2014 ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship Gets Underway Friday in Houston

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2014 ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship Gets Underway Friday in Houston

Texas A&M hosts event for first time

 

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SKILLMAN, NJ (Feb. 12) - The field of 16 is set for the 2014 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championship. Texas A&M University will serve as the host institution of the 40th annual championship at The Downtown Club at the Met and the Galleria Tennis and Athletic Club from February 14-17.

 

Four top seeds fell victim to the upset bug at the 2014 ITA Kick-Off Weekend, marking the most on the men's side in ITA Kick-Off Weekend history. It was smooth sailing for No. 1 Virginia, No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 USC, as all three teams cruised past both opponents without dropping an individual match.

 

A total of five conferences will be represented at this year's Championship, with multiple representatives from the SEC (5), ACC (3), Pac 12 (3), Big 12 (3) and Big Ten (2) participating in the championship. For the complete draw, click here

 

Virginia, 2013 ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Champions

The ITA Division I Men's Experimental Format is being used for all matches at the event. This format consists of all sets in singles and doubles played to six games, with no-ad scoring and a tiebreak at 5-all. An FAQ is also available on the ITA website, with answers to frequently asked questions regarding the experimental formats being played this spring.


For complete coverage of the 2014 ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championship, including draws, links to live scores, photos and more, please visit the official ITA event page. Follow the ITA on Twitter, @ITAtennis or like the ITA on Facebook for updates and news from the weekend's events. Use the hashtag #ITAIndoors for all tweets in regards to the event, or search the term "ITAIndoors" to find others who are tweeting from across the nation about this year's championship, Feb. 14-17.

 

Below is an in-depth look at the 16 teams in the hunt for the 2014 ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championship crown:

 

Baylor

ITA Ranking: 6

Tournament Seed: 6

2013-14 Record: 6-0

The Baylor Bears knocked off Boise State and Auburn to advance from the ITA Kick-Off Weekend to the ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championships. Baylor is the only team to sport three players in the Top 20 of the ITA Singles Rankings, with No. 6 Julian Lenz, No. 9 Patrick Pradella and No. 18 Diego Galeano. Lenz started off the season by rushing to the semifinals of the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championships. Pradella was a quarterfinalist at the All-Americans, while Galeano captured the USTA/ITA Texas Regional Singles Championship. The Bears won this event in 2005.

1st Round Opponent: Texas A&M

 

Cal

ITA Ranking: 11

Tournament Seed: 8

2013-14 Record: 5-0

The Cal Golden Bears fought back from a 2-0 deficit to knock off top-seeded Pepperdine and earn a trip to Houston. Cal was the highest ranked school not hosting an ITA Kick-Off Weekend and had three players win 12 matches during the fall. Seniors Ben McLachlan (No. 62), Campbell Johnson (No. 68) and freshman Andre Goransson (No. 118) earned national rankings and Chase Melton and Gregory Bayane won the USTA/ITA Northwest Regional Championship for the Bears. Cal won two ITA National Team Indoor titles in the 1980s, but has not made it to the finals since 1990.

1st Round Opponent: Mississippi State

 

Duke

ITA Ranking: 13

Tournament Seed: 15

2013-14 Record: 5-3

The Duke Blue Devils have found their form after an 0-2 start, winning five of their last six matches. Duke saw

success at the bottom half of its singles lineup in fall competition, with three players churning out double-digit win totals. The Blue Devils have four Top 60 singles players, and all six singles players are returners from last season. The Blue Devils will look to make their first finals appearance at the National Team Indoors. Duke was the only team to pull off a first-round upset in Seattle last year, knocking off Oklahoma, 4-0.

1st Round Opponent: UCLA

 

Florida

ITA Ranking: 12

Tournament Seed: 12

2013-14 Record: 4-2

Depth is a strength for Florida, as the Gators have six players with double-digit wins on their roster. On the doubles side, the No. 11 pairing of freshman Elliott Orkin (No. 114 in singles) and Gordon Watson made a quarterfinal run at the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championships. The first doubles duo of Stephane Piro and Mike Alford is ranked No. 24 and are 6-1 in tournament play with a win over Illinois' fifth-ranked duo of Ross Guignon and Tim Kopinski. Florida looks to return to the finals for the first time since 2003, led by head coach Bryan Shelton who has previously won the ITA Women's National Team Indoor Championship twice with Georgia Tech.

