On location in Seattle: Men's Tennis awaits No. 2 Georgia
No. 7 Texas opened play in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships Friday evening in Seattle with a 4-0 win over 10th-ranked Alabama, giving UT head coach Michael Center his 300th career victory. Assistant coach Ricardo Rubio sat down with TexasSports.com on Saturday to discuss the win over the Crimson Tide and UT's upcoming match against defending NCAA Champion Georgia.
We played Alabama Friday night, and we didn't know too much about that team going into the match. But, I figured it would be a big battle. We knew their doubles would be really good. Our freshmen, Ed Corrie and Kellen Damico have been playing well at No. 1 doubles. They won their match, but we trailed 4-1 at No. 3 doubles. However, Dimitar Kutrovsky and Josh Zavala came back really strong at No. 3 and won 8-6 to clinch the doubles point.
I'll take a minute to tell you about the matches I saw at the fourth, fifth and sixth singles positions. Josh Zavala has been playing better each match at No. 5, and he played very well in the first set, winning 6-2. At No. 4, Luis Diaz Barriga broke at 4-4 and served out at 5-4 to win the first set. Milan Mihailovic played well in his first set at No. 6 and gave us three first-set wins, but I knew Alabama would come back and fight hard.
Kellen Damico won at No. 2 to give us a 2-0 lead, and Milan served out at 5-4 in the second set to give us a 3-0 lead. Luis got up a break early in the second set and continued to hold on to his serve. Luis served it out at 5-3 and clinched the match against a team in Alabama that is a legitimate top-10 team. Overall, it was our best performance of the year, because the team looked so solid at every spot.
Today, we're really going to find out what we're capable of against a Georgia team that won the 2007 NCAA Championship and hasn't lost since the 2006 NCAA title match. We've shown that we're definitely a top-eight team, and now we'll see if we can take that next step and see if we're among the elite.