Michael D. Case Tennis Center - University of Tulsa
May 15-26, 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008-Day Three
Men's Team Quarterfinals

It was yet another crazy day of wild matches and an upset, but in the end, only one of the top four seeds is gone in the men's team event at the NCAA Championships.

The weather was once again picture-perfect and over 1,300 people came out to watch some incredible tennis. First up was No. 4 Georgia vs. Mississippi. The fifth-ranked Ole Miss team put up quite a fight against the defending champions from start to finish.

It was great doubles, especially in the No. 1 position where U.S. Open Junior Doubles champions Jamie Hunt & Nate Schnugg took it first for the Bulldogs. It wasn't too long before their teammates followed and gave them the 1-0 lead. From there on, though, things got a bit more difficult. Christian Vitulli squeezed past Bram ten Berge for a second point, but Nate Schnugg couldn't close it out at No. 2 and, after serving for it at 5-4, lost the second set to Matthias Wellerman. Travis Helgeson did pull out a hard-fought 6-4,6-4 over Erling Tveit for the third point. And then the waiting began.

It was looking pretty clear that Georgia would get a fourth point -- but where? They were leading on all courts, yet struggling to close it out over a tough Ole Miss resistance. It had even taken Travis six match points and Luis Flores gave up three before losing the second set to Robby Poole. Jamie Hunt was leading it a third, where the games were all close with no end in sight. It was actually Nate Schnugg who finally did it with a command in the third set and a 4-0 Georgia win that was clearly not that simple.

Top-seeded Virginia also had quite a battle on their hands. Baylor, the ninth seed, did drop the doubles point without a win, but singles were different. After Michael Shabaz gave the Cavaliers No. 5 singles, Dominik Mueller put the Bears on the board It wasn't long, though, before Somdev Devvarman earned his 29th consecutive win (though he has had five undecided matches in between) for a 3-1 Virginia lead.

The Baylor Bears kept up the pressure with a win by Denes Lukacs over Treat Huey in a tiebreaker. All eyes turned to the final courts, both in third sets. It was a loud crowd for both teams and Dominic Inglot finally gave the Cavaliers a chance to meet Georgia in the semis for the second year in a row and avenge last year's 4-1 loss.

The Ohio Buckeyes were once again stopped in the quarterfinals. This year the No. 2 team ran into the Texas Longhorns, who snapped their 24-match winning streak.

Even though Texas won the doubles point, there was no clear leader in the singles matches. The first sets were evenly split among the two teams. Four matches would eventually go into third sets and it was, like many other matches today, the closing that mattered. I found this one harder than most to keep track of because of the back and forth breaks, injury timeouts, last minute lineup changes (for Ohio State) and large, moving crowd. Texas took a giant lead when Milan Mihailovic and Luis Diaz Barriga claimed their matches first. It took awhile, but Steven Moneke got the Ohio State win over Kellen Damico and then the crowd waited and moved as the next one was uncertain. It would go to another Buckeye, Balazs Novak, but it would not be enough as Dimitar Kutrovsky (T) defeated Bryan Koniecko for the upset.

The Pac-10 rivalry of UCLA-Southern California runs deep. It was the 176th meeting of these two powerhouses and, despite the fact that the crowd was dwindling and it was late in the day, neither team was prepared to lose. The doubles went down to the finish, with UCLA actually taking the final two at nearly the same time. And then they turned to singles, full of heated passions and line-call arguments.

Two of the first sets in singles went to tiebreakers and Holden Seguso barely got out a 7-5 over Kaes Van't Hof for UCLA. It was a tight match all the way as they all, especially freshman Holden, kept close points and games. I spent most of the time in from of that match, trying to stay clear of Kaes' incredible serve and watching in awe as Holden shot the winners. The win for the Bruin had a questionable line call at match point, but it was before the 4-2 clincher was next door by Harel Srugo, with the Michael Look vs. Gary Sacks left standing at 2-6,6-4,5-4 in favor of the Trojans.

Tomorrow will be the first day when both the men and women play. It will be ladies first as the Bears vs. Bears (Cal vs. Baylor) take to the courts, unfortunately at the same exact time as UCLA vs. Florida. Then the men come out in the evening as UCLA will have the opportunity for a place in both finals.

Until tomorrow,
Marcia Frost

Photos above by Samantha Frost

Click Here For All Results and More Stories from the NCAA Championships

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and the Official NCAA Division I Championship Site

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Matthias Wellerman

Luis Flores

Dennis Lukas

Holden Seguso

Kaes Van't Hof

Christian Vitulli

Erling Tveit

Lars Poerschke
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