Stanford University - Palo Alto, California
May 18-29, 2006

May 20, 2006
Men's Team Championships, Day One

The men's teams came out today ready for the challenge and only the very best tennis survived the intense matches. The underdogs are gone and only seeds remain with two teams missing from the top eight.

It was quick and easy for Ohio State as they grabbed up the doubles point and won all their matches against North Carolina in short, straight sets. The leader of the pack was Devin Mullings, but Bryan Koniecko -- who has been too hot to beat these last few weeks -- wasn't far behind. Even Tar Heels Coach Sam Paul admitted that the Buckeyes were just too good. No. 6 Ohio State now faces No. 3 Texas. Despite a few obstacles, they got right past their opponents -- No. 14 Mississippi, 4-1

It certainly wasn't quick or easy for UCLA (10) to beat Illinois (7). It began with an incredible doubles competition that lasted nearly an hour and a half. UCLA picked up the point after Mathieu Dehaine and Jeremy Drean squeaked by Ruben Gonzales and GD Jones in a third match tiebreaker. And the singles were even closer. Huge crowds (with supporters of both teams) cheered as it all came down to No. 5 & 6 singles where UCLA's Chris Surapol edged Ruben Gonzales in an incredible 6-4,6-4, just before Illinois' Marc Spicijaric was looking to take the third set from Michael Look. The two freshman had battled it out for hours and gave us all a good preview of the talent in the future of college tennis.

The Baylor/Washington match had a very unusual start. First, Baylor was no where to be found and it took three calls over the loudspeakers urging the Baylor team to take the court. When they did, everyone was shocked to see they were starting (and loudly announcing) the match on the same set of courts as the finishing Illinois/UCLA match! This was annoying to everyone and should definitely not have happened, but in consideration of everything that needs to be coordinated at this massive event, I would like to believe it was a mistake that would not be repeated. After the Illini and the Bruins cleared the courts, unseeded Washington gave No. 5 Baylor a battle for the quarters, but the seed prevailed, 4-1.

Over in the main stadium Pepperdine showed the crowd how they earned their No. 2 seeding as they took the doubles point without too much effort and finished the singles in two-setters. It was also on the stadium that the No. 13 Stanford men took the homecourt advantage to shutout No. 4 Duke.

Into the evening, unseeded Notre Dame put up a challenge in the doubles competition against top-seeded Georgia, but they couldn't get it going in singles as the Bulldogs ran through the matches. It was much closer than the 4-0 score of No. 8 Virginia over No. 9 Miami. Daniel Vallverdu needed a tiebreaker to beat Rylan Rizza. and all the other matches were decided by a few games -- with the remaining ones in the third set.

Sunday is scheduled to be an exciting day of men's quarters and women's semis if the predicted rain doesn't come. Wherever or whenever the matches do get played, I'm sure there will be surprises.

Until Tomorrow,
Marcia Frost

Story & Photos from May 19th


Click Here For Full Men's Team Results

Click Here For Full Women's Team Results

Click Here For All Results

And... For some more insight into the 2006 NCAA Division I Championships, check out Colette Lewis' Blog at http://www.zootennis.com

click on a photo to enlarge

Bryan Koniecko

Brad Pomeroy

Roger Gubser

John Isner

Ryan Rowe

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