©Colette Lewis 2009--
The defending team indoor champions will meet the 2007 indoor champions on Monday, after the No. 5 Virginia Cavaliers breezed past No. 8 Tennessee 4-0, in a rare tournament shutout.
Virginia came out strong in the doubles, going up a break on all three courts, and took the No. 3 and No. 2 matches for the point.
While the Illinois and Baylor consolation match was given the preferred courts due to the home state crowds anticipated, Virginia and Tennessee played on the less spectator friendly courts, including Nos 13 and 14, which are only accessible by walking through the center of the four front courts. But tucked back out of view, Cavalier freshmen Steven Rooda and Drew Courtney at Nos. 5 and 6 respectively, helped Virginia dominate the singles. Courtney was finished first, with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Matt Brewer, and Rooda followed soon after with a 6-2, 6-2 over Volunteer freshman Christian Hansen.
On the front four courts, the action was more even, with Tennessee up a set at No. 1 and No. 4, but Virginia's Sanam Singh, at No. 2, was so dominate against Boris Conkic that the fourth point seemed inevitable. Showing off his tremendous speed, Singh couldn't miss in the first set, and won nearly every big point in the second on his way to a much less dramatic clinching win than he enjoyed Saturday evening against UCLA. Singh beat Conkic 6-1, 6-3 to set up the match between the past two Indoor champions.
Two years ago, Virginia had a great chance to reach the finals when they were up a set in five of the six singles against Georgia in the semifinals, but Georgia came back to record a 4-2 win. The Cavaliers have also lost the Bulldogs in the last three NCAAs, the most painful loss coming in last year's semifinal, when Virginia was undefeated before losing to Georgia 4-3 when Jamie Hunt defeated a cramping Singh at No. 4 singles. The two will be playing each other again, with similarly high stakes, at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles, and Virginia head coach Brian Boland wouldn't have it any other way.
"We're really excited, wouldn't want it any other way," Boland said, no doubt considering Georgia his team's nemesis. "We've lost to them in the NCAAs three years in a row and we've only lost about five matches in three years. But with that being said, they've all been extremely competitive matches, most recently in May, when it came down to an unfortunate situation, but with all that being said, it's been fun. It's great for both teams and we're looking forward to it, are really excited about it. We're playing well right now and are looking forward to playing another great team."
Georgia can claim both men's and women's Indoor titles on Monday, as the women's team has also advanced to the final in Madison, Wisc., with a 4-2 win over No. 2 Cal. They will play top seeded Northwestern, who beat Notre Dame 4-1 to reach the finals for the second consecutive year.
For complete women's results, see the ITA tournament page.
For complete men's scores, see the ITA results page.
Sunday, February 15, 2009