Tennessee to Play Two-Time Defending Champion and Tournament Host
Virginia in ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship Finals
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Finals have been set for the 16 teams competing in the 2010 ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship hosted by the University of Virginia at the Boar’s Head Sports Club.
More on the Finalists:
#2 Virginia: Tournament host and second-seeded Virginia continues to hold serve in defending their title and setting their sights on winning a third consecutive ITA National Men’s Team Indoor title. One night after Virginia fans packed the house recording a facility record crowd of 1,250 in UVA’s sweep of Georgia, their was little to no drop in the attendance figures for today’s 4-1 win over No. 3 seeded Ohio State. The two-time defending champs advanced to their third consecutive final where they will face red-hot fifth-seeded Tennessee.
“We have been coming out with a lot of energy every day and a big reason for that is our fans,” said Virginia head coach Brian Boland. “Every match has had a great atmosphere and our guys just feed off that. I have been pleased with our focus and composure throughout the tournament.”
The Cavaliers (7-1) took a 1-0 lead in the match by winning the doubles point. Ohio State (8-1) took an early edge as Matt Allare and Shuhei Uzawa topped Lee Singer and Sanam Singh 8-5 at No. 3 doubles. Seconds later the Cavaliers drew even as Michael Shabaz and Drew Courtney defeated Justin Kronauge and Chase Buchanan 8-6 at the No. 1 position. Houston Barrick and Jarmere Jenkins clinched the opening point with their 8-5 win at No. 2 over Dino Marcan and Balasz Novak.
“Doubles has been giving us a lot of momentum,” said Boland. “When you head into singles after winning the doubles, you can either use that momentum or waste it. We have been doing a good job of jumping out strong in singles.”
Virginia won four of the six first sets and won three matches in straight sets. Courtney topped Uzawa 6-3, 6-3 at No. 4 singles, Barrick won 6-2, 6-4 over Novak at No. 5 singles and Singh clinched the victory with his 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 2 over Kronuage.
“We have been playing great across the board, from No. 1 to No. 6 in the lineup,” said Boland. “It was a total team effort and we are going to need another one tomorrow against a tough Tennessee team.”
Virginia will be looking to win its third consecutive ITA National Team Indoor Championship. Stanford, who won the first three tournaments held from 1973-76, is the only school to win three consecutive tournament titles.
First Round Matchup: No. 2 Virginia def. No. 15 Alabama, 4-0
Quarterfinal Matchup: No. 2 Virginia def. No. 7 Georgia, 4-0
Semifinal Matchup: No. 2 Virginia def. No. 3 Ohio State, 4-1
Final Matchup: No. 2 Virginia vs. No. 5 Tennessee – 12:00 p.m. (ET)
No. 2 Virginia 4, No. 3 Ohio State 1
1. Courtney/Shabaz (UVa) def. Buchanan/Kronauge (OSU) 8-6
2. Barrick/Jenkins (UVa) def. Marcan/Novak (OSU) 8-5
3. Allare/Uzawa (OSU) def. Singh/Singer (UVa) 8-5
1. #3 Michael Shabaz (UVa) vs. #103 Chase Buchanan (OSU) 4-6, 6-3, 0-0 DNF
2. #12 Sanam Singh (UVa) def. Justin Kronauge (OSU) 6-3, 6-3
3. Dino Marcan (OSU) def. #16 Jarmere Jenkins (UVa) 6-1, 6-4
4. #31 Drew Courtney (UVa) def. #34 Shuhei Uzawa (OSU) 6-3, 6-3
5. #58 Houston Barrick (UVa) def. Balazs Novak (OSU) 6-2, 6-4
6. #28 Lee Singer (UVa) led Matt Allare (OSU) 6-3, 3-4 DNF
#5 Tennessee:Fifth-seeded Tennessee punched their ticket to the ITA National Team Indoor Championship for the first time in 17 years, where they fell to UCLA, 5-2.
