Tuesday, May 22, 2007-Day Six
It's a great day in Georgia as the University of Georgia men and the Georgia Tech women took home the NCAA Champion crowns.
The Georgia men picked up their fifth title after a dominating season. It was ironic that the last time this event was here it was their surprise opponents, the Fighting Illini, who came in here with the same undefeated season. The doubles went down to the wire with the Bulldogs taking the point at third and second, down 7-8 on the unfinished court.
As it often is, the 4-0 Georgia score does not tell the story. Four of the six matches went to tiebreakers in the first set, with Ryan Rowe taking his for the Illini at No. 2. Kevin Anderson had three set points in the second before John Isner took the match. The Bulldogs earned their right to brag as the current best in college tennis.
Illinois men had incredible run considering they spent a year plagued by injuries and at times could barely put together six players. They came in to this event as No. 10 and took out the No. 2, 3 & 7 seeds. Billy Heiser actually made his college tennis debut at the NCAAs. I have no doubt that we will see this team, who will return all but GD Jones next year, in the winners circle again.
Georgia Coach Manny Diaz credited his team for their incredible season, ""It's players that win championships, and that's exactly what they did." And they did it 32 times this season. It was an especially good day for Matic Ormezel who was able to "redeem himself." After giving away the final point to Pepperdine last year, Matic today clinched it for the Bulldogs.
What a fairy tale it has been for the Georgia Tech women. Bryan Shelton built a team of firsts. They took down Stanford at the National Indoors for the team's first title and first number one ranking and now they have an NCAA trophy. It is actually the first NCAA title for the Yellow Jackets in any sport.
Senior Alison Silverio was the clincher and it wasn't an easy task. She took the first set 7-5 from Tracy Lin, but lost the second in the same score. The match was full of controversial linecalls that attracted quite a bit of crowd comments. Alison was just pumped in the third and there was no stopping her in the third as she took it 6-1.
The match started with UCLA easily taking the doubles point with 8-3 scores on 1 & 2. The tide quickly changed as Georgia Tech won four of the first sets. It did not continue so easily, though, as half of the matches were three-setters. Down to three matches with a score 2-2, it could have gone either way at anytime.
I was extremely impressed with the sportsmanship shown by the coaches at the end of the match. There was hugging and genuine respect between Bryan Shelton and Stella Sampras Webster. Coach Shelton was also quick to thank his Assistant, Mariel Verban, and all of the members of his staff.
If the NCAA Team Championship is any indication, we are due for a wild ride through the individuals -- and I can't wait!
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