1st Round Opponent: Ohio State

 

Georgia

ITA Ranking: 4

Tournament Seed: 4

2013-14 Record: 3-2

The Georgia Bulldogs sport five ITA-ranked singles players, led by No. 14 Austin Smith and No. 20 Nathan Pasha, who each have 20 singles wins thus far. Ben Wagland and Hernus Pieters enter the tournament ranked No. 31 in the country, having made a run to the NCAA Doubles Quarterfinals last year. Georgia ousted Columbia and Stanford during ITA Kick-Off Weekend, and also lost a closely contested match to No. 2 UCLA, 4-3. The Bulldogs won back-to-back ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championships in 2006-07 and have made the third-most finals appearances (7) in tournament history.

1st Round Opponent: Texas

 

Illinois

ITA Ranking: 22

Tournament Seed: 10

2013-14 Record: 5-2

The Illinois Illini have backed up their strong 2012-13 campaign with a quality start to the new season. Juniors Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon are ranked No. 5 in the ITA Doubles Ranking after capturing the consolation title at the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championship. In singles, Jared Hiltzik finished as the runner-up in the prestigious USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships and is currently ranked No. 8. As a team, the Illini have already taken down previously undefeated Notre Dame, Texas A&M and Texas, and each will participate in the upcoming championship. Illinois has two ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championships, having won two straight in 2003 and 2004.

1st Round Opponent: Oklahoma

 

Mississippi State

ITA Ranking: 9

Tournament Seed: 9

2013-14 Record: 8-0

The Mississippi State Bulldogs return to the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship for the second-straight year. The Bulldogs were tested at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, and had to win a match at 3-all to defeat Harvard before edging Memphis 4-2 the next day. In the fall, Bulldog Malte Stropp (No. 49) topped Ole Miss' Nik Scholtz (No. 31) for the USTA/ITA Southern Regional Championship. In dual match play, Mississippi State has raced out to an unblemished 8-0 record, also beating No. 54 Texas Tech and No. 69 Samford to accumulate four ranked wins. Freshman Florian Lakat (No. 52) has made his mark this season, defeating No. 21 Nathan Pasha (Georgia) and No. 49 Connor Glennon (Memphis) as part of a 13-4 campaign.

1st Round Opponent: California

 

Notre Dame

ITA Ranking: 16

Tournament Seed: 16

2013-14 Record: 7-1

The Notre Dame Irish turned in a pair of 4-3 wins at ITA Kick-Off Weekend to advance to the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship. In the final, Notre Dame ousted top-seeded and then No. 8 Kentucky. Freshman Eddy Covalschi captured the final two games in a 6-3, 5-6 (5), 6-4 win at No. 6 singles to complete the upset. The Irish topped the Wildcats again a week later, with Covalschi again clinching for Notre Dame. The only loss for the Irish thus far this season came at the hands of Illinois. Notre Dame returns to the tournament for the first time since 2008.

1st Round Opponent: Virginia

 

Ohio State

ITA Ranking: 5

Tournament Seed:

2013-14 Record: 9-0

The Ohio State Buckeyes have stormed past their competition this season, losing just four individual matches during dual match play en route to a perfect 9-0 record. The Buckeyes beat Denver and Louisville during ITA Kick-Off Weekend to advance to the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship and have since posted wins against Kentucky (No. 17) and tournament host school Texas A&M (No. 8). The duo of Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka are currently 17-2 on the year, winning the consolation doubles crown at the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championship. Ohio State has reached the finals at the team indoors three times in the last eight years, but have yet to take home the title.

1st Round Opponent: Florida

 

Oklahoma

ITA Ranking: 7

Tournament Seed: 7

2013-14 Record: 6-0

The Oklahoma Sooners have shown the entire country they will be a tough out in any match in 2013-14. Led by Guillermo Alcorta at No. 1 singles, the Sooners are off to a 6-0 start. Alcorta is 12-2 this season, and finished runner-up at the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championship. His only two losses came at the hands of No. 1 Clay Thompson and No. 3 Mitchell Frank, who both won fall national championship titles. Oklahoma topped Virginia Tech and Northwestern to advance to this tournament and the Sooners will look to make their first final.

1st Round Opponent: Illinois

 

Tennessee

ITA Ranking: 14

Tournament Seed: 14

2013-14 Record: 9-1

The Tennessee Volunteers, three-time runners-up at the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship, have once again qualified for the tournament. Tennessee took out Michigan State and VCU at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend to earn its stop in the prestigious 16-team event. Hunter Reese and Mikelis Libietis teamed up for a stellar fall, making the doubles final of both fall ITA National Championships, and winning the doubles title at the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championship. The duo sports a 19-2 record this season. The Volunteers also recently defeated tournament participant Duke 4-2 in non-conference action.