After securing a close doubles point, the fifth-seeded Vols quickly built momentum in singles to defeat eighth-ranked Texas 4-1, propelling the southeast UT into tomorrow’s final versus two-time defending champs and tournament host, Virginia.
J.P. Smith and freshman Rhyne Williams picked up wins on courts one and three, before freshman Tennys Sandgren shut the door on Texas with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Jean Andersen at the No. 4 position.
“Texas is a really good team, and they’re going to be one of the teams to beat at the end of the year,” Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham said. “For us to go out and play like we did against them, I thought we played with lots of confidence and the commitment we’ve been talking about the whole year. That’s what it’s going to take on every court to beat these teams and win championships.”
Reaching the finals has been a long time coming for the Vols, who last made it to the championship match in 1993 when Associate Head Coach Chris Woodruff was playing No. 1 for the team as a sophomore. Tennessee came close last year after knocking off top-ranked Ohio State in the quarters before losing to Virginia in the next round.
“That just shows you how hard it is — it’s not easy to reach the finals,” Winterbotham said. “Every year, there are great teams.
“We’re certainly proud of that, but we’re focused to go out tomorrow and see if we can win this championship. That was the goal coming into the event. Now that we’ve put ourselves in the championship match, we can see how we respond.”
The doubles point proved to be a major factor last year in the Vols’ 4-3 loss to Texas in the round of 16 at the NCAA Championships. On Sunday, however, the Vols used the doubles game to their advantage.
Texas picked up the first doubles match, with Andersen and Daniel Whitehead winning at the No. 3 position 8-6 against Tennys Sandgren and Matteo Fago. Smith and Davey Sandgren, ranked seventh nationally, evened things up by defeating their third ranked opponent of the season before Williams and junior Boris Conkic clinched the doubles point with an 8-5 victory. It was their 16th doubles victory of the season.
Texas briefly tied the match 1-1 when 38th-ranked Josh Zevala defeated No. 52 Matt Brewer 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 5 position. After Smith, ranked second nationally, earned his third victory over No. 5 Dimitar Kutrovsky, Tennys Sandgren, who had suffered his first career dual-match loss in the quarterfinals against UCLA in two sets, bounced back to clinch the match for the Vols.
“Tennys, coming in a freshman this semester, handling himself the way he did today was just fantastic,” Winterbotham said. “It takes a little bit of time to understand what college tennis is all about, the tremendous fun of playing for the university and your teammates. I’ve really seen Tennys take that to heart. He really gave us some great energy today.”
First Round Matchup: No. 5 Tennessee def. No. 12 Illinois, 4-0
Quarterfinal Matchup: No. 5 Tennessee def. No. 4 UCLA – 4-2
Semifinal Matchup: No. 5 Tennessee def. No. 8 Texas, 4-1
Final Matchup: No. 5 Tennessee vs. No. 2 Virginia – 12:00 p.m. (ET)
#5 Tennessee 4, #8 Texas 1
1. #2 John-Patrick Smith, Tenn., def. #5 Dimitar Kutrovsky, Texas, 6-3, 6-4
2. #9 Ed Corrie, Texas, led #68 Boris Conkic, Tenn., 6-0, 3-4 DNF
3. #22 Rhyne Williams, Tenn., def. Kellen Damico, Texas, 6-2, 6-2
4. Tennys Sandgren, Tenn., def. Jean Andersen, Texas, 6-3, 6-3
5. #38 Josh Zevala, Texas, def. #52 Matt Brewer, Tenn., 6-3, 6-3
6. Matteo Fago, Tenn., led #104 Vasko Mladenov, Texas, 6-3, 5-4 DNF
1. #7 D. Sandgren/Smith, Tenn., def. #22 Kutrovsky/Zavala, Texas, 8-6
2. #12 Conkic/Williams, Tenn., def. Corrie/Damico, Texas, 8-5
3. Andersen/Whitehead, Texas, def. Fago/T. Sandgren, 8-6
For complete results, visit www.itatennis.com. The final is set for 12 pm at the Boar’s Head Sports Club and admission is free.