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National

NCAA DI tennis championships: Virginia’s men win for fifth time, Texas women defend

Dan Levinsohn | May 23, 2022

For the fifth time in program history, the Virginia Cavaliers have won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Tennis Championship. On Sunday, they swept the Kentucky Wildcats 4-0 at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Center in Champaign, Ill. 

 

Sunday also saw the Texas Longhorns win their second consecutive NCAA D1 tennis title against the Oklahoma Sooners, 4-1. The victory marked the Longhorns’ fourth women’s title in program history. 

Virginia Cavaliers back in command

After No. 8 and No. 6 seeds Kentucky and Tennessee booted No. 1 and No. 3 seeds Texas Christian University and Baylor in the quarterfinals, fourth-seeded Ohio State entered the semifinals as the highest-ranked team. In Saturday's semifinals, Kentucky downed the Buckeyes 4-1, while No. 7 seeds Virginia thrashed Tennessee 5-0.   

 

The Sunday showdown saw Virginia immediately take command. Gianni Ross and Jeffrey Von Der Schulenburg won their doubles match over Liam Draxl and Alexandre Leblanc, 6-1. Ryan Goetz and Inaki Montes also earned a 6-3 victory over Gabriel Diallo and Joshua Lapadat.

 

Once again, Bar Botzer stole the show in singles. His 6-1, 6-1 sweep of JJ Mercer helped earn him a second national champion title, following his successful stint at Wake Forest in 2018. But Botzer needed teammates Montes and fifth-year senior Ross to win their individual matches against Diallo and Lapadat. Montes managed Diallo 6-2, 6-2, while Ross finished Lapadat by a tight 6-4, 6-4 score. 

 

Despite the relatively low seeding, Virginia enjoyed a dominant season—despite some early hiccups in February. The Cavaliers subsequently won 22 consecutive matches leading up to the championships. 

 

While the Virginia hadn’t earned a title since 2017, the Cavaliers won four of the five championships prior. 

 

Texas Longhorns down top seeds for consecutive titles

The University of Texas women’s tennis team certainly didn’t have it easy during its last weekend of team matches. After besting No. 5 seed Virginia in the quarterfinals last weekend, the third-seeded Longhorns faced a Saturday showdown against the country's top-ranked team, the North Carolina Tar Heels. 

Heavy rains delayed semifinal play with just one match completed. All competition was forced to move from the Outdoor Khan Tennis Complex to the indoor Atkins Tennis Center. Despite some close calls, a key doubles point and wins from Sabina Zeynalova, Peyton Stearns and Allura Zamarripa boosted the Longhorns into the NCAA Championship match against No. 2 seeds Oklahoma. 

 

Though the Sooners evened the dual-match score, Oklahoma simply couldn’t keep up with the battle-tested Texans. The Longhorns clinched both doubles wins and—though Oklahoma’s Emma Staker took the first singles match—cleaned up nicely, with two sweeps and a tiebreak. 

 

Texas earned its fourth NCAA team title in program history, and its second-straight under head coach Howard Joffe.

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