a 4-1 lead, but Stanford fought back to tie the score at 4-4. The teams kept each other within reach, trading breaks to force a tiebreak at 8-8. The Cardinal duo got out to a 4-1 lead, and held on for a 7-3 tiebreak win to snap Broosova and Borsanyi’s 12-match win streak which dates back to April 3 against Notre Dame.

After the Cardinal had won the first doubles match on Court 3 with an 8-3 victory, Baylor had evened the point with a grinding victory from Stanivuk and Secerbegovic. With the teams trading points much of the way, it was the BU duo that finally broke through with a break point to win the match 9-7 and secure their 17th consecutive win. The pair hasn’t lost a doubles match this season.

On Court 4, with the 69th-ranked Ormond up 4-2, Stanford’s Mallory Burdette turned it on taking the next four games to win the first set 6-4, and then taking a 6-0 final set. Meanwhile, the Cardinal was taking looking to take a commanding 3-0 lead with Veronica Li on Court 6 over Karolina Filipiak.

Li took the first set 6-3, then had a 4-1 lead in the second when Filipiak came to life with two break points to make it 5-4. Li held on defeating three break chances to win the set 6-4.

Baylor got its first point of the match with a dominating win by Jelena Stanivuk on Court 5. With the first set tied 2-2, Stanivuk ripped off four straight games to win the first set 6-2 before rolling to a 6-3 second set and her eighth consecutive singles win.

Shortly after, No. 20 Secerbegovic finished off No. 83 Lindsay Burdette with a 6-3, 7-5 win to pull the team match to 3-2. In the first set, Secerbegovic broke open a 3-3 set to win the first one 6-3, then had to battle through second sat after trailing 4-3.

With 97th-ranked Borsanyi ready to close out 68th-ranked Stacey Tan on Court 4, leading by a score of 3-6, 6-1, 5-2, the match between No. 5 Broosova and No. 4 Barte was turning into an epic battle. Broosova was down a set after dropping the opener 7-5, but took a 5-4 lead late in the second set. From there, Barte buckled down and sandwiched two service games around a break point to win the set 7-5 again and clinch the match 4-2 for the Cardinal.

The Bears end the season with a 30-3 record, their second 30-win season in program history. The win total marks the second highest ever for Baylor, behind only the 32-3 record posted in 2008.

Baylor’s individual entrants into the NCAA Singles and Doubles Tournaments will continue play starting May 26 in Athens, Ga., at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Broosova and Secerbegovic will each play in the singles tournament, while Broosova will team with Borsanyi in the doubles.

Stanford vs Baylor
May 22, 2010 at Athens, Ga.
(Dan Magill Tennis Complex)
#8 Stanford 4, #1 Baylor 2
Singles competition
1. #4 Hilary Barte (STAN) def. #5 Lenka Broosova (BU) 7-5, 7-5
2. #20 Nina Secerbegovic (BU) def. #83 Lindsay Burdette (STAN) 6-3, 7-5
3. #33 Mallory Burdette (STAN) def. #69 Taylor Ormond (BU) 6-4, 6-0
4. #97 Csilla Borsanyi (BU) vs. #68 Stacey Tan (STAN) 3-6, 6-1, 5-2, unfinished
5. Jelena Stanivuk (BU) def. Carolyn McVeigh (STAN) 6-2, 6-3
6. Veronica Li (STAN) def. Karolina Filipiak (BU) 6-3, 6-4

Doubles competition
1. #2 Hilary Barte/Lindsay Burdette (STAN) def. #11 Lenka Broosova/Csilla Borsanyi (BU) 9-8 (7-4)
2. Nina Secerbegovic/Jelena Stanivuk (BU) def. #56 Mallory Burdette/Stacey Tan (STAN) 9-7
3. Veronica Li/Carolyn McVeigh (STAN) def. Taylor Ormond/Carla Lindlar (BU) 8-3

Match Notes:
Stanford 24-1; National ranking #8
Baylor 30-3; National ranking #1
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (3,6,5,2,1)

Oklahoma stuns #3 Texas

No. 3 Texas captured the doubles point, but No. 20 Oklahoma rallied to produce four singles wins, as the Sooners edged the Longhorns by a 4-2 count in a five-plus hour match in the NCAA Championships’ round of 16. Texas’ season comes to an end at 27-3.

