Zootennis

Sponsored by IMG

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Virginia Men Beat UNC to Capture Third Straight Title; Florida Women Defeat Stanford for Championship; Division III Finals Set

One defending champion kept its winning streak alive, while the other saw its run come to an end Tuesday on another rainy day in Athens Georgia.

2017 NCAA Division I Champions Virginia
The University of Virginia men won their third straight title and fourth overall, beating the University of North Carolina 4-2 on the indoor courts on the University of Georgia campus. After a three-hour rain delay, the match was moved to the four indoor courts, making it the second year in a row that Virginia had claimed its NCAA national team championship indoors.

The No. 9 Tar Heels, who had lost their three previous meetings this season with No. 2 Virginia, needed the doubles point, and they came close, with the point decided by a tiebreaker at line 2.  After Virginia had easily taken line 3 with Collin Altamirano and JC Aragone beating Anu Kodali and Ronnie Schneider 6-1, North Carolina's William Blumberg and Robert Kelly followed with an equally lopsided 6-2 victory over Luca Corinteli and Carl Soderlund at line 1. That left line 2 to decide it in a tiebreaker, in which UNC's Jack Murray and Simon Soendergaard led Thai Kwiatkowski and Alexander Ritschard 3-1 and 5-4.  The match was on Soendergaard's racquet at 5-4, but he lost both points on serve, and Kwiatkowski and Ritschard converted their match point for a 7-6(5) win at a 1-0 Virginia lead.

Ritschard gave Virginia a 2-0 lead with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Schneider at line 1, but Blumberg got the Tar Heels on the board with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Kwiatkowski at line 2, the ITA Rookie of the Year's fifth win in this year's NCAA championships.  With two matches complete, lines 5 and 6 could begin their matches, but before they could start, Altamirano brought Virginia within one point of the title with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Soendergaard. Kelly made it 3-2 a few minutes later, beating Soderlund 6-2, 6-4, leaving the two matches, just underway, to decide it.

Virginia's Aragone and Henrik Wiersholm have been two of Virginia's strongest points all season, and both took the first sets from Murray and Bo Boyden, respectively. Both went up breaks in their second sets, and it was senior Aragone who finished first, beating Murray 7-6(2), 6-2 to clinch the title.

The Cavaliers, who have now played in six out of the last seven NCAA team finals, say goodbye to three seniors in their top 6--Ritschard, Kwiatkowski and Aragone--as well as head coach Brian Boland, who is leaving after the upcoming individual championships to become head of men's tennis at the USTA.

For more on Virginia's title, see virginiasports.com.

2017 NCAA Division I champions Florida
The weather cleared midway through the men's final and the women's championship was able to be played outdoors, starting a 8 p.m., three hours past its originally scheduled time.  It didn't look like it was going to last much more than two hours, when top seed Florida had a 2-0 lead on defending champions Stanford and match points on courts 1 and 5 within seconds of each other.  Florida had dominated the doubles point winning 6-2 at line 1 and 6-1 and line 3, and Kourtney Keegan had dealt freshman Emma Higuchi her first loss all year by way of a 6-0, 6-0 thrashing at line 6.

Needing just two more points, Florida looked to have them in hand when Belinda Woolcock was up 6-1, 5-3 on Caroline Doyle at line 1 and Brooke Austin had a match point on Emily Arbuthnott serving at 6-2, 5-4. On that match point, a deciding point, Austin missed a volley, making it 5-5, and although Woolcock closed out Doyle seconds later to make it 3-0, the Cardinal was back in the match, particularly after Arbuthnott won the next two games to send that contest into a third set. Once Stanford had gotten on the board with Melissa Lord's 6-4, 7-5 win over Josie Kuhlman, all the remaining matches were in a third set, with Florida's Ingrid Neel and Anna Danilina coming back from a set down against Taylor Davidson and Caroline Lampl.

Neel took a 3-0 lead in the third over Davidson, who had clinched Stanford's dramatic 4-3 win over Ohio State in a third-set tiebreaker ending close to midnight on Monday.  The Cardinal senior had needed time in the hospital to recover and had her leg heavily taped, but she had continued to battle, shortening points when she could.  She received a medical timeout at 3-0 in the third and got back on serve, but Neel broke back to take a 4-2 lead, held and broke again to give the Gators their seventh team title and their first since 2012.

The Florida website's article on the Gators title is here.

For more on the finals, see the tournament page.

