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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Washington University Claims Men's D-III Indoor Title; Stanford Women Blank Florida; Alabama Women, Boise State Men Win Blue Gray Titles; Riley Takes Grade 4 in Mexico

Top-seeded Washington University (St. Louis) won the ITA Men's Division III Team Indoor championship today in Cleveland, beating Johns Hopkins 6-3 in the final.

Although long a national contender, with NCAA Final Four appearances the past six years (and a title in 2008), this is the first Team Indoor title for the Bears in four appearances in the final. Johns Hopkins, the No. 6 seed, had never reached a Team Indoor final before, and despite their loss today, have established themselves among the elite in Division III men's tennis.

The complete draw and results can be found at the ITA tournament page.

For a comprehensive look at the whole tournament, with a breakdown of its winners and losers, see the division3tennis.com blog.

After all the experiments in Division I college tennis, I'm struck how stable the format has been in Division III, with three doubles points decided in eight-game pro sets first, then six singles matches played with standard scoring. They do limit their National Championships to eight teams however.  Could this be the key to silencing the constant calls for change in Division I?

The big match in women's Division I tennis today was No. 3 Stanford hosting No. 5 Florida, but it proved to be a disappointment, especially in light of their recent history of dramatic matches, with Stanford winning 7-0.   For a complete recap, see the Stanford website.

The men's Top 10 match Sunday proved more exciting, with No. 5 Oklahoma defeating No. 8 Texas A&M 5-2 in Norman.  After the Sooners won the doubles point, the teams split four matches in straight sets, but Oklahoma won the two three-setters, with Alex Ghilea defeating Max Lunkin  5-7, 7-5, 6-2 at line 6 to clinch it.  For more, see the Texas A&M website.

At the Blue Gray Tennis Classic in Montgomery, Alabama, the Boise State men repeated as champions, defeating Virginia Commonwealth 4-2 in the final.  The women's championship went down to the wire, with Alabama defeating Rice 4-3.  It was decided in a match tiebreaker in lieu of a third set, with Mary Anne Daines defeating Natalie Beazant at the No. 1 position to give the Crimson Tide the title.  The ITA format experiment, which I thought concluded at the Team Indoor Championships, was extended to include this tournament.

ITF junior action is sparse in late February, but Sydney Riley of the US picked up her first ITF title, winning the Jalisco, Mexico Grade 4 on clay. The 16-year-old Texan, who was a finalist at the same tournament last year, beat unseeded Daniela Morales Beckmann of Mexico 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 6-4 in the championship match.  Riley was the No. 4 seed. Megan Horn of the US teamed with Ariana Rahmanparast of Costa Rica to win the girls doubles title over top seeds Jessica Hinojosa Gomez and Ana Luisa Perez Lopez of Mexico 7-5, 5-7, 10-5.