---CHAN and SCHOFIELD---
The clear line that usually delineates a Top 16 team in Division I college tennis was plenty blurred on Sunday. In the nine matches played on Mother's Day, an amazing five of them were decided by 4-3 scores, with two others finishing 4-2. Contrast that with last year, when only two second round matches went the distance.
Where to start? The biggest upsets were intraconference with No. 22 South Carolina eliminating No. 10 Tennessee and No. 32 Washington taking down No. 7 Southern California.
South Carolina had fallen 4-2 to Tennessee less than three weeks ago, losing the doubles point and at No. 1 singles; gaining those two points this afternoon was the difference. Tennessee's Caitlin Whoriskey had beaten South Carolina's Gira Schofield in two tiebreak sets at No. 1 singles last month; this time Whoriskey had to win a second set tiebreaker just to keep the match going. She did, but over five hours after the match had begun, Whorisky finally succumbed to Schofield 7-5, 6-7, 6-4. For the South Carolina account of the match, see their website.
In Los Angeles, the end came even more dramatically, although the Washington battle with Southern California wasn't nearly as long as the contest in Knoxville. Without their No. 4 player Gabriela Niculescu, USC's doubles combinations weren't their customary ones, and they lost the doubles point. A month ago, Washington had lost to USC 4-3, although two of the Huskies' points came after USC had clinched. This time it was Washington taking the doubles point and it looked very bleak for USC when they dropped four of six first sets. USC forced third sets in two of those matches however, at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, and Amanda Fink came all the way back to defeat Denise Dy at No. 2 to even the match at 3-3. It came down to No. 1 singles, where USC's Maria Sanchez and Washington's Venise Chan were tied at 5 in the third. The tiebreaker went to Chan and now the Huskies head to College Station to play the other underdog, South Carolina. For the story and results of the match, see the Washington athletic website.
That thriller wasn't the only one decided in a third set tiebreaker. No. 16 Fresno State, sent on the road for regional competition, barely escaped the No. 34 ranked Fighting Illini in Urbana, when Renata Kucerkova defeated Chelcie Abajian 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(3) at No. 3 singles. Illinois had upset Vanderbilt in the same fashion yesterday, winning a third set tiebreaker at No. 6 singles, and with no seniors and a good recruiting class, the future looks very promising in Champaign-Urbana. For the Fresno State account of the match, click here.
In the other 4-3 matches, No. 11 UCLA escaped Arizona State's upset bid, with freshman Nina Pantic winning the last ten games of her match with Laila Abdala at No. 4 singles to keep the defending champions alive in this year's tournament, and No. 14 Arkansas survived a determined effort by TCU to earn another Sweet 16 berth.
Florida beat Florida State 4-2, and Baylor overcame the loss of the doubles point to SMU, winning four singles matches to earn the 4-2 win.
The least exciting matches were in Athens, Ga. and Palo Alto, Calif., where No. 2 Georgia blanked Boise State and No. 13 Stanford shut out LSU.
For complete brackets, visit the ITA's Championship Central.