MEN:
#2 VIRGINIA (34-1) 4, #9 NORTH CAROLINA (29-5) 2

Doubles
1. #12 William Blumberg/Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #17 Luca Corinteli/Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA), 6-2
2. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski/Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA) def. #82 Jack Murray/Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-6(5)
3. Collin Altamirano/J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Anu Kodali/Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-1

Singles
1. #91 Alexander Ritschard (VIRGINIA) def. #22 Ronnie Schneider (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-1, 6-3
2. #16 William Blumberg (NORTH CAROLINA) def. #14 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VIRGINIA), 6-3, 6-2
3. #116 Robert Kelly (NORTH CAROLINA) def. Carl Söderlund (VIRGINIA), 6-2, 6-4
4. #40 Collin Altamirano (VIRGINIA) def. Simon Soendergaard (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-3, 6-1
5. #109 J.C. Aragone (VIRGINIA) def. Jack Murray (NORTH CAROLINA), 7-6(2), 6-2
6. #102 Henrik Wiersholm (VIRGINIA) vs. Bo Boyden (NORTH CAROLINA), 6-4, 4-2, DNF
Doubles (3,1,2) Singles (1,2,4,3,5)

============================================

WOMEN:
#1 FLORIDA (29-3) 4, #6 STANFORD (26-3) 1

Doubles
1. #11 Anna Danilina/Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA) def. #39 Emily Arbuthnott/Taylor Davidson (STANFORD), 6-2
2. #46 Caroline Doyle/Melissa Lord (STANFORD) vs. 20 Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA), 4-3, DNF
3. #45 Josie Kuhlman/Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. Emma Higuchi/Caroline Lampl (STANFORD), 6-1

Singles
1. #6 Belinda Woolcock (FLORIDA) def. #38 Caroline Doyle (STANFORD), 6-1, 6-3
2. #28 Melissa Lord (STANFORD) def. #23 Josie Kuhlman (FLORIDA), 6-4, 7-5
3. #31 Ingrid Neel (FLORIDA) def. #54 Taylor Davidson (STANFORD), 5-7, 6-3, 6-2
4. #44 Anna Danilina (FLORIDA) vs. #90 Caroline Lampl (STANFORD), 4-6, 6-1, 5-4, DNF
5. Emily Arbuthnott (STANFORD) vs. Brooke Austin (FLORIDA), 2-6, 7-5, 4-2, DNF
6. #59 Kourtney Keegan (FLORIDA) def. Emma Higuchi (STANFORD), 6-0, 6-0
=========================================

The finals are set for the Division III Team Championships, with the women's title to be decided, for the third year in a row, between Emory and Williams.  Defending champion Emory defeated Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 5-1, while Williams defeated Middlebury 5-4, coming from 4-1 down to earn a rematch with the Eagles.  Williams won the 2015 women's title over Emory by a 5-4 score, the same score as Emory's win over Williams last year.

The men's championship match will feature two new finalists this year, although they are two of the elite of Division III tennis.  Emory defeated 2016 champion Bowdoin 5-2, avenging their semifinal loss to the Polar Bears last year. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps lost all three doubles points to 2016 finalist Middlebury, but came back to win five of six singles matches to beat the Panthers 5-4.

For more on the Division III championships, see the tournament page.

3 comments:

Austin said...

Exciting match yesterday, too bad UNC couldn't finish off the doubles, would have been REALLY interesting. Also great job by the ESPN crew attempting to call that match blind for the most part, I was pretty impressed, much better than in previous years. Pat McEnroe did a good job telling the camera guys to move court to court.

Gotta say, getting a little boring that only two teams, USC & UVA have won the title in the past 8!!! years. Add in UGA's two back-to-back titles before that and 3 teams have won in past decade. I am a big fan of parity, so hopefully someone else can take it next year. Wake is probably the favorite, and host, if everyone comes back.

Now for the bad...

As much as I love the tradition of Athens, the crowd support, etc., it's time to leave them behind for a minute. I've been to Athens multiple times and it is a much cooler atmosphere than other places seem, but this week was a daily example of why they didn't get selected for the next round of hosts. Scoreboards were on the fritz daily, and at very crucial times it seemed. Court 1 indoors video didn't work at all one day, only 4 indoor courts, which is a huge issue. And the biggest, no live scoring for indoors courts? Not sure how they don't have that. Again, it's a great place, but they need upgrades. There is the flip side where they can say we get it for free, and true, but I would gladly pay for access. I hope the rain holds off for the most part for individuals. I know everyone involved is working hard to make it the best it can be.

Just sayin' said...

Length of match was clearly not an issue for the NCAA. 7-8 hour matches were the norm with rain delays for 4 days. Clearly, the NCAA made every effort to play outside and indicated that playing the tournament the "right way" was more important than the length of the match. They also tried to treat teams similarly, so teams didn't have more rest than another or gain any benefit.

However, in doing so, the average Fan was the last on the NCAA consideration list. A Fan who showed up for Sunday tennis at 10am saw one full match by 6pm. If you had minor with you, you likely didn't stay until 11pm to see the other matches because it's a school night. If you arrived Monday at 10 am, it took until past 5pm to finish the first match of the day. If you arrived for the 1pm final and came from out of town, it took until 7:30 to finish one match. And similar delays occurred on Sat.

The point is if the NCAA clearly indicates that length of match is clearly not of one the top few issues when it comes to playing tennis the "right way" at the Championships, why is it again that we play No ad?

fan said...

More importantly, why axe 2 doubles games in Dual and 3rd set in Doubles Championship? No ad is merely conditional, while those are not.