NCAA Championships Update – Men’s & Women’s Finals 2017

The downpour in Athens, Ga., continued into the final day of the NCAA Team Championships, which caused the men’s final to be pushed back three hours and to the indoor courts at the University of Georgia.

The women’s final was delayed three hours as well, but the conditions outside were perfect for an intense match under the lights.

With a live national audience on ESPNU getting a taste of the action, it was No. 2 Virginia which claimed its third consecutive national title with a 4-2 victory over No. 9 North Carolina. And in the historical matchup on the women’s side, No. 1 Florida took down No. 7 Stanford, 4-1, in the 10thall-time meeting in the NCAA finals between the two schools.

Women’s Bracket

Men’s Bracket

With the team finals in the books, attention now turns to the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships which begin on Wednesday in Athens.

Women’s Singles & Doubles Bracket

Men’s Singles & Doubles Bracket

Highlights from May 23

MEN – Virginia vs. North Carolina

Virginia Men’s Tennis Homepage

In the first all-ACC final in NCAA men’s history, fans packed the indoor facility, enough to where security could not let any more spectators inside. As lines gathered outside, the energy rose on the courts as fans clung to every point. Doubles play featured Virginia claiming a win at No. 3 and UNC being victorious at No. 1. At No. 2, UVA’s Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (Charlotte, N.C.) and Alexander Ritschard faced UNC’s Jack Murray (Beverly Hills, Mich.) and Simon Soendergaard, and the Cavaliers held a 5-4 lead and three match points on Soendergaard’s serve. The Tar Heels saved the first two, then on the no-ad deuce point, Kwiatkowski’s return went straight at Murray at the net who defensively got enough on it to drop it just over the net.

Both doubles teams held to force a tiebreak, and Virginia never led until it was 6-5, and on the fourth match point, Ritschard’s serve set up a soft volley winner from Kwiatkowski to clinch the doubles point.

With just four courts, the No. 5 and No. 6 singles positions would have to wait their turn. However the wait time for two courts to open went by fast as UVA’s Ritschard defeated Ronnie Schneider (Bloomington, Ind.), 6-1, 6-3, at No. 1 to make it 2-0, and UNC’s William Blumberg(Greenwich, Conn.) took down Kwiatkowski, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 2 two minutes later.

Virginia stretched its advantage to 3-1 at No. 4 singles when Collin Altamirano (Sacramento, Calif.) served up a monster ace on match point to defeat Soendergaard, 6-3, 6-1. The Tar Heels’Robert Kelly (Chapel Hill, N.C.) fired in some solid first serves of his own to close out his 6-2, 6-4 decision No. 3 against Carl Soderlund.

It would be awhile until the champion would be crowned as No. 5 and No. 6 were early in their first sets. Needing just one more point to hoist the trophy, Virginia’s J.C. Aragone (Yorba Linda, Calif.) went on fire in the first-set tiebreak, winning the first six points en route to jumping ahead one set to love against Murray. The Cavaliers also secured the first set at No. 6 where Henrik Wiersholm (Kirkland, Wash.) was ahead of Blaine Boyden (Raleigh, N.C.). Aragone and Wiersholm then both broke early in the second sets, as Aragone was virtually unstoppable. The Virginia senior stretched his lead to 5-2 with a textbook lob over Murray. On the first championship point, Aragone converted it immediately for a 7-6(2), 6-2 triumph, and the celebration was on for the Cavaliers.

WOMEN – Florida vs. Stanford

Florida Women’s Tennis Homepage

Tuesday marked the 10th meeting in the NCAA Finals between No. 1 Florida and No. 7 Stanford, two teams that have created a cross-country rivalry that produces a memorable match every time they tangle. For this edition, the Gators blitzed the Cardinal in doubles for a 1-0 lead. They locked up a 6-1 win at No. 1 from Ingrid Neel (Rochester, Minn.) and Anna Danilina as well as a 6-1 win at No. 3 from Josie Kuhlman (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) and Belinda Woolcock.

Holding the 1-0 lead entering singles, Florida’s Kourtney Keegan, a senior from Roswell, Ga., faced off with Stanford freshman Emma Higuchi (Los Angeles, Calif.), owner of a 22-match winning streak. The senior was not affected by the fact Higuchi had not suffered a dual-match loss this spring, flying to a 6-0, 6-0 victory at the No. 6 position to double UF’s advantage to 2-0.

The Gators were rolling, with matches at No. 1 and No. 5 having match points at the same time. Over at No. 5 on the no-ad point, Stanford’s Emily Arbuthnott kept her match alive againstBrooke Austin (Indianpolis, Ind.). However at No. 1, the Cardinal were not as lucky as Woolcock came through on her second match point when Caroline Doyle (San Francisco, Calif.) fired a forehand into the net, closing out Woolcock’s 6-1, 6-3 victory.

Since UF could only convert one of those two match points at 1 and 5, the evening continued with the top seed ahead, 3-0. And Stanford was not ready to go away so easily. Back on court 5, Arbuthnott battled back from being down match point to force a third set, courts 3 and 4 also were in third sets and court 2 witnessed Stanford’s Melissa Lord (Bloomfield, Conn.) trying to serve out her match in straight sets vs. Kuhlman at 5-4. They eventually traded breaks before Lord cut into the Florida deficit with her 6-4, 7-5 win.

After Stanford’s Taylor Davidson (Statesville, N.C.) got back on serve against Neel at No. 3, all three remaining matches were on serve in the third set. The momentum started to possibly shift to the Cardinal when they posted breaks on 4 and 5, yet that was short lived when Florida broke at 3 and Neel ultimately went up 5-2. On Davidson’s serve and the second championship point, Neel erupted when Davidson’s forehand went wide. The 4-1 win was complete, as was the Gators’ seventh title in school history, and first since 2012.

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