When we last left our heroes...
The Virginia men's tennis team walloped Texas A&M to set up a scary showdown with the Baylor Bears on Baylor's home court in the NCAA semifinal. Baylor had defeated Virginia both times they met this season.
How'd they do?
The doubles point was a tight affair. After a split at #1 and #2, Virginia was serving for the match at #3, only to be broken and lose the tiebreaker. Baylor entered singles leading 1-0, and the task of beating the Bears became more daunting.
After a split in the first sets of singles, Virginia struck a pair of blows as Ryan Shane got a huge win over the #2 player in the nation, Julian Lenz, at #1 singles, and JC Aragone won his match at #6. The other four singles matches all went to three sets. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski dropped his match at #4 singles, but Mitchell Frank and Collin Altamirano both had chances to serve for their matches at #2 singles and #3 singles, respectively.
Frank was broken on his first attempt to serve for the match, but broke serve in the next game to put the match back on his racket. He converted the second time, while Altamirano clinched his match almost simultaneously. Virginia wins, 4-2.
There's only one match left. Virginia avenged the two regular season losses to Baylor in the semifinal, and will have to avenge their only other loss of the season in the final. Oklahoma won a close 4-3 battle at home against Virginia back in March. The only matchups that will be the same will be at #1, #2, and #6 singles. Ryan Shane will take on the #1 player in the nation, Axel Alvarez Llamas. Llamas beat Shane in Norman, but Shane has a victory over Llamas in the fall. Mitchell Frank will play Andrew Harris at #2 singles. Harris won the match in Norman in three sets. JC Aragone will play Florin Bragusi at #6 singles. Bragusi won the match in Norman in three sets as well.
Oklahoma has juggled their single lineup and doubles pairings since the March match. While Virginia did not concede a point to an opponent in the tournament until the Baylor doubles point, Oklahoma has had a pair of 4-3 nailbiters, and only has one shutout, their opening round win against New Mexico State.
So, on paper, Virginia comes into the match looking like the hotter of the two teams. While Oklahoma is worthy of their #1 seed, they are not an invincible team. First serve is at 2pm, EDT in Waco, Texas. Go Hoos.