Final Step; Men’s Tennis Defeats UCLA to Advance
to NCAA Finals
Harris Wins Marathon Match To Clinch Team
ATHENS, Ga. - The Vanderbilt men’s tennis team,
behind the pressure play of junior Chad Harris (Aurora,
Colo.) and sophomore Scott Brown (St. Louis, Mo.), advanced
to the NCAA Finals with a gut-wrenching victory over
sixth-seeded UCLA, 4-3, on Monday at the Dan Magill
The Commodores, under the direction of head coach
Ken Flach, will now take on the winner of the No. 1-seed
Illinois/No. 4-seed Stanford match at 4 p.m. (EST) Tuesday.
The Illinois/Stanford match was just getting started
following the conclusion of the Vanderbilt semifinal
"I am so proud of our team," Flach said.
"We made it to the Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final
Four, and now we will be playing for the national championship.
I have been so impressed with the way our players have
handled the expectations placed upon them all season."
Vanderbilt will be seeking the first team national
championship in university history.
The 16th-ranked Harris, coming off an emotional win
over No. 2-ranked Benedikt Dorsch of Baylor on Monday,
stunned UCLA’s Marcin Matkowski in a three-set
thriller, 5-7, 7-6, 6-4. The clinching win came more
than an hour all the other singles matches were completed.
The third set of Harris’ match was postponed by
two rain delays.
"Marcin is a big hitter. I watched his match yesterday
and I noticed that he gets a little tight when the match
gets close," Harris said. "I tried to keep
rallying throughout the match and he missed some shots.
I am happy to come away with a win."
Earlier in the match, Brown showed the heart of a
champion against 37th-ranked Chris Lam. With the Commodores
down 3-2 in the team score and Brown down one set, he
battled back to win, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2. Brown, who won the
decisive match against Baylor on Sunday, has won 21
matches this season for the ‘Dores.
The Commodores got things rolling in doubles, as they
won the key point for the 25th time in 29 opportunities.
The No. 1 doubles team of junior Bobby Reynolds (Acworth,
Ga.) and sophomore Scott Brown clinched the teams split
the two earlier matches. Reynolds and Brown defeated
24th-ranked Rodrigo Grilli and Marcin Matkow, 8-4.
Juniors Zach Dailey (Memphis, Tenn.) and Lewie Smith
(Memphis, Tenn.) improved their dual-match record to
10-0 in defeating the Bruins’ No. 3 team of Erfan
Djahangiri and Alberto Francis, 8-4.
Reynolds, the top-ranked collegiate player in the
country, got things started in singles. He picked up
a straight-set win over fifth-ranked Tobias Clemens,
6-3, 6-4, at No.1 singles. He improves his 2002-03 record
to 43-6, which includes a 24-1 dual-match mark. Reynolds
has also won 10 straight matches.
With Vanderbilt leading the team competition 2-0,
UCLA stormed back to win three consecutive matches.
The 88th-ranked Djahangiri clinched the first point
for the Bruins, defeating Dailey at the No. 5 position,
6-4, 6-3. The loss ended Dailey’s 11-match winning
UCLA’s second point came at No. 6, as Lassi
Ketola defeated Smith in convincing fashion, 6-1, 6-2.
Smith had won six of his last seven matches entering
the showdown with Ketola.
Sophomore Matt Lockin (Lilburn, Ga.), who had won
his last two matches for the Commodores, was upended
by the 98th-ranked Grilli, 6-4, 7-5, at No. 3 singles.
The 66th-ranked Lockin had scored two big wins the previous
two days over players from Texas A&M and Baylor.
No. 7 Vanderbilt vs. No. 6 UCLA
May 19 • Athens, Ga. • Dan MaGill Tennis
||5-7, 7-6, 6-4
|| 6-4, 7-5
|| 6-7, 6-4, 6-2
|| 6-1, 6-2
* Clinching Singles Victory
* Clinching Doubles Victory