Making a racquet: Tennis takes home second-consecutive ITA National Championship

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TCU Men’s Tennis celebrates consecutive ITA national titles Monday in Chicago. (TCU Athletics/TCU Men’s Tennis)

 

By Melissa Triebwasser
Frogs Today staff writer

 

They’ve done it again.

After a dominating run through the ITA Indoor National Team Championship Tournament, TCU stands atop the collegiate tennis world, earning their second-consecutive indoor national championship after defeating Texas Monday in Chicago.

Seeded third coming into the weekend, the Frogs took out Baylor 4-0, Georgia 4-0, and Kentucky 4-2 to advance to the finals. The win over the Bulldogs was the program’s first in 40 years and the triumph over the Wildcats avenged the team’s defeat in the NCAA outdoor championship last spring, also in the Windy City.

Monday’s win was as dominant as any TCU has had this season as they stretched their record to 12-0 this season, capping a streak of 24 straight wins and 16 over ranked opponents.

The championship run started with doubles, with the duos of Jake Fearnley and Luc Fomba and Sander Jong and Jack Pinnington winning 7-5 and 6-4 respectively. Sebastian Gorzny and Pedro Vives were also in the lead when the Frogs secured the doubles point.

Ahead 1-0, TCU needed just three of their six singles to come through to secure victory.

There would be little suspense.

Though the Longhorns played TCU tight, the first three matches to finish all came up purple.

In the #3 match, Pinnington handled Micah Braswell 6-4, 6-0. Jong dominated the #4 match, taking Siem Woldeab out 6-2, 6-3. And Gorzny had little issue with Cleeve Harper in the #5 match, cruising 6-4, 6-1 to lock up the three points and the title.

It was Gorzny who secured the final point and sent coach Dave Roditi and the team into a frenzy, forcing an error on match point as a loud T-C-U chanted echoed through the facility.

“We believe that college tennis is an unbelievable product,” Roditi said after the match. “I thought it was the best sportsmanship across all 16 teams that I have ever seen. I couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”

Roditi praised his freshmen, Gorzny and Pinnington, who both had incredible weeks, as well as the veterans that kept everyone on track.

“So proud of you guys, you freshmen, you rookies to come out like you did today says a lot about you, a lot about your character,” Roditi said. “And the leadership we have from the rest of you, every one of you, no way we would be standing here if all nine of you didn’t do your job to perfection. Couldn’t be more proud of you. Enjoy it.”

“It means so much to us,” Jong said in a post match interview. “I remember me and a couple guys on the team we were talking a couple of weeks ago saying it would be really cool if we got back-to-back championships. We really wanted it, we worked our asses off for it, and we got it. I couldn’t be more proud of the guys and I am super happy.”

The Frogs didn’t only complete an undefeated season, they went the entire campaign without dropping a doubles point. With the win, TCU becomes just the 7th program to repeat as ITA Men’s Indoor Champions, joining (Georgia 2006-07), Illinois (2003-04), Stanford (1973-76, 1994-95), UCLA (1996-97), USC (1987-88), and most recently Virginia (2008-11).

Though Roditi laughed as he gave his guys a couple of days off following their national title, there won’t be much rest for the weary.

The outdoor season begins in earnest in just over a week with a visit from UTA in Fort Worth. The Longhorns will get a quick shot for revenge when they come to town on March 4th, kicking off a string of 10 straight Power 5 opponents.

Indoor title secured, the Frogs are hopeful to secure a Big 12 title and a place in the NCAA finals this spring.

Melissa Triebwasser, melissa@frogstoday.com

Reporter, photographer, and Horned Frog for life.

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