Baylor Athletics Press Release:
ORLANDO, Fla. – No. 1-ranked and second-seeded Baylor men’s tennis outlasted No. 3 Tennessee 4-2 on Friday at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., to advance to the NCAA National Championship.
The Bears (34-4) have set a school-record for wins in a single season, breaking the previous program best from 2005, which was also the last time BU reached the national title match.
Baylor overcame dropping the doubles point and took four of five finished singles matches to defeat the Volunteers (28-4). With the Bears leading 3-2, Adrian Boitan and Matias Soto were locked in extremely tight third sets before Soto was able to clinch.
In doubles, BU collected the first victory with a 6-3 tally on court three by Finn Bass/Charlie Broom over Giles Hussey/Mark Wallner. However, the Vols answered with simultaneous wins on one and two, with No. 4 Pat Harper/Adam Walton besting No. 9 Constantin Frantzen/Sven Lah 7-5 and Johannus Monday/Martim Prata edging No. 75 Soto/Nick Stachowiak.
Singles started slow for the Bears, with the two sides splitting the six first sets. However, Baylor made its move following a UT win on court five by No. 92 Hussey over Broom, 6-4, 6-2.
On court three, Lah recorded a blistering 6-0, 6-3 victory against Prata to put BU on the board, and Spencer Furman quickly followed that up with a 6-3, 6-2 win on court six against Andrew Rogers to knot the score.
After falling behind in a one-sided first set, Stachowiak rallied to put the third point on the board for Baylor, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 on court four over Luca Wiedenmann.
That’s when it came down to Boitan and Soto on the top two courts. No. 21 Boitan came back from dropping his opener to force a decisive third against No. 10 Walton, while No. 11 Soto fought tough against No. 8 Monday.
With the match on court one deadlocked at 3-6, 7-5, 5-5, it was Soto who prevailed on two with a 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-5 victory to send the Bears through.
• With the win, Baylor advances to the NCAA National Championship for the third time in program history and first time since 2005.
• Baylor’s 34 wins are the most in a single-season in program history.
• BU improved to 64-21 all-time in NCAA Championship play and 3-1 in postseason matches held in Orlando, Fla., at the USTA National Campus.
• The Bears are 7-7 all-time in 4-2 postseason matches.
• BU is now 12-2 all-time as the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Championship.
• BU is now 18-4 against ranked opponents this season.
• Baylor extended its winning streak to eight matches and has won 18 of its last 19 dual matches.
• The Bears are now 29-9 in the doubles point this season and are 6-3 in matches when losing the opening tally.
• Baylor boasts a combined 158-33 (.827) mark in singles action this spring and a collective 73-26 (.737) record in doubles.
• Spencer Furman extended his singles win streak to 14 matches, a team best.
STAT OF THE MATCH
3 – For the first time since 2005, Baylor is advancing to the NCAA National Championship, it’s third appearance in the national title game in program history.
Head coach Michael Woodson
On if it has sunk in that Baylor will play for a national championship…
“Honestly, no. I think for us, it’s just enjoying every single day that we spend together. I’m a little bit sad that we only get to play one more match. I haven’t really thought much about ‘Oh, if we lose today then we don’t get another match.’ I was hoping we would get this opportunity so we can sit down together and everybody knows, this is it. We’re going to empty the tank and enjoy one last ride together. No, it hasn’t really hit me and it is sad to think about.”
On drawing inspiration from other Baylor teams that have played for a title…
“I think at Baylor, we pursue excellence. That’s just what we do here, that’s the standard. I think it’s incredible what a lot of these other programs are doing, day in and day out, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, acro and tumbling. Every team is in the top-25, basically, and a lot are in the top-10. For us, it’s just living up to what the athletic department expects and we just feel like that’s our job to pursue excellence. We feel like we have the resources and the support to do that. That’s why guys come to Baylor.”
On feeling validated after having the interim tag removed…
“I honestly don’t feel like it was me, I’m just trying not to get in the way. These guys are on a mission. They’re so tight, they’re so close to each other, they love each other and what they’re doing and this university and athletic department so much, that I don’t think they’re going to let me stand in their way. I’m just happy honestly to be part of it. We’re just trying to do the best we can as a staff to serve these guys day in and day out and provide them with opportunities. They’re going out and executing on the court and showing what they’re made of.”
Fourth-year junior Matias Soto
On the emotions of winning the clinching point…
“It wasn’t easy, of course. I had so many opportunities in my match and in doubles. Just watching a couple points on court one that didn’t go our way, but we were ready for those kind of moments with the pressure. We trust in ourselves. I think that’s the main thing. We played big in those moments. What I was thinking before I went to play the last point was just to leave everything out there.”
Graduate senior Nick Stachowiak
On having faith in his teammates to close it out…
“I had 100 percent faith. That’s why we’ve been putting in the hard work on and off the court this season, since we got to school in August. I didn’t doubt for one second that either Mati or Adi was going to pull through. It was just a matter of time as to who was going to pull through first. Tennessee put up a great fight there at the end, they didn’t die and were fighting for every point. But we shut the door on them and that’s what you need to do to win.”
No. 1-ranked and No. 2 seed Baylor (34-4) advances to face either No. 2-ranked and top-seeded Florida or No. 4 Texas in the NCAA National Championship on Saturday, May 22, at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. The match will not begin before 6:30 p.m. CT, and will follow the women’s championship between No. 2 Texas and No. 5 Pepperdine, beginning at 4:30 p.m. CT.
For the latest news on the Baylor men’s tennis team all season long, follow their official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts: @BaylorMTennis.