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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

College Tennis Upsets; Lee Community College Women's Team Threatened; Lefty Ryan Smith Plays Right-handed for High School Team

Last Sunday on the Tennessee men's tennis Live Blog there was a comment made about the lack of upsets at the top of the ITA men's rankings. I pointed out that No. 20 Cal had defeated No. 5 UCLA the previous weekend, but that's all I could come up with, (although I should have mentioned Georgia Tech's win over Georgia). Last night there were two surprises to add to the list, with No. 25 Notre Dame beating No. 6 Illinois 5-2 in South Bend, and No. 30 North Carolina defeating No. 3 Texas 5-2 in Austin. Injuries played a role in both losses, with Dennis Nevolo and KU Singh not in the lineup for Illinois ("resting for health reasons" according to the Illinois release), and Jean Andersen and Ben Chen not in the singles lineup for the Longhorns. North Carolina had been playing without Florida transfer Joey Burkhardt most of the dual match season, and he was back; his win at No. 4 singles to help the Tar Heels overcome a 2-0 deficit. Illinois, who had beaten Notre Dame in Champaign-Urbana during kickoff weekend, has had doubles problems throughout the season, and they continued last night.

Yesterday's team rankings saw some shuffling that will no doubt continue next week, but the Virginia and Tennessee men remain No. 1 and No. 2. Despite a win over No. 5 Cal-Berkeley, Stanford remains No. 2 behind Florida in the women's rankings. See the ITA ranking page for the latest.

The University of Miami women had moved up to the No. 3 ranking this week, but lost this afternoon to the visiting North Carolina Tar Heels, ranked sixth. UNC won the doubles point by virtue of two 9-8 victories, but fell behind 3-1 before taking the final three singles matches. For more on North Carolina's win, see tarheelblue.com.

One of the country's top women's junior college tennis programs is facing elimination, and Lee Community College would like your help. A simple "like" on Facebook would be appreciated and if you can spare the time for an email, the pertinent addresses are available on the ITA website. The Baytown, Texas school's team has won three national titles, the most recent in 2009, with coach Jason Haynes named NJCAA Coach of the Year in 2003.

On Sunday, the Miami Herald published this feature on area high school player Ryan Smith, who suffered an injury earlier this year (I think it may have been at the third place match in the Boys 18s at the Plaza Cup that I covered) to his left shoulder, but is playing tennis for Cypress Bay right-handed. He has dropped from No. 1 singles down to No. 5, but the 16-year-old, who is ranked No. 2 in the USTA's Florida 16s, did a get a victory for his team.