Through a long season of adversity and perseverance, the Texas Longhorns men’s tennis team showed their willpower by capturing their first NCAA title with a 4-1 win over defending national champion Wake Forest.
The Longhorns’ journey to claiming the championship was nothing short of challenging, and extraordinary. Former head coach Michael Center was arrested in March for his part in the college admission scandal that made nationwide headlines. Center plead guilty to accepting a $100,000 bribe in exchange for assisting a student with gaining admission into the university in 2015. Interim coach Bruce Berque stepped in to take over on March 12.
Yuya Ito battled and clinched the title for the No. 2 seeds with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Petros Chrysochos.
“I don’t know how to describe it. It’s just amazing,” Ito said. “I can’t really say anything right now. National champions was our goal, our biggest goal this year. We’ve had some ups and downs but glad we got through.”
Although chaos ruptured outside the court, the Longhorns remained focused. Through Berque’s leadership, Texas reached No. 1 in the ITA Rankings for the first time in school history, won the Big 12 conference title, and ultimately had the last word in their storybook season.
On the women’s side, Stanford displayed their roaring dominance, claiming their record-extending 20th NCAA women’s title against the top-seeded Georgia Bulldogs. Entering the championship match, the Bulldogs were the only team over a 49-match stretch to knock off the Cardinal–but with a 4-0 victory, Stanford decisively denied Georgia any chance of a repeat performance.
Sophomore Janice Shin, clinched the title for the No. 3 seeds with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Elena Christofi at No. 5 singles.
“It’s a little surreal right now,” said Coach Lele Forood.
This is Forood’s 10th NCAA Championship since 2001 and third in the past four seasons. Stanford stormed their way to the final with a 4-1 win over Pepperdine in the quarterfinals before prevailing 4-2 against North Carolina in the semifinals.
The individual singles and doubles championships began Monday, with Tennis Channel featuring live coverage from the first round through Friday's title matches.