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Saturday, February 17, 2007

UCLA and Ohio State Join Georgia and Virginia in Men's Team Indoor Semifinals Sunday

©Colette Lewis 2007--
Chicago, IL--

The Illinois fans were somber as they filed out of the Midtown Tennis Club Saturday evening, after No. 3 seed UCLA had eliminated the sixth seeded host school 4-2.

The Illini easily captured the doubles point but once the singles competition began Illinois had no answers for the Bruins. Philipp Gruendler pulled UCLA even with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Marc Spicijaric at No. 5 and Chris Surapol and NCAA champion Ben Kohlloeffel soon took points at No. 3 and No. 1 respectively. Ruben Gonzales earned Illinois' sole singles point at No. 4, but when Brandon Davis lost to Michael Look at No. 6, UCLA had earned a semifinal spot against No. 2 Ohio State on Sunday.

Ohio State showed impressive depth in their 4-2 victory over Baylor, the 2005 Team Indoor Champions. After capturing the doubles point, the Buckeyes got their second point at No. 5 when freshman Justin Kronauge took a 26 point tiebreak from the Bears' Dominik Mueller on his way to a 7-6, 6-3 win. No. 3 Devin Mullins gave Ohio State its third point with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Matt Brown. After Baylor had taken No.1 and No. 4 singles, it came down to Ohio State's No. 6 Drew Eberly, who grew up in nearby Lake Forest, Ill. After winning a thirty point tiebreak in his first set against Denes Lukacs, the junior made it easier on his local supporters by taking the second set tiebreak seven points to three, and putting Ohio State in its first semifinal in a national tournament.

The other semifinal will feature No. 1 Georgia against No. 4 Virginia. Georgia's 4-0 win over 2006 NCAA champions Pepperdine was as routine as Virginia's victory over Ole Miss was dramatic (see post below), and the Bulldog freshmen shone once again. Jamie Hunt and Nate Schnugg won at No. 3 doubles and at No. 6 and No. 5 singles. With Travis Helgeson taking No. 3 singles in straight sets, it didn't take long for Georgia to show why it has been cast in the favorite's role this season.

For complete coverage of all the matches, including consolation contests, see the tournament website.