College Tennis Review – July
Welcome to the July edition of US College Tennis review. Our first order of business is to discuss the amazing NCAA men’s championship final, which we overlooked last month! After consecutive years of heartbreak, Virginia finally took home the crown with a thrilling 4-3 win over #1 ranked UCLA. The Cavaliers have been remarkably consistent in recent years and fully deserve the win, though the Bruins will be looking back on a missed opportunity.
The final match was a memorable affair between Mitchell Frank of Virginia and Adrien Puget for UCLA. Puget was leading 5-3 in the final set and reached match point but was called for touching the net. It was likely the difference between victory and defeat. There is no doubt that UCLA will be back and given Virginia’s recent record and the new-found confidence of winning the big one, it seems certain that they will be the team to beat for the next few years.
Male College Tennis Player of the Year
The experts say the accolade should go to Blaz Rola of Ohio State and who are we to argue? He had an incredible 32-1 record this season and lost just 9 sets! In doubles, his record was 28-1. When paired with Kevin Metka, the duo won all 21 doubles matches! An honorable mention must go to Mitchell Frank, for not only did he come from behind to help Virginia clinch the title, he also ended the season with a superb 23-2 record. Devin McCarthy of Ohio State deserves praise too for his 28-2 record, which included victory in his last 22 matches.
Women’s NCAA Championships
Not to be outdone, the women’s final was just as exciting, as #12 seeded Stanford became the lowest ranked team to ever win the title. Although it doesn’t constitute a fairytale story, since the Cardinals have now won 17 NCAA titles and were champions as recently as 2010. It was still an impressive win, since they defeated the #1, #3, #4 and #5 seeds along the way and all in the space of just 5 days.
Their latest NCAA title came after a 4-3 win over #3 ranked Texas A&M. Kristie Ahn won the decisive match after Stanford had thrown away a 3-0 lead. It was an especially sweet win for Ahn who missed her All-American freshman season through injury before seeing her sophomore year also suffer, as she sustained fresh injury problems. Stanford’s Nicole Gibbs produced the most impressive turnaround of the night. After losing the first 8 games, she proceeded to play some extraordinary tennis and rattled off the next 12 for a convincing victory that had put Stanford 3-0 up.
Stanford proved that they keep producing talented players and managed this win without its #2 player, Mallory Burdette, as she elected to turn professional last year. It seems certain that Gibbs will follow suit, but you can be sure that the Cardinals will just keep on developing exciting new talent.
We hope you enjoyed our NCAA Championship round-up, but there is no rest as the 2013/14 season has already begun. We wait in anticipation to see the next batch of supremely gifted young players coming through.