The Longhorns and Sooners opened their lengthy match Friday evening at 8:45 Eastern time and wrapped it up just before 2 a.m. Eastern on Saturday. The match had already been delayed nearly three hours due to rain. Texas opened the match by taking two of three doubles matches to secure the doubles point. At second doubles, UT’s Kellen Damico and Ed Corrie held serve and broke OU’s Ionut Beleleu and David Pultr to take a 2-0 lead. Damico and Corrie held serve for a 3-0 lead and maintained their service throughout the match, as they cruised to an 8-3 win at second doubles.

At third doubles, Texas’ Jean Andersen and Vasko Mladenov broke OU’s Blake Boswell and Lawrence Formentera for a 2-1 lead and held serve for a 3-1 lead. OU took the next four games behind two breaks and two holds of serve and assumed a 5-3 lead.

Texas would respond, as Andersen and Mladenov broke in the next game, held serve to even the match at five and broke Boswell and Formentera once more to take a 6-5 lead. The UT duo served for the match with a 7-6 lead and held serve to preserve an 8-6 win and clinch the doubles point.

UT’s Dimitar Kutrovsky and Josh Zavala held a 7-3 lead over OU’s Andrei Daescu and Costin Paval at first doubles before allowing the Sooners’ tandem to pull within 7-6 when the match was suspended.

The Sooners got on the board at third singles, where the 74th-ranked Paval posted a 6-4, 6-1 win over UT’s Damico. Texas’ Kutrovsky put the Horns back in the lead at 2-1 with a 7-5, 6-3 win over the Sooners’ 28th-ranked Daescu. Oklahoma’s 65th-ranked Beleleu evened the tally at two when he posted a 6-4, 6-3 win over Texas’ 20th-ranked Corrie at second singles.

At fourth singles, UT’s Andersen held a 5-2 first-set lead over OU’s Pultr, but Pultr held serve, broke Andersen and held once more to even the set at five. Andersen held serve in the next game, as did Pultr, which sent the set into a tiebreaker, where Pultr prevailed, 7-5. Pultr took a 5-2 lead in the second set, but Andersen sandwiched two service holds around a service break of Pultr to even the set at five. The set progressed into a tiebreaker, where Pultr emerged with a 7-2 win to give the Sooners a 3-2 lead.

The matches at fifth and sixth singles, played on a pair of isolated courts at UGA’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex, began after the first four singles matches due to lingering moisture on the courts. UT’s Mladenov took the first set off of OU’s Formentera at sixth singles , but Formentera rallied and took the second set in a tiebreaker, 7-2. Mladenov and Formentera held serve in their first service games of the set, but neither maintained their serve in the ensuing three games until Formentera held for a 4-2 lead. Mladenov responded by holding serve at 4-3 and breaking Formentera’s serve to even the set at four. Mladenov held serve for a 5-4 lead, but Formentera held serve once more and kept the match alive.

Formentera registered one more service break and held serve in the decisive game to win the set, 7-5 and preserve the Oklahoma win. UT’s Zavala had taken the first set in a tiebreaker off of OU’s George Chanturia at fifth singles before going to another tiebreaker in the next set. Zavala held multiple match points but could not close out Chanturia, who was victorious in the tiebreaker, 8-6. Chanturia held a 1-0 third-set lead when Formentera registered the clinching point.

Texas’ Dimitar Kutrovsky and Ed Corrie will open play in the 64-player singles draw at the NCAA Championships on May 26. Kutrovsky and Zavala will open competition the following day in the 32-team doubles draw.

Texas head coach Michael Center
“I feel bad for our seniors. They’ve played so well. I’ve got to give OU credit. They hung in there and fought , but for some reason, we just couldn’t get it going. I’ve have not seen that all year long. Every time we had a chance to put pressure on them and gain momentum, we couldn’t do it. I don’t know why. We practiced well, and I thought we were ready to play. We lost tiebreakers, and we just could not get any momentum.

“We couldn’t serve tonight. I’ve never seen us double-fault the way we were double-faulting tonight. We weren’t aggressive. We just could not seem to put it together tonight. I’m just sad for our seniors that they had to go down, but I’ve got to give Oklahoma credit. They fought hard and outplayed us tonight.”

NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships – Round of 16
No. 20 Oklahoma 4, No. 3 Texas 2
Doubles – Order of Finish: 2, 3
1 #6 Dimitar Kutrovsky/Josh Zavala (UT) vs. Andrei Daescu/Costin Paval (OU) – 7-6, susp.
2 #40 Ed Corrie/Kellen Damico (UT) def. #65 Ionut Beleleu/David Pultr (OU) – 8-3
3 Jean Andersen/Vasko Mladenov (UT) def. Blake Boswell/Lawrence Formentera (OU) – 8-6

Singles – Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2, 4, 6
1 #10 Dimitar Kutrovsky (UT) def. #28 Andrei Daescu (OU) – 7-5, 6-3
2 #65 Ionut Beleleu (OU) def. #20 Ed Corrie (UT) – 6-4, 6-3
3 #74 Costin Paval (OU) def. #99 Kellen Damico (UT) – 6-4, 6-1
4 David Pultr (OU) def. Jean Andersen (UT) – 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2)
5 #95 Josh Zavala (UT) vs. George Chanturia (OU) – 7-6 (2), 6-7 (6), 0-1, susp.
6 Lawrence Formentera (OU) def. Vasko Mladenov (UT) – 2-6, 7-6 (2), 7-5

Bears rally for upset of A&M

After dropping a tightly contested doubles point, the seventh-seeded Baylor men’s tennis team dominated Texas A&M on the singles courts with four straight-set wins to reach the program’s eighth consecutive NCAA Quarterfinal in Norcross, Ga. The match, originally scheduled for the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., was moved to the Racquet Club of the South in Norcross due to rain.

“I thought the guys showed a lot of heart to battle back from a tough doubles match,” head coach Matt Knoll said. “In the locker room, we talked about coming out and not being satisified with any consolation prize. We wanted to come out here and win something, and the guys really bought into that.”

On the doubles courts, the matches set the tone for the day between the two Big 12 rivals. A&M took control early on Court 3, with an 8-3 win by Colin Hoover and Alberto Bautista over BU’s Dominik Mueller and Maros Horny, but battles were brewing on the other two courts.

On Court 1, the 28th-ranked duo of Denes Lukacs and Roberto Maytin took a 7-5 lead, but the fifth-ranked combo of Jeff Dadamo and Austin Krajicek took the next two points before the teams traded break-points to force a tiebreak at 8-8. The Bears jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the seven-point tiebreak and held on to win 7-4.

The doubles point also came down to a tiebreak on Court 2 with Baylor’s Attilo Bucko and Jordan Rux battling out of a 4-2 hole and tying the score at 5-5. The teams held serve to 8-8, then A&M’s Alexey Grigorov and Marcus Lunt seized control on their way to a 7-1 tiebreak win.

Down 1-0, the Bears seized the momentum on the first two courts, where Denes Lukacs and Jordan Rux were playing opponents each had lost to twice this season in Austin Krajicek and Jeff Dadamo. Lukacs, ranked 15th, came out firing and rolled to a 6-1, 6-2 win over sixth-ranked Krajicek. On Court 2, it was nearly the same story as Rux took down 39th-ranked Dadamo 6-3, 6-3.

Then on Courts 5 and 6, Maytin and Julian Bley each only lost three games in their way to wins. Maytin was the first Baylor player off the court with a 6-1, 6-2 win, while Bley was the match-clincher on No. 6 with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Lunt.

“We had a great season and I am proud of this team and what we accomplished,” said Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton whose team closed out the season with the second-most wins in school history and back-to-back trips to the Sweet 16. “Obviously, we didn’t want it to end like this. It looked hopeful for us after we won the doubles point, but Baylor was just too good tonight. They were more aggressive and a step ahead than we were. We continue to take steps in the right direction. We have a tremendous group of guys coming back next year. Hopefully, this learning experience is going to make us better. We might have played our better tennis a little earlier in the season, because we didn’t do as well down the stretch and a few of our guys were not at their best. Baylor got better towards the end of the season.”

Baylor, who proved that it’s hard to beat a team three times in a season, answered back by winning five out of the six first sets in singles. Newcomer Roberto Maytin defeated Alberto Bautista, 6-1, 6-2, at the No. 5 line to level the match at one-all. The Bears quickly followed with straight-set victories at the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 6 to advance to Sunday’s Elite Eight match with second-seeded Tennessee.

“There will be a lot soul searching after a match like this tonight – to figure out what went wrong, what we can do to get better and rise to the occasion at the right moments,” Denton said. “We did a lot of great things this year, but ultimately, there is only one team that holds up the prize at the end. We weren’t it this year. We just have to figure out a way to get closer to that prize and we will.”

