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NCAA Championships
Pepperdine, Florida Book Historic Spots in NCAA Title Match

Excuse the Waves for crashing the party.

The Pepperdine women upset top-seed and previously unbeaten North Carolina 4-3 in the semifinals of the NCAA Division I Championships on Friday at the USTA National Tennis Center in Lake Nona, Florida.

The Waves (25-3) snapped UNC’s 48-match winning streak and advanced to their first NCAA championship match appearance in program history. Pepperdine will face No. 2 Texas (30-1) on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET.

"If anyone's paid attention the last couple of years, they know that the Waves are one of the premier teams," Pepperdine head coach Per Nilsson. "It just looks odd sometimes in an NCAA sport to see Pepperdine's name up there, maybe. I didn't think it was that big of an upset. We didn't feel like that.”

Joining Pepperdine as first-time NCAA title match participants is the Florida men. The top-seeded Gators swept No. 4 Texas 4-0 in the nightcap of the semifinals. Florida (25-2) will play No. 2 Baylor (34-4) in the championship match on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Baylor outlasted Tennessee 4-2 in a thrilling semifinal.

"It's special. I think we have a really special team," Florida head coach Bryan Shelton said. "Everyone has worked so hard to put us in this position. Now, to get past Texas finally and to make it into the finals, it's pretty special. Certainly realize that. But we're not done yet.”

The Pepperdine women delivered UNC (30-1) its first doubles point loss since Feb. 7 (23 straight matches), but fell behind 3-2 in singles. Lisa Zaar knotted the match at 3-3 with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over UNC’s Makenna Jones, who happens to be the daughter of former Pepperdine men’s tennis star Kelly Jones.

Freshman Taisiya Pachkaleva clinched the match for the Waves on court three, beating Cameron Morra 7-6(3), 6-3.

"When I saw that Lisa at No. 5 singles was digging in against Makenna, I started feeling like, ‘OK, wait a minute, we can do this,’ because that's a big point for them.," said Nilsson, whose team avenged a 4-1 loss to UNC earlier in the season at the ITA Indoors. "So when I saw that, I felt, ‘OK, we can do this,’ especially being up 1-0 after doubles. And with these guys in the middle of our lineup, we know we have a shot.”

Baylor and Tennessee provided the most intense match of the day.

After dropping the doubles point and the first singles match off the court, Baylor rallied to win four straight and secure the program’s third NCAA championship match appearance in program history.

But the final two points weren’t easy. Nick Stachowiak bounced back from a 6-1 first-set loss to beat Luca Wiedenmann 1-6, 6-2, 6-4. Baylor’s Matias Soto and Adrian Boitan were locked in three-set battles, with their opponents staving off multiple match points before Soto clinched the win with a 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-5 victory over Johannus Monday on court two.

"It was a bit of a wild match, but we just trusted that we were going to be able to get the job done, frankly," Baylor head coach Michael Woodson said. "I felt a lot of confidence in those guys in those situations with the match on their racket and they’re going to be able to come through, and as long as they trusted themselves we’d be willing to live with the result.”

The Texas women emphatically ended No. 6 North Carolina State’s historic run with a 4-0 victory in the opening match of the day.

The Longhorns (30-1) swept three singles matches by Peyton Stearns, Charlotte Chavatipon and Malaika Rapolu, giving up a total of only 12 games among them.

NC State (20-6) had never advanced beyond the third round in the NCAAs until this season. The Wolfpack’s 20 wins are the second-most in program history.

Texas advanced to the NCAA title match for the fifth time in program history, and first time since 2005. The Longhorns captured titles in 1993 and 1995.

Texas’ 30 dual-match wins is a single-season school record. The Longhorns have recorded 21 sweeps this season, including four of their five NCAA tournament matches.

"I think today, I would say I didn't see that malaise that I talked about in the last two rounds, once we got up," Texas head coach Howard Joffe said. "We won the first set in all six [singles] matches, and we really put our foot on the gas. The level of poise that these young people are bringing knocks my block off, because I'm an old guy, and I don't have as much poise as what they do.”

The Florida men bookended the semifinals with a tidy 4-0 win in the nightcap. After capturing the doubles point, the Gators got straight-set singles wins from Ben Shelton, Blaise Bicknell and Andy Andrade to secure their historic spot in the NCAA final.

"I think it was just a great team effort," Bryan Shelton said. "All night long, I felt like we were just really composed and we played the big points really well. I think that there was a lot of belief in our team and in the doubles play."


