No. 7 Men's Tennis falls to No. 4 Georgia in NCAA title match, 4-2
TULSA, Okla. -- Seventh-seeded Texas won the doubles point, and junior Miguel Reyes Varela scored a decisive straight-set victory at sixth singles, but it wasn't enough, as fourth-seeded Georgia posted a 4-2 victory over the Longhorns Tuesday evening in the finals of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship.
Georgia (27-3) wins its second straight NCAA team title, as the Longhorns finish the 2007-08 season -- arguably the finest in school history -- as the NCAA runner-up with a 25-6 record. Texas swept all three spots on the NCAA All-Tournament doubles teams, as the Longhorn duos of freshmen Ed Corrie and Kellen Damico, senior Luis Diaz Barriga and Reyes Varela, and sophomores Dimitar Kutrovsky and Josh Zavala took all-tournament honors. Reyes Varela also made the NCAA All-Tournament Team at No. 6 singles.
Texas opened the match with a win at third doubles, as Kutrovsky and Zavala dealt Travis Helgeson and Christian Vitulli an 8-3 defeat. Diaz Barriga and Reyes Varela finished off the doubles session with an 8-6 win at second doubles over Luis Flores and Javier Garrapiz, as Texas assumed a 1-0 lead by taking its sixth doubles point in as many matches at the NCAA Championship.
Reyes Varela was broken early at sixth singles by Vitulli before pulling even at three-all in the first set. Trailing 4-3, Reyes Varela took the next three games to finish off the first set, 6-4. Reyes Varela took a 3-0 lead on his way to a 6-3 second-set win to close out the match and give Texas a 2-0 lead.
However, Georgia rallied gradually on its way to victories in the next four matches to close out the title victory. UGA sophomore Nate Schnugg topped UT's Damico at second singles, 6-4, 6-2, and sophomore Jamie Hunt outlasted Texas' Diaz Barriga, 6-1, 6-4, at the fourth slot to even the tally at two. Texas' Corrie rallied from one set down to take the second set over Georgia's Flores at third singles, 6-1, but Flores returned the favor in the third set, winning 6-1 to give the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead.
Texas' Kutrovsky took the first set off of UGA's Helgeson at first singles, 6-4, but Helgeson took the second set, 6-2, to force the decisive third set. Kutrovsky took a 3-2 lead in the final set, but Helgeson seized control and took the last four games to clinch the match and seal the title victory for Georgia.
NCAA Men's Tennis Championship - Finals
On the match ending the way it did: I wasn't over there with Ed Corrie, he came back and won the second set. He got down early in the third. I knew that Milan [Mihailovic] was battling over there at number five. We had a break actually twice at number one, but I sensed that Dimi [Dimitar Kutrovsky] was playing a little tentative. I wanted him to try to be more aggressive. Travis [Helgeson] started to get control of the match with his forehand and got a lot of balls up high, and Dimi wasn't able to attack him as effectively. The ball starts to slow down a bit too as the set progresses, which I think favored Travis. I could sense that that was starting to slip away a little bit. I was trying to get him fired up and get him to the net a little bit more and take a few more chances, but it just didn't happen tonight. But, how can I fault that kid, he has been unbelievable for us this year, he has fought so hard. He's an amazing kid and he just got beat tonight.