2006 NCAA TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Stanford University - Palo Alto, California
May 18-29, 2006

May 21, 2006-Day Four


It isn't often a writer has too much to say about a day's play, however, this was the case today. It's hard to know where to begin, so let's just start at the beginning...

First up in the morning on stadium court was Miami (7) vs. Southern California (3). The doubles matches were good, with each court having its own leader. By a mile it was Audra Cohen/Melissa Applebaum who took the first one for Miami over Dianne Matias/Carine Vemeulen (8-4), but the others were not quick to follow. It was awhile later before Luana Magnani/Lindsey Nelson got the second for USC, and even longer before teammates Judy DeVera/Amanda Fink would secure the doubles point. None of the singles were able to finish before the rain came, however, Miami had picked up the majority of the first sets, leaving the match running close for its Monday restart.


The only other match to get started at Stanford was Ohio State (6) vs. Texas (3). It began with an incredible doubles event that ended in a tiebreaker for Texas and finished seven hours later indoors at the San Francisco tennis club. I missed quite a bit between the beginning and the end (I was in the Stanford pressroom awaiting word on whether the women would begin play there), I was fortunate enough to get there for the last marathon hour.

It was a "you had to be there" spectacular with the crowds overflowing the stairs, the balcony, and anywhere else they could find a spot. I was able to stay down by the courts and watch the action when -- at 2-1 Ohio State -- the Buckeyes shouted as Steve Moneke gave them a 3-1 lead. It wasn't long before the gap closed as Roger Gubser took one for Texas and all eyes followed the final two. Longhorn Travis Helgeson pulled the third set out from Bryan Koniecko to tie it all at 3-3 and it was all up to Dennis Mertens and Michael Reyes Valera, also in the third set. The semifinal berth was left to a third set tiebreaker. The Ohio State crowd cheered as Dennis had it up to 5-2, but as quickly as the lead came it was gone and Texas amazingly came back to win it 7-5.


At the conclusion of the Ohio State/Texas match (and the shock it brought with it), the San Francisco Tennis Club became a college tennis mecca. Through one narrow hallway we all stood -- coaches, relatives and a few photographers & reporters -- as three quarterfinal men's matches went on. First it was UCLA (10) vs. Pepperdine (2) as the Waves proved their seeding and clearly took the doubles point. Then the hometown Stanford Cardinals (10) tried to fight off Baylor (5), pushing some incredible doubles to a tiebreaker for No. 2 Blake Muller/Matt Bruch, who couldn't hold off Bears Matt Brown/Matija Zgaga. And then, Virginia (8) took the backcourts with top-seeded Georgia, where the Bulldogs dominated the doubles.

I managed stayed on my feet in that hallway for four hours of great matches that continued for hours after that. In the end, it was No. 1 Georgia left to face No. 5 Baylor and No. 3 Texas to go against No. 2 Pepperdine in the semis. A near perfect seeding.

The women's matches were postponed until Monday, leaving the finals for both men and women to take place on Tuesday (the exact schedule has not yet been released). The forecast is looking a little better and the outlook in Taube Stadium at Stanford is certainly a bright one as four of the top teams in college tennis will take the stage.

Until Tomorrow,
Marcia Frost

Story & Photos from May 20th

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

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Lindsey Nelson

Audra Cohen














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