Saturday’s Championship Schedule:

Men - No. 1 Florida vs. No. 2 Baylor, 7:30 p.m. ET (Tennis Channel)

Women - No. 2 Texas vs. No. 5 Pepperdine, 5:30 p.m. ET (Tennis Channel)


Men’s Semifinal Results:

No. 2 Baylor 4, No. 3 Tennessee 2


1. #4 Pat Harper/Adam Walton (TENN) def. #9 Sven Lah/Constantin Frantzen (BU) 7-5

2. Martim Prata/Johannus Monday (TENN) def. #75 Matias Soto/Nick Stachowiak (BU) 6-4

3. Finn Bass/Charlie Broom (BU) def. Giles Hussey/Mark Wallner (TENN) 6-3

Order of finish: 3,1,2


1. #21 Adrian Boitan (BU) vs. #10 Adam Walton (TENN) 3-6, 7-5, 5-5, unfinished

2. #11 Matias Soto (BU) def. #8 Johannus Monday (TENN) 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 7-5

3. Sven Lah (BU) def. #41 Martim Prata (TENN) 6-0, 6-3

4. Nick Stachowiak (BU) def. Luca Wiedenmann (TENN) 1-6, 6-2, 6-4

5. #92 Giles Hussey (TENN) def. Charlie Broom (BU) 6-4, 6-2 6. Spencer Furman (BU) def. Andrew Rogers (TENN) 6-3, 6-2

Order of finish: 5,3,6,4,2

No. 1 Florida 4, No. 4 Texas 0


1. Duarte Vale/Johannes Ingildsen (UF) vs. Eliot Spizzirri/Siem Woldeab (TEX) 5-5 unfinished

2. Sam Riffice/Ben Shelton (UF) vs. Cleeve Harper/Chih Chi Huang (TEX) 6-4

3. Will Grant/Brian Berdusco (UF) def. Micah Braswell/Payton Holden (TEX) 6-2

Order of finish: 3,2


1. Duarte Vale (UF) vs. Eliot Spizzirri (TEX) 6-4, 5-6 *unfinished

2. Sam Riffice (UF) vs. Micah Braswell (TEX) 6-7, 2-3 *unfinished

3. Andy Andrade (UF) vs. Siem Woldeab (TEX) 6-3, 7-5

4. Blaise Bicknell (UF) vs. Cleeve Harper (TEX) 6-1, 7-5

5. Ben Shelton (UF) def. Chih Chi Huang (TEX) 6-3, 6-0

6. Josh Goodger (UF) vs. Evin McDonald (TEX) 2-6, 6-4, 3-4 unfinished

Order of finish: 5,4,3


Women’s Semifinal Results:

No. 2 Texas 4, No. 6 NC State Wolfpack 0


1. #19 Kylie Collins/Lulu Sun (UT) def. #12 Anna Rogers/Alana Smith (ST) 6-4

2. Fernanda Labrana/Anna Turati (UT) vs. #5 Jaeda Daniel/Adriana Reami (ST) 4-5, unfinished

3. #47 Charlotte Chavatipon/Peyton Stearns (UT) def. #42 Amelia Rajecki/Abigail Rencheli (ST) 6-4

Order of finish: 1,3


1. #37 Peyton Stearns (UT) def. #6 Anna Rogers (ST) 6-1, 6-2

2. #35 Anna Turati (UT) vs. #23 Alana Smith (ST) 6-2, 4-3, unfinished

3. #62 Lulu Sun (UT) vs. Adriana Reami (ST) 6-3, 4-5, unfinished

4. #76 Charlotte Chavatipon (UT) def. Jaeda Daniel (ST) 6-3, 6-2

5. #72 Kylie Collins (UT) vs. #82 Abigail Rencheli (ST) 6-3, 5-5, unfinished

6. Malaika Rapolu (UT) def. Lexi Keberle (ST) 6-3, 6-1

Order of finish: 1,4,6

No. 5 Pepperdine 4, No. 1 North Carolina 3


1. #2 Sara Daavettila/Cameron Morra (NC) def. Zaar, Lisa/Lahey, Ashley (PEPP) 6-4

2. Fukuda, Shiori/Pachkaleva, Taisiya (PEPP) def. #4 Elizabeth Scotty/Makenna Jones (NC) 7-5

3. Iamachkine,Anastasia/Failla, Jessica (PEPP) def. #34 Alle Sanford/Reilly Tran (NC) 6-4

Order of finish: 3,1,2


1. #2 Sara Daavettila (NC) def. #77 Lahey, Ashley (PEPP) 6-4, 6-4

2. #41 Alexa Graham (NC) def. #21 Failla, Jessica (PEPP) 6-2, 6-3

3. #89 Pachkaleva, Taisiya (PEPP) def. #27 Cameron Morra (NC) 7-6 (7-3), 6-3*

4. #118 Fukuda, Shiori (PEPP) def. #97 Elizabeth Scotty (NC) 6-2, 6-3

5. Zaar, Lisa (PEPP) def. #32 Makenna Jones (NC) 6-4, 6-3

6. #36 Fiona Crawley (NC) def. Redelijk, Nikki (PEPP) 6-3, 6-1

Order of finish: 2,4,6,1,5,3


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Rhiannon Potkey is a veteran sportswriter with more than two decades of experience in journalism. Potkey has covered many sports at many levels and has a passion for finding great stories. Potkey has covered the U.S. Open, junior sectional and national events, college conference championships and Davis Cup matches. Potkey is currently Content Strategist for Tennis Recruiting. You can reach Rhiannon by email at [email protected].
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