Men's Tennis tops Boise State, 4-2, advances to NCAA round of 16
AUSTIN, Texas -- No. 11 Texas (20-8) suffered a tough doubles defeat but picked up four singles victories to rally past No. 23 Boise State, 4-2, in the second round of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships Saturday at UT's Penick-Allison Tennis Center.
Texas advances to the NCAA round of 16 to meet unseeded North Carolina State on Thursday, May 17 at 8 a.m. Central at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
Boise State (30-6) opened the match by winning at the second and third doubles positions to seize the doubles point. With the match at second doubles tied at five apiece, the Broncos' Kean Feeder and Eric Roberson took the final three games over UT junior Milan Mihailovic and sophomore Miguel Reyes Varela to claim an 8-5 victory.
At third doubles, UT junior Luis Diaz Barriga and freshman Jon Wiegand held a 6-4 lead, but Boise State's Piotr Dilaj and Steve Robertson took the final four games to take the match, 8-6 and preserve the doubles point for the Broncos.
Texas went to work in singles action and swung the momentum back in its favor. Mihailovic (Nis, Serbia) took the first set at fourth singles over Boise's Dilaj but found himself down a service break in the second set. Trailing 4-2, Mihailovic captured the next four games to take the match and even the score at one apiece.
Reyes Varela (Cocoyoc, Mexico) took the first set over the Broncos' 61st-ranked Clancy Shields and held a 5-1 lead in the second before surrendering two games to Shields. Reyes Varela yielded nothing further and took the final game to win the match, 6-1, 6-3 and stake Texas to a 2-1 lead.
Boise's 15th-ranked Luke Shields decisively took the first set over UT freshman Dimitar Kutrovsky (Sofia, Bulgaria) at first singles but found himself in a battle for the second set. Shields broke Kutrovsky early on in set two and fought off Kutrovsky's attempts at a service break to take the set, 6-4, and even the match at two apiece.
However, minutes later, UT freshman Josh Zavala (Amarillo, Texas) finished off Boise State's Blake Boswell by a 6-3, 6-2 margin at fifth singles to give Texas a 3-2 lead as two matches remained to be decided at the third and sixth positions.
Boise State's Feeder held off UT's Diaz Barriga in the first set, 7-5 before the pair engaged in a tight battle to decide the second set. Tied at three games apiece, Diaz Barriga got the service break he needed and later assumed a 5-3 lead. Feeder held serve in the next game, but Diaz Barriga put away the second set in the ensuing game to force the decisive third set.
Feeder held serve in the opening game, but Diaz Barriga held serve and picked up the only service break he would need to assume a 2-1 lead. Leading 4-2, Diaz Barriga broke Feeder once more before serving out the next game to take the match and clinch the victory for Texas.
UT sophomore Jonah Kane-West (Free Union, Va.) engaged in a lengthy battle at sixth singles with Boise's Robertson before their match was suspended upon Diaz Barriga's victory. Trailing one set and 5-4 in the second set, Kane-West broke Robertson to even the set at five games all.
The set progressed to a tiebreaker, where Kane-West took command to force a third set. Kane-West held a 2-0 lead in the final set when the match was suspended.
· UT's victory marks the second time that coach Michael Center has led Texas to consecutive appearances in the NCAA round of 16; the first occurred with the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
· Texas improved to 20-8 overall, marking the third 20-win season in Center's seven seasons at UT and his sixth in his 16 seasons as a head coach; it is the first time Center has recorded 20 wins in consecutive seasons at Texas (26-4 in 2006).
· Junior Luis Diaz Barriga recorded his 21st consecutive singles victory and improved his dual-match record to 22-2; he stands at 27-3 (.900) overall this season.
· Boise State is the second team and the only non-conference team to fall victim to UT twice this season; Texas dealt Boise State a 4-1 defeat on Feb. 17 at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Chicago.
· Saturday's match marked the fourth match this season when Texas dropped the doubles point and rallied to win the match; UT also surrendered the doubles point and rallied for team victories at Tulsa on Feb. 9, at Oklahoma on Apr. 15 and against Texas Tech on April 27 in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals.
Singles - Order of Finish: 4, 2, 1, 5, 3