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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Thacher & Klahn Repeat as Pacific Coast Doubles Champions; Two Georgia-Florida Thrillers; Washington & Lee Captures Women's D-III Indoor Title

Stanford's Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher become the first team in over 20 years to repeat as Pacific Coast Doubles champions today in LaJolla, California, beating UCLA assistant coach Kris Kwinta and former Baylor star John Peers 6-4, 6-4 in the final. The last team to win back-to-back titles at the 123-year-old event was also a Cardinal pair, with Jared Palmer and Jonathan Stark repeating in 1991. Top seeds Klahn and Thacher, who have been NCAA semifinalists and finalists in doubles the past two years, did not drop a set in their six victories. Second seeds Kwinta and Peers also came into the final without losing a set, but they were unable to take advantage of the chances they had to break back when they fell behind in each set. For the complete draws, see the TennisLink site.

There is no love lost in any Florida and Georgia sports rivalry, and the tennis teams consistently meet year after year in important conference matches. Today with the men in Gainesville and the women in Athens, the Gators and the Bulldogs split 4-3 decisions, with the visiting team coming out on top.

The No. 15 Florida women, who impressively beat No. 5 Tennessee on Friday, were pushed to the limit against No. 4 Georgia, with Lauren Embree defeating Lauren Herring 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 with the teams tied at 3. Florida had won the doubles point, and got wins from Joanna Mather and Sofie Oyen at 3 and 5, but Georgia had earned victories from Chelsey Gullickson at 1, Maho Kowase at 4 and Lilly Kimbell at 6 to even it and turn all attention to court 2. For the complete results and remarks from Florida head coach Roland Thornqvist, see the gatorzone.com.

For all that drama, the men provided even more, with fourth-ranked Georgia's Wil Spencer coming from 5-1 down in the final set to defeat Bob van Overbeek at No. 1 singles and clinch the match for the Bulldogs. No. 10 Florida trailed 3-0, with Georgia taking the doubles point and Taboada and Pieters getting wins at lines 4 and 5, but Florida came back to tie it with Slilam (3), Carleton (2) and Alford (6) earning victories. When Alford finished off Pasha, van Overbeek had a 5-1 lead, but he was unable to serve it out at 5-2 or 5-4, and Spencer posted a 6-7(4), 6-0, 7-5 win. Earlier in the week Spencer had been the subject of this critical article in the student newspaper The Red and Black, which was notable primarily because it's the type of column usually reserved for football and basketball stars. But expectations for the tennis teams are always high in Athens, so a few unranked losses by one of its top players will not slip by unnoticed. For the account of today's win over Florida, with quotes from Georgia head coach Manny Diaz, see georgiadogs.com.

There was another thriller in college tennis today, with the fourth-seeded Washington and Lee women capturing the Division III ITA Team Indoor title 5-4 over No. 6 seeds Carnegie Mellon. Washington and Lee trailed 4-3, but got victories from Trelsie Sadler at No. 5 and Patricia Kirkland at No. 6 to earn the Generals first National Team Indoor title. The complete account of the final should be posted soon at the ITA website.


John said...

Thank goodness,my son does not play for Georgia. I read the story about Will Spencer.I just lost all respect for the University of Georgia.Even your number one player can have a off day.If I where coach Diaz,I would be jumping up and down on the AD's desk !! SORRY WILL SPENCER !

Jim Wright said...

From my perspective the UF UGA women's match was a dud. Doubles scores of 8-4 and 8-3 were not exciting; only one 3 set singles match; only one set with a 6-4 score and that when Chelsea eased up a bit. Yes it came down to #2 but after Miss Herring went up 2-1 in the third Miss Embree won 5 of the next 6 games.

Austin said...

Tennis people are so sensitive. I get my throat jumped down whenever I talk poorly about someone, even though it is result-based. I cant imagine how bad some would deal with it if this was the most important sport and they were discussed how football and basketball players are. Everybody relax, its okay to say someone needs to step it up.

And while on the topic of UGA-Fla, I gotta say WOW! to the choke job by Van Overbeek yesterday. He was dominating the final set, then soon as he was about to close it out some of the games werent even close, Spencer was dominating, that is mental folks, and Spencer did better on the test.

Bobby said...

Calm down John, would you prefer to send your son to a school that doesn't give a rip about tennis. If so send him to Georgia Tech. While harsh most of the comments in that article were spot on. If the starting quarterback is stinking up the joint I'd expect to read the same thing (and did in my days at UGA in the 90s). I think WIL Spencer will be just fine.

been-there said...

Mr. Jim, where were you? Did you take your Ambien early? Did you not see the specially printed "BEAT FLORIDA" t-shirts?

I was at the women's UGA-UF, match and it was incredibly exciting. The # 3 doubles (Kimbell/Kowase) won, the # 1 doubles (Gullickson/Gilchrist) lost, and it came down to the 6-6 games all in the #2 (Herring/Fuller) doubles.

The teams then went tit for tat in the singles until it came down to the Herring-Embree match. Yes, the 3rd set wasn't super tight, and true,Florida wasn't as excited but UGA certainly was.

It was freezing cold but it was a blast.