Men's Tennis preview: Duke and Virginia
AUSTIN, Texas -- After winning road matches at Minnesota and Arkansas on consecutive weekends, No. 20 Texas (2-0) heads out on yet another road trip this weekend. The Longhorns will visit 10th-ranked Duke on Friday, Feb. 10 at 5 p.m. CST in Durham, N.C., before traveling to Charlottesville, Va., to take on sixth-ranked Virginia on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 9:30 a.m. CST.
Texas met the Blue Devils last month in a "hidden" dual match at the Hurricane Invitational in Miami. The Longhorns captured eight of 12 matches played, including three of four doubles matches and five of eight singles contests. The match did not count as a team victory, though the individual matches counted toward player records.
Duke enters Friday's match ranked No. 10 in the country by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), while Texas holds the No. 20 ranking. The Blue Devils feature ninth-ranked Ludovic Walter and 20th-ranked Jonathan Stokke, who were defeated by UT's 44th-ranked Travis Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan.) and Callum Beale (Adelaide, Australia), respectively, at the Hurricane Invitational.
Duke's Joey Atas was ranked No. 29 in the fall, though his ranking did not carry into the spring season after he sat out the fall season. Texas coach Michael Center owns a 4-5 all-time record against the Blue Devils, and the overall series between the two schools is even at seven wins apiece. Duke defeated Texas by a 4-3 count a season ago in Austin. The Blue Devils reached the NCAA round of 16 in 2005.
Virginia opened 2006 as a preseason No. 1 but suffered a 4-3, season-opening defeat to fourth-ranked Pepperdine (who comes to Austin on Friday, Feb. 24). The Cavaliers have won five of six matches since and defeated ninth-ranked Baylor and 42nd-ranked Michigan last weekend.
UVA features one of the deepest lineups in collegiate tennis. Virginia counts two players in the ITA top 10 - No. 6 Treat Huey and No. 10 Somdev Devvarman - while Marko Miklo and Rylan Rizza come in at No. 46 and No. 53. Doug Stewart held a No. 6 ranking in the fall but is not currently ranked after sitting out the fall season.
Texas trails 0-2 in its series with Virginia. UVA won by a 4-3 margin last spring in Austin before reaching the NCAA quarterfinals.