Rice Surprises Ole Miss, Georgia Tech Ousts Alabama to Reach Women's Sweet 16; Tulsa, Baylor Men Take Out Seeds to Advance to Athens
I spent the day at the University of Michigan, watching the Wolverine women eke out a 4-3 win over Texas A&M with Brooke Bolender coming from behind for the clinching 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Nazari Urbina at 2. I will have a complete recap of the match for the Tennis Recruiting Network, but it's not giving too much away to note that Bolender lost the last match on in the Big Ten championships to Purdue, yet played as if that were a distant memory in the final set just two weeks later.
There were plenty of exciting matches around the country today, but let's start with the list of the women's teams who are headed to Athens for the Sweet 16, beginning Thursday, with their seeding in parentheses.
North Carolina (7)
As you can see, two unseeded teams advanced in UCLA's quarter. Rice, in the 33-48 ranking group, was not content with their first-ever NCAA win yesterday over Illinois, and they proved it by taking out No. 16 seed Ole Miss 4-2 in Oxford today.
Georgia Tech is no stranger to the Sweet 16, and in fact won their national title in Athens in 2007, but this year they were on the road against No. 8 Alabama for the regionals. It wasn't easy for the Yellow Jackets, but senior Caroline Lilley, who was injured in the early part of the dual match season, clinched the 4-3 win for Georgia Tech, defeating Alexa Guarachi 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 at 2.
No. 6 seed Georgia barely escaped Clemson's upset bid, with Maho Kowase coming back from 6-0, 5-2 in her match with Klara Vyskocilova to post a 0-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory, which gave Georgia a 4-3 win. In 2010, the Georgia women did not make the Sweet 16 in Athens, with Clemson denying them in the second round.
For the women's draw, see ncaa.com.
Five of the men's participants in Athens were decided today, and there were two surprises in that small sample as well.
With Baylor's history and experience, they were going to be a tough out even if they weren't hosting, and so it proved, with the Bears defeating Mississippi State in Starkville 4-3 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the eleventh year in a row.
No. 10 seed Oklahoma was once again unable to get by Tulsa, with the 17-32 Golden Hurricanes downing the Sooners 4-1 in Norman. Last year, Tulsa, who was in the 33-48 group, beat Oklahoma and Texas to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. This year, they beat Minnesota and Oklahoma to make it two years in a row in the Sweet 16.
In addition to Baylor and Tulsa, No. 6 Kentucky, No. 16 Illinois and No. 7 Pepperdine earned their spots in the men's final 16.
The only surprise in the first round of men's regionals today was Santa Clara, in the 33-48 group, defeating Texas, in the 17-32 group, at the Stanford regional. Santa Clara's 4-1 victory was their first NCAA win.
For the complete draw, see ncaa.com.
For complete Saturday results in agate form, see Texas College Tennis.