The Bears will take on second-seeded Tennessee in the NCAA Quarterfinals at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 23 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. The Vols enter with a record of 28-1 after defeating Louisville 4-0 in the Round of 16. At the helm of the Tennessee men’s program is former Baylor assistant coach Sam Winterbotham

(8) BAYLOR 4, (10) TEXAS A&M 1
NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship
Round of 16
May 21, 2010
The Racquet Club of the South
at Norcross, Ga.
No. 1 – (14) Denes Lukacs (Baylor) def. (6) Austin Krajicek (Texas A&M), 6-1, 6-2.
No. 2 – (34) Jordan Rux (Baylor) def. (39) Jeff Dadamo (Texas A&M), 6-3, 6-3.
No. 3 – Alexey Grigorov (Texas A&M) vs. Attila Bucko (Baylor), 6-2, 3-2, DNF.
No. 4 – Alexis Klegou (Texas A&M) vs. Dominik Mueller (Baylor), 6-7 (8), DNF.
No. 5 – Roberto Maytin (Baylor) def. Alberto Bautista (Texas A&M), 6-1, 6-2.
No. 6 – Julian Bley (Baylor) def. Marcus Lunt (Texas A&M), 6-2, 6-1.

No. 1 – (28) Denes Lukacs-Roberto Maytin (Baylor) def. (5) Jeff Dadamo-Austin Krajicek (Texas A&M), 9-8 (4).
No. 2 – (34) Alexey Grigorov-Marcus Lunt (Texas A&M) def. Attila Bucko-Jordan Rux (Baylor), 9-8 (1).
No. 3 – Alberto Bautista-Colin Hoover (Texas A&M) def. Maros Horny-Dominik Mueller (Baylor), 8-3.

Singles: 5, 1, 2, 6*
Doubles: 3, 1, 2

Baylor rips Texas

The top-seeded Baylor women’s tennis team fought 16th-seeded Texas off in doubles, then cruised to three quick wins on the singles courts to earn a trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the third consecutive season in Athens, Ga., at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

“I am really proud of the way our team played today,” head coach Joey Scrivano said. “We came out focused and got the job done. It feels great to advance.”

The Longhorns came out firing in the doubles matches, jumping out to leads on two of the three courts, but Baylor held them off and turned the momentum around to win the point. The 11th-ranked senior duo of Broosova and Borsanyi rolled on Court 1 jumping out to a big lead before finishing off the 24th-ranked duo Ellis and Corovic 8-1. The win marked the 12th in a row for the pair.

“We were ready to play today,” Scrivano said. “We just executed as a high level and our doubles momentum carried over to singles.”

With a battle brewing of Court 2, it was the duo of Ormond and Carla Lindlar who seized control on Court 3. The combo tied the match at 5-5, then held serve and got a break point to take a commanding 7-5 lead over Lancaster and Larsson. Texas held serve to make it 7-6, but the Bears took the next game to clinch the doubles point with an 8-6 win.

On singles, the Lady Bears didn’t waste any time putting Texas in a deep hole, winning the first set on five of the six courts. On Court 1, fifth-ranked Lenka Broosova won three consecutive games to take a 3-1 lead in her first set and take control of the match for a 6-2, 6-2 win.

After Broosova’s win, 20th-ranked Nina Secerbegovic and 97th-ranked Csilla Borsanyi ended their matches with the next two minutes to secure the win. Secerbegovic was second to finish 6-3, 6-2 win, while Borsanyi dominated her first set 6-1, then fought out of a 3-2 hole to win her second set 6-4.

“We had our game plan,” Texas head coach Patty Fendick-McCain. “Unfortunately, we didn’t execute at the positions we really needed to. We started off well in the doubles. We got up and took leads at Nos. 2 and 3. We were up 6-3 at No. 2 and up 5-4 at No. 3 and we couldn’t quite maintain that. That was the story. It was such a huge momentum changer, no question. They just outplayed us today.

“We had a long season and started off a little bumpy, but we overcame a lot of things. We got ourselves in a position to be in the No. 16 spot. For us as a program, that’s something we’re going to continue to build on and keep pushing forward. We’re happy we got the chance to play here, but this is only the tip of where we want to be.”

With the win, Baylor will face Stanford in the next round, marking the third consecutive NCAA Championship that the two teams have met, with Baylor winning each time. Baylor beat Stanford 4-3 in the Round of 16 last season, and 4-1 in the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2008.

“[Stanford] has been the team to beat in women’s tennis over the last 20 years,” Scrivano said. “They are a great, great team, and we are going to need to come out ready to play.”

The match is slated for 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT on the Henry Feild Courts at the Dan Magill Complex on the campus of the University of Georgia.

Texas’ Aeriel Ellis will begin play in the 64-player singles draw at the NCAA Championships on Wednesday, May 26.