1st Round Opponent: USC

 

Texas

ITA Ranking: 10

Tournament Seed: 13

2013-14 Record: 7-1

The Texas Longhorns were the only No. 4 seed from the ITA Kick-Off Weekend to defy odds and qualify for a spot in the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship. The Longhorns floored top-seeded Vanderbilt 4-0 in the first round before edging Wake Forest in the finals. Junior Clement Homs fought back from 5-2 down in the final set of the deciding match to earn a 2-6, 6-4, 6-5 (3) triumph and a Texas victory. Since qualifying, the Longhorns have also bested ranked opponents Alabama and Michigan. Lloyd Glasspool has been a standout for Texas, as he's ranked No. 29 in the ITA Singles Rankings and has paired with Soren Hess-Olesen for a 16-4 record and the No. 7 ITA Doubles Ranking.

1st Round Opponent: Georgia

 

Texas A&M

ITA Ranking: 8

Tournament Seed: 11

2013-14 Record: 6-2

The Texas A&M Aggies will serve as the host institution, but will try to keep the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship trophy in Texas this weekend. The Aggies scheduled very strong opponents in the lead-in to the event, losing to tournament participants Illinois and Ohio State. Against the Buckeyes, the No. 3-ranked pair of Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow won at first singles to clinch the doubles point against the No. 2 duo of Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka. Though they were bested on four of six singles courts, the Aggies were competitive with fifth-ranked Ohio State. Texas A&M sports a very strong top three singles players, with all three ranked in the Top 50 of the ITA Singles Rankings.

1st Round Opponent: Baylor

 

UCLA

ITA Ranking: 2

Tournament Seed: 2

2013-14 Record: 5-0

The UCLA Bruins, who were a few inches away from the 2013 NCAA Team Championship, have already had a strong 2013-14 campaign. The Bruins are 5-0, with every win coming over a ranked opponent. Clay Thompson is currently at the peak of college tennis, holding the No. 1 ITA Singles Ranking, the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship singles title and a 26-2 record. Teammate Marcos Giron isn't far behind at No. 5, and he sports a 12-2 record, having won the Sherwood Collegiate Cup and the consolation singles title at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship. Freshmen Gage Brymer (No. 26) and Mackenzie McDonald (No. 51) have also earned strong ITA Singles Rankings early in their careers. On the doubles court, Giron and McDonald are the No. 9 team in the nation after finishing as runners-up at the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championship.

First Round Opponent: Duke

 

USC

ITA Ranking: 3

Tournament Seed: 3

2013-14 Record: 4-0

The USC Trojans are off to a scorching start in dual match play, winning all four matches 4-0 in decisive fashion. Most impressively, USC bested then No. 3 Georgia, 4-0, with singles wins by Ray Sarmiento (No. 7), Yannick Hanfmann (No. 16) and Jonny Wang (No. 47). In the fall, Sarmiento made a semifinal run in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship and the Round of 16 at the Saint Francis Health System ITA Men's All-American Championship. Sarmiento pairs with Hanfmann to form the No. 35 team in the ITA Doubles Rankings. Wang's best result of the season came in the first round at Tulsa, where he provided the biggest upset of the day in topping No. 2 seed Peter Kobelt.

1st Round Opponent: Tennessee

 

Virginia

ITA Ranking: 1

Tournament Seed: 1

2013-14 Record: 4-0

The defending champion Virginia Cavaliers have won five of the last six ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championships, and will look to continue their dominance in Houston. The Cavaliers have surrendered just one set in singles action this spring, winning every match including wins over Elon and Indiana to advance through the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Virginia has four nationally-ranked singles players, led by No. 3 Mitchell Frank. Frank won the Saint Francis ITA National Men's All-American Championship and is 8-0 this year, to move his career collegiate record to 69-4. The Cavaliers were without standout Alex Domijan and newcomer Thai-Son Kwiatkowski for most of the fall. Domijan and Kwiatkowski both posted 4-0 records thus far this spring. The Cavaliers' roster also boasts 2013 NCAA Doubles Champion Mac Styslinger (No. 61 in ITA Singles Rankings), who pairs with Frank for the No. 44 ITA Doubles Ranking.

1st Round Opponent: Notre Dame

 

About the ITA Men's Experimental Format

During the 2014 ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championship, all matches will be played using the ITA Division I Men's Experimental Format. The men will play all sets in singles and doubles to six games, with no-ad scoring and with a tiebreak at 5-all. For more information on the experimental format, please click here to read the Frequently Asked Questions. 

 

About the ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championships

The ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championship is held annually each February. The men's event began in 1973 and will be held for the 40th time in 2014. The event features 16 participating teams: the 15 schools who won both of their matches during the ITA Kick-Off Weekend and the host site school. The tournament is held over four days, and begins on Friday with first round play, followed by quarterfinals on Saturday, semifinals on Sunday and the final on Monday.


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