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NCAA Championship
Florida Men, Texas Women Capture NCAA Team Titles
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Bryan Shelton considers every one of his players to be like a son once they enter his program at the University of Florida. But there is something special about coaching his own flesh and blood.

Shelton and his freshman son, Ben, shared the ultimate gift on the biggest stage in college tennis on Saturday night.

Florida Coach Bryan Shelton and Son, Ben Shelton
© Florida Athletics

The top-seeded Florida Gators captured the first NCAA title in program history with a 4-1 victory over No. 2 Baylor, and Ben Shelton clinched the historic milestone with a three-set singles win just after midnight at the USTA National Tennis Center in Lake Nona, Florida.

Bryan Shelton became the first NCAA Division I head coach to win a women’s national title (2007, Georgia Tech) and a men’s national title.

"Trying to make me cry. Yeah, it's special,'' Shelton said during his on-court interview after the match. "I've got 10 guys over there. Ten guys that came out every day and worked. I'm just really proud of you guys and what you've done."

In a year where “Super Seniors” returned to lineups because of Covid’s interruption of the 2020 season, it was two freshmen who clinched the titles for their teams.

Lulu Sun pulled out a dramatic three-set victory to lead the second-seeded Texas women to a 4-3 win over No. 5 Pepperdine in a thrilling championship match. With the match knotted 3-3, Sun outlasted Pepperdine freshman Taisiya Pachkaleva 6-4, 6-7(3), 7-5 on court three to secure the Longhorn’s third national title.

"I just had a good sense that, and again, this is not a scientific word, but the juju of this team was very good,” said exas head coach Howard Joffe, whose team ended the season on a 24-match win streak. “And I felt like one way or the other, we'd get over the line today. But the idea that we'd actually get to the final with the obstacles and the difficulty and the inexperience, it really is a pretty remarkable dream.”

In a match that lasted four hours, the doubles point foreshadowed what was to come for Texas (31-1) and Pepperdine (25-4).

Kylie Collins and Lulu Sun evened the doubles 1-1 with a 7-6(3) win over Lisa Zaar and Ashley Lahey by saving three match points. Freshmen Peyton Stearns and Charlotte Chavatipon clinched the 1-0 lead for Texas with a 7-6(5) victory over Anastasia Iamachkine and Jessica Failla on court three.

After the teams traded singles wins, it all came down to Sun and Pachkaleva. Sun broke for a 5-3 lead in the third set, but Pachkaleva responded with a break to even the set 5-5. Sun held for a 6-5 advantage, and broke Pachkaleva when she hit a ball into the net after a lengthy rally to launch a Texas title celebration.

Texas freshman Lulu Sun After Clinching the Win
© Texas Athletics

“Honestly, at the end I was almost going to cramp," Sun said. "So I was just [trying to] survive the last few games and just throw everything I have. And I guess it worked.”

Florida (25-2) dropped the double points against Baylor (34-5), but roared back to win four straight singles matches by Andy Andrade, Sam Riffice, Josh Goodger and Ben Shelton.

Once Ben Shelton clinched the title his 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Charlie Broom on court five just after midnight, his Gator teammates exploded in celebration

“[This title] means the world to me," Florida senior Duarte Vale said."I was telling coach that I don't even know how to act, you know? To me, it couldn't feel more special because—not even because, of course, it's a national title, a huge thing—but to do it with the people that we did it with, I mean, there's no words."

Along with the team title and his dual coaching milestone, Bryan Shelton was able to celebrate Ben Shelton earning Most Outstanding Player honors after winning eight of his matches (singles and doubles) in the tournament.

"Pretty speechless tonight. Normally I have a lot of words,'' Bryan Shelton said. "To see these guys here and see what they have gone through in the last year, year and a half … and come together tonight and compete and put it out on the line, it's truly special."

 

Championship Results:

Women

No. 2 Texas 4, No. 5 Pepperdine 3

Doubles

1. #19 Kylie Collins/Lulu Sun (UT) def. Lisa Zaar/Ashley Lahey (Pepp), 7-6 (7-3)

2. Shiori Fukuda/Taisiya Pachkaleva (Pepp) def. Fernanda Labraña/Anna Turati (UT), 6-1

3. #47 Peyton Stearns/Charlotte Chavatipon (UT) vs. Anastasia Iamachkine/Jessica Failla (Pepp), 7-6 (7-5)

Order of finish: 2, 1, 3

Singles

1. #37 Peyton Stearns (UT) def. #77 Ashley Lahey (Pepp), 2-6, 6-0, 6-2

2. #21 Jessica Failla (Pepp) def. #35 Anna Turati (UT), 6-2, 6-3

3. #62 Lulu Sun (UT) def. #89 Taisiya Pachkaleva (Pepp), 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 7-5

4. #76 Charlotte Chavatipon (UT) def. #118 Shiori Fukuda (Pepp), 6-3, 6-2

5. Lisa Zaar (Pepp) def. #72 Kylie Collins (UT), 6-3, 7-6 (7-3)

6. Nikki Redelijk (Pepp) def. Malaika Rapolu (UT), 6-4, 7-5

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

Men

No. 1 Florida 4, No. 2 Baylor 1

Doubles:

1. Sven Lah/Constantin Frantzen (BU) def. Duarte Vale/Johannes Ingildsen (UF) 6-2

2. Sam Riffice/Ben Shelton (UF) def. Matias Soto/Nick Stachowiak (BU) 6-0

3. Finn Bass/Charlie Broom (BU) def. Will Grant/Brian Berdusco (UF) 6-1

Order of finish: 2,3,1

Singles

1. Duarte Vale (UF) vs. Adrian Boitan (BU) 5-7, 3-4 unfinished

2. Sam Riffice (UF) def. Matias Soto (BU) 7-5, 6-3

3. Andy Andrade (UF) def. Sven Lah (BU) 7-6 (8-6), 6-0

4. Blaise Bicknell (UF) vs. Nick Stachowiak (BU) 3-6, 6-4, 1-1 unfinished

5. Ben Shelton (UF) def. Charlie Broom (BU) 3-6, 6-1, 6-2

6. Josh Goodger (UF) def. Spencer Furman (BU) 6-3, 7-5

Order of finish: 3,2,6,5

Men’s All-Tournament Team

No. 1 Singles: Adam Walton, Tennessee

No. 2 Singles: Sam Riffice, Florida

No. 3 Singles: Andy Andrade, Florida

No. 4 Singles: Blaise Bicknell, Florida

No. 5 Singles: Ben Shelton, Florida (Most Outstanding Player)

No. 6 Singles: Josh Goodger, Florida

No. 1 Doubles: Adam Walton/Pat Harper, Tennessee

No. 2 Doubles: Sam Riffice/Ben Shelton, Florida

No. 3 Doubles: Charlie Broom/Finn Bass, Baylor

Women's All-Tournament Team

No. 1 Singles: Peyton Stearns, Texas (Most Outstanding Player)

No. 2 Singles: Jessica Failla, Pepperdine

No. 3 Singles: Lulu Sun, Texas

No. 4 Singles: Charlotte Chavatipon, Texas

No. 5 Singles: Lisa Zaar, Pepperdine

No. 6 Singles: Fiona Crawley, North Carolina

No. 1 Doubles: Kylie Collins/Lulu Sun, Texas

No. 2 Doubles: Taisiya Pachkaleva/Shiori Fukuda, Pepperdine

No. 3 Doubles: Charlotte Chavatipon/Peyton Stearns, Texas

 
 

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About Rhiannon Potkey

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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