2010 NCAA Tennis Championships – Round of 16
Dan Magill Tennis Complex – Athens, Ga.
No. 1 Baylor 4, No. 16 Texas 0
Doubles – Order of Finish: 1, 3
1 #11 Lenka Broosova/Csilla Borsanyi (BU) def. #49 Vanja Corovic/Aeriel Ellis (UT) – 8-1
2 Amanda Craddock/Krista Damico (UT) vs. Nina Secerbegovic/Jelena Stanivuk (BU) – 6-5, susp.
3 Taylor Ormond/Carla Lindlar (BU) def. Sarah Lancaster/Caroline Larsson (UT) – 8-6

Singles – Order of Finish: 1, 2, 4
1 #5 Lenka Broosova (BU) def. #24 Aeriel Ellis (UT) – 6-2, 6-2
2 #18 Nina Secerbegovic (BU) def. #63 Krista Damico (UT) – 6-3, 6-2
3 #75 Vanja Corovic (UT) vs. #55 Taylor Ormond (BU) – 2-6, 6-1, 4-0, susp.
4 #106 Csilla Borsanyi (BU) def. Maggie Mello (UT) – 6-1, 6-4
5 Karolina Filipiak (BU) vs. Sarah Lancaster (UT) – 6-0, 5-3, susp.
6 Caroline Larsson (UT) vs. Carla Lindlar (BU) – 6-3, 4-2, susp.

How the women fared in Day one and men’s percentages and picks

So for a few minutes, at least online, it appeared that Texas was putting up a fight against top-ranked Baylor. But there’s a reason I selected the Bears to win it all, as they slammed the door and the season shut on the Longhorns. Oh well.

So let’s see how my predictions fared… Baylor, Stanford, Michigan, Cal, Miami, Florida, UCLA and UNC. Hmmm, Baylor, Stanford, Miami, Florida and UNC all paid off, but Tennessee, Notre Dame and Duke (never bet against the defending national champs, dufus) spoiled by selections. With Stanford being the sole Pac-0 squad, that leaves Stanford as the conferences only shot at extending the streak that Colette Lewis mentioned to me of a Pac-10 being in the final every year since something like 1923.

Well enough on that. Time to get the men’s percentages out there and make my picks for tomorrow.

University of Virginia 55.7%
Duke University 9.3%
Stanford University 17.6%
UCLA 17.5%
Ohio State University 57.3%
University of Wisconsin 5.9%
University of Southern California 21.6%
University of Kentucky 15.1%
University of Georgia 15.0%
University of Florida 24.7%
University of Oklahoma 8.7%
University of Texas 51.6%
Texas A&M University 17.9%
Baylor University 17.8%
University of Louisville 14.4%
University of Tennessee 49.9%

For some reason there seems to be an overwhelming difference in the rankings compared to the women. There will obviously be an upset in that group.

For day 1 on the men’s side I am going with: Virginia, Stanford, Ohio State, USC, Florida, Texas, Texas A&M and Tennessee. That’s pretty much chalk.

Texas is going to cruise past OU. Texas is just better. Now in the Texas A&M-Baylor match, I know that Baylor is a better team that they have seemed to be against the Aggies this season. I know the Aggies can’t be real excited to see the Bears again… but then again, they have already beat them twice and know they can win. This will be emotional and personal and a fight to the end, but I really think A&M is a better team this season.

Well, I have to go. The only thing worse than not in Athens this week is not being in Athens and having a sick kid. Ugh.

Women’s percentages to make Final 4

Well, I forgot to do them last week, so I decided to do them for this weekend…. Today I will focus on the women’s draw since they begin play in the morning. Below are the percentages for each team to make the Final 4. It is based on my rankings, which I updated (internally, but have not posted).

Baylor University 38.7%
University of Texas at Austin 10.8%
Stanford 31.9%
Clemson University 18.6%
University of Michigan 32.8%
University of Tennessee 13.8%
University of Notre Dame 29.5%
California 23.9%
University of Miami (Florida) 20.1%
Northwestern University 28.7%
University of Mississippi 12.6%
University of Florida 38.6%
Duke University 18.9%
UCLA 32.2%
Florida State University 11.7%
North Carolina 37.3%

Tomorrow I will be a fan when my alma mater plays Baylor. I know Joey can forgive me that for one day. Of course then afterwards I will be back rooting for the team that wins. It is killing me I won’t be there (but then I couldn’t be a fan).

For predictions tomorrow I think it will be: Baylor, Stanford, Michigan, Cal, Miami, Florida, UCLA and UNC. I threw a couple of minor upsets in there, but that’s been my thinking all along.

I hope it is a beautiful day tomorrow in Athens. Everyone there, please enjoy the tennis for me.