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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Nineteen Players Earn All-American Status Tuesday at NCAA D-I Singles Championships; Men's Top Doubles Seeds Ousted; Barry Sweeps D-II Titles; Chicago Plays for Both D-III Titles Wednesday

©Colette Lewis 2022-
Champaign IL

Day Two of the NCAA Division I singles championships is a special one for the unseeded players in the tournament, as they can earn the coveted status of All-America if they win to advance to the round of 16.

A baker's dozen of women and eight men claimed that honor Tuesday in Champaign, which also means that many a seed was eliminated from contention.

The North Carolina women had five of their starting six in the field and after today three are All-Americans, with Elizabeth Scotty, Fiona Crawley and Carson Tanguilig joing Cameron Morra, who received the designation by virtue of being seeded in the tournament, but lost in the first round yesterday.

Scotty defeated 9-16 seed Jaeda Daniel of North Carolina State 6-1, 6-3; Crawley defeated Tatiana Makarova of Texas A&M 6-2, 6-4 and Tanguilig beat Sabina Machalova of Mississippi 6-4, 6-1.

The other women who are now All-Americans are Kylie Collins of Texas; Lisa Zaar of Pepperdine, who defeated No. 6 seed Sarah Hamner of South Carolina; Paola Diaz-Delgado of VCU; Michaela Bayerlova of Washington State; Mariia Kozyreva of St. Marys; Haley Giavara of Cal; Connie Ma of Stanford; Abigail Rencheli of NC State, Natasha Subhash of Virginia and Salma Ewing of Southern California.

Ma defeated McCartney Kessler of Florida, a 9-16 seed 7-5, 6-4 after trailing 5-2 and saving four set points in the first set.

"I was down 3-5 0-40," said Ma, a freshman from Dublin California. "I tried to play a little more aggressive, and once I knew her game a little better, I knew to take balls a little earlier, not give her as much time, not let her attack as much."

As for the All-American part of today's match, Ma said she didn't really understand its importance until this year.

"Coming into college I didn't really know what it was," Ma said. "You hear about it, my friends who are older, they say, oh they have the All-American honor, but I'm like oh, I don't really know what it is. I didn't worry about it coming into college. But then I was like, maybe I should look into it, because it sounds cool. Then I looked into the requirements, and I was glad I was able to achieve that goal."

Ma will play USC senior Ewing, who defeated Veronika Miroshnichenko 7-5, 6-4.

Unlike Ma, Ewing wasn't aware of what was riding on her match today.

"It's very exciting, and it's such a great honor," said Ewing, who has played Ma twice this season, losing to her in the ITF Fall National Championships and at the No. 1 singles position when the teams played in during the conference season. "But I didn't know it until afterward the match."

That was not the case for two of the eight men who earned their designations today: Ron Hohmann of LSU and JJ Tracy of Ohio State.

Hohmann said the prospect of being an All-American looked bleak when he fell behind Juan Carlos Aguilar of TCU, a 9-16 seed. 

"When I was down 7-5, 4-1, I was not feeling good," said the sophomore from New York, who went on to claim a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 win. "I was up 5-3 in the first doing what I was supposed to do, and I let off a little bit and he started playing well. Lost the first set, went down, was making mistake after mistake and then I locked in. Honestly it got to the point where I said I'm just going to go for it and see what happens."

Hohmann knew what was on line, but kept his focus on the match, not on that, at least until he could see the finish line.

"I knew if I won I'd be All-American, but that went out of my head real quick," said Hohmann, who plays defending champion Sam Riffice of Florida Wednesday. "It came back into my head when I was serving for the match, so I was a little nervous there, but I'm happy that I pulled it out."

Tracy admitted that his thoughts turned to the honor during the match, costing him his focus and several games in his 6-1, 6-3 win over Filippo Moroni of Wake Forest. 

"I won the first set pretty handily and went up 3-0 in the second and the thoughts started flowing in my brain," said the sophomore from Hilton Head, South Carolina. "Oh shoot, if I win three more games here, hold out, I become an All-American, and I messed it up, it went 3-all. I had to recompose myself and fight back to get the second."

Tracy will face top seed Ben Shelton of Florida, who defeated Axel Nefve of Notre Dame 6-0, 7-6(1). Shelton and Tracy met in the quarterfinals of the ITA All-American Championships last fall, with eventual champion Shelton claiming a 7-6(7), 7-5 victory.

"It was a battle, and a few points here and there and we're in a third set," Tracy said. "I'm feeling good, going in thinking I have a good chance."

In addition to Hohmann and Tracy, six other men made All-American: Riffice, who came through a very tough battle with Garrett Johns of Duke 7-5, 4-6, 7-5; Brian Cernoch of North Carolina; Henry Von der Schulenburg of Harvard; Gabriel Diallo of Kentucky, Eduardo Nava of Wake Forest and Inaki Montes of Virginia.

The first round of doubles began Tuesday afternoon, and it didn't take long for a big upset to surface, with men's top seeds Luc Fomba and Jacob Fearnley of TCU falling to brothers Charles and Maxence Bertimon of Virginia Commonwealth 6-3, 2-6, 10-7.

No. 2 seeds Robert Cash and Matej Vocel of Ohio State where one point away from suffering the same fate, but held on a deciding point serving at 4-5 in the second set and went on to eke out a 4-6, 7-6(5), 10-8 victory over Mississippi's Finn Reynolds and Lukas Engelhardt.  Cash and Vocel won both ITA majors last fall.

In women's doubles, top seeds Jaeda Daniel and Nell Miller of North Carolina State defeated UCLA's Elysia Bolton and Elise Wagle 6-2, 7-6(4). No. 2 seeds Elizabeth Scotty and Fiona Crawley managed to hold off Irina Cantos Siemers and Sydni Ratliff of Ohio State 7-5, 4-6, 11-9 in a match that finished after 9:30 pm. Scotty won the NCAA title last year with Makenna Jones.

With rain in the forecast for Wednesday, the first matches of the day have been moved up to 9 am.

See the University of Illinois tournament page for links to the draws with times, the live scoring and streaming via TennisONE.

The Division II team championships concluded in Florida over the weekend, with Barry's men and women taking the titles.

The top-seeded women won their fifth straight title, defeating No. 2 seed Central Oklahoma 4-1.  For more, see this article from the Barry website.

The third-seeded Barry men won their third straight title, defeating No. 4 seed Wayne State 4-1. Wayne State had beaten top seed Columbus State 4-3 in the semifinals.  For more, see this article from the Barry website.

The Division III team championships are set for Wednesday at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona.  As with Barry in Division II, both the University of Chicago programs have advanced to the finals. The Chicago men will face Case Western Reserve at 10 am, with the Chicago women taking on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 3 pm. The finals will be broadcast on NCAA.com; links to that and live scoring can be found at the tournament page.