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Men advance, women fall in NCAA tennis action

The UVA men advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the 11th straight year, while the women's team came up just short against Baylor.

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Women's Team

When we last left our heroes...

The women's team advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament with a hard fought win over South Carolina. They traveled to Waco, Texas with the daunting task of trying to knock off the host Baylor Bears.

How'd it go?

This match was extremely close. The doubles point came down to a tiebreaker at #3 doubles, which Baylor ended up winning 7-4. Having lost the doubles point, Virginia's back was against the wall going into singles, needing 4 singles wins to advance. Baylor went up 2-0 with a straight set win at #6 singles, but the duo of Julia Elbaba and Danielle Collins walloped their opponents at #1 and #2 singles respectively to tie the match at 2. Baylor looked to regain the momentum when Blair Shankle beat Stephanie Nauta in three sets at #3 singles, but the Hoos broke serve in the remaining two matches, and needed only to serve out to win.

Unfortunately, Skylar Morton's serve abandoned her at the worst possible moment. While Maci Epstein tied the match at 3 with a win at #5 singles, Morton lost five straight service games and could not recover, losing her match in three sets. It's a heartbreaking end to the season, but Virginia has no seniors on the roster, and barring any transfers out of the program will be a very strong team next year.

Tournament Outlook

The team may have been knocked out of the running for the national title, but Julia Elbaba, Danielle Collins, and Stephanie Nauta are all in the singles tournament starting Wednesday. Collins is the defending NCAA Singles champion, and Elbaba won the singles title at the Indoor Intercollegiate tournament last November.

Men's Team

When we last left our heroes...

The men's team cruised by Minnesota en route to their 12th straight Round of 16 appearance. They were matched up with Columbia, who upset Mississippi to book a flight to Waco.

How'd it go?

At one point during Thursday's match, things were getting a little hairy. After taking the doubles point, Virginia dropped three first sets in singles and Collin Altamirano was in a tiebreaker for the first set in his match. Lose that tiebreaker, and the men were going to need at least one three set victory to win the match.

And then the Hoos dropped the hammer. Ryan Shane won at #1 singles, Thai-Son Kwiatkowski won at #4 singles, and Altamirano used the momentum from the first set tiebreak win to cruise in the second set 6-0. Virginia wins, 4-0.

Tournament Outlook

Next up for Virginia is the SEC champion, Texas A&M. The Aggies are one of three Texas teams left in the tournament, and will offer a stiff test to the Cavaliers. Hoo faithful will want to keep an eye on Ryan Shane, as he rolled his ankle in the Columbia match, but played well enough to take out the #17 player in the country in spite of the injury. Additionally, Mitchell Frank and Alexander Ritschard both got off to slow starts in the Columbia match, and need to come back strong today.

Only one of the top 8 seeds failed to advance to the quarterfinals. #4 Illinois - whose seeding was somewhat suspect given the quality of their competition over the year - lost 4-2 to North Carolina.