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Virginia tennis teams advance in NCAA Tournament to Waco

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The Virginia men's and women's tennis teams were a perfect 4-0 this weekend, as both advanced to the NCAA Tournament round of 16 in Waco, Texas.

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Women's Tennis

When we last left our heroes...

The women's tennis team was seeded #9 overall in the NCAA Tournament, and selected to host first and second round action.

How did they do?

Well enough to book plane tickets to Texas. Their opening match against VCU was the blowout we expect when a national seed plays one of the bottom 16 teams in the tournament. The Hoos won the doubles point and recorded straight set wins at the 4, 5, and 6 positions to notch a 4-0 victory.

South Carolina offered Virginia much stiffer competition. Virginia won the doubles point, but the Gamecocks managed to tie the match at 1-1 with a win at #6 singles, and again at 2-2 after the teams split at 4 and 5. Virginia took at 3-2 lead with Stephanie Nauta's straight set win at #3 singles, but was faced with needing a three set victory in one of the remaining two matches to clinch. Danielle Collins provided that point, winning her match at #2 singles after dropping the first set in a tiebreak.

Tournament Outlook

The women switch from favorite to underdog, probably for the rest of their tournament run. Up next is Baylor, who will be playing on their home courts. Baylor had their hands full in their second round match against Rice, needing a three set win in singles to complete a 4-2 victory against a team they had twice previously beaten 4-0.

Virginia and Baylor met earlier this this season - Baylor won 6-1 - but for comparison purposes it's worthless. Virginia was without its top 2 players in Julia Elbaba and Danielle Collins, and conceded points at #5 and #6 singles, as well as one of the doubles matches before the first serve.

With a healthy lineup, Virginia is a slight underdog to Baylor because of the location of the match, but the women definitely have the firepower to advance.

Men's Tennis

When we last left our heroes...

The men secured the #3 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament as well as hosting duties for one of the 16 regionals.

How did they do?

The men lost two sets all weekend as they picked up 4-0 victories against St. John's (NY) and Minnesota. They advanced to the third round for the 12th straight year, a remarkable achievement considering the men have advanced to the third round 13 times in program history.

Tournament Outlook

The men travel to Waco and will face Columbia in the next round. The Lions upset #14 seed Ole Miss in Mississippi to advance to their second straight NCAA third round. Columbia has surged to the top of the Ivy League in recent years under longtime head coach Bid Goswami. The rise can partly be attributed to Columbia's status as the "host" school for Intercollegiate Tennis Association events in New York, such as the Intercollegiate Indoor event every fall. The win over the Rebels was not a huge upset, as Columbia entered the match ranked #17 in the nation.

The Lions, however, have not defeated a team ranked in the current Top 10 all season, and Thursday should be no different. Virginia will be a heavy favorite to advance to the quarterfinals.