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Saturday, April 19, 2008

UCLA Earns Two PAC-10 Titles Friday; Kriese Says Goodbye to Clemson, but Not Tennis

The UCLA vs. USC men's dual match is always huge, even when one team or the other is rebuilding. This year, it pitted the country's No. 4 (USC) against No. 5 (UCLA) and the excitement was building even two weeks ago, when I was in Carson. It decided the Pac-10 title, as it did last year, and again it was UCLA that finished on top, with a 4-3 victory at USC. Details of the match are here at uclabruins.cstv.com.

Key quote from UCLA head coach Billy Martin:
"They threw everything they could at us but we stayed focused. Everyone from the football team to the song girls to the band was there. It was a vocal crowd and I've seen some really good players buckle in those types of situations. But everyone did a great job at handling the pressure. I couldn't be more proud of this team than I am today."

This was expected to be a rebuilding year, with the loss of Kohlloeffel to graduation and Haythem Abid to wrist surgery this past fall. (He's unlikely to return for the NCAAs). But the contributions of freshmen Holden Seguso and Nick Meister have made a big difference as has the transfer in of No. 1 Harel Srugo from Old Dominion.

The UCLA women may have a long and storied history, and in reaching the NCAA team finals last year, outperformed the men's team. But with Stanford in the Pac-10, conference titles have been hard to come by; with their 5-2 win over USC at home yesterday, they earned a share of the conference title with the winner of this afternoon's Cal-Stanford showdown. It is their first Pac-10 title ever. The match account is here.

When I read some months ago that Chuck Kriese was retiring as coach of the Clemson men, I had wanted to note it, but let it slide, hoping that his final year with the team would not come to an end until the NCAA round of 16 in Tulsa. After a 4-3 loss to Virginia Tech yesterday at the ACC conference tournament, it looks very unlikely that will happen, so here is the Clemson Tigers site on that match and on the Kriese legacy. But although Kriese and his outside-the-box thinking will be missed on the U.S. college scene, he won't be leaving tennis. This USA Today story sketches out his plans for helping the Thai tennis federation and what he has meant to some of his past players.

And speaking of Clemson, the women's team came up with a big win in today's ACC tournament, taking down the nation's No. 2 team and ACC top seed Georgia Tech, 4-1. They will face Duke in tomorrow's final. For the ACC tournament page, click here.


scott said...

SEC Finals are set on both sides. On the men's side, Florida pulls off the upset, 4-2 over UGA. Georgia won a tight doubles point, much like they did in the regular season meeting, but Florida rallied for 4 singles wins. Freshman Erik Corace clinched the match at #6 with a 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 win. Gators got straight set wins from Oullette at 1, Briceno at 2 and Hochwalt at 4. Georgia got a straight set win from Hunt at 3. Hamui and Varela were locked in a 3rd set breaker at 5 when the match ended. Georgia was without Luis Flores who tweaked his ankle yesterday and was held out today. Florida faces Ole Miss in the finals. The Rebels beat Tennessee 4-2

On the women's side, Georgia and Florida will meet in the finals. Seems like that is a yearly occurrence. UGA rallied for a 4-3 win over Arkansas taking 4 singles wins. Florida easily won the doubles and held off a pesky Vanderbilt team for a 4-2 win, grabbing straight set wins from Borsanyi at 2, Boonstra at 4 and Frangulyan at 6. Vandy's points came from Taylor at 1 and Bertrand at 3.

Austin said...

What about Jerry Makowski of Texas A&M? Is he injured too or did he leave the team? Anybody...

The UGA-FLA match today was great. Luis Flores didnt play due to injury, same with Jeff Dadamo. So that meant UGA was missing their #2 while FLA was missing their #4. Once again Ouellette was too good for Helgeson and Briceno flat out embarrassed Nate Schnugg after UGA pulled out the dubs point in a tiebreaker at #1. Both #5 and #6 went to third set tiebreakers with FLA leading 3-2 and Corace won his match while Hamui-Varela were still playing their match. I hope the Gators arent too spent to play Ole Miss tomorrow.

Texas A&M also gave Texas all they could handle. Both teams were playing without their #2 players in singles, that is if you count Makowski as technically still able to play.

scott said...

Makowski left the team.