California, at the very least, did know how to party
I really really wish the Vols would have won this match 4-0. The phrase "California Love" was just dying to be included in the headline. Alas, it was not to be. The match began -- rather unexpectedly -- with a loss by JP Smith/Boris Concik, the top-ranked doubles duo that rarely loses, and the consequent loss of the doubles point (the #3 doubles team (Jones/Fago) also lost).
Four times this year Tennessee had lost the doubles point; three of those four times they ended up losing the match. But not today. Down 0-1, the Vols walked out of the locker room and onto courts 1-6 for singles competition with swagger in tow. To be clear, I wasn't there, and so really I'm just making the swagger part up, but they clearly came out with the intention of whupping some tail in singles and getting the needed 4 points with as little dramatic flair as possible. And that's exactly what happened.
Check out the post-match interview of Coach Winterbotham. Doesn't he seem intense? I like this guy.
Here are the individual scores for the match. Let the record reflect that Tennys Sandgren, whose match didn't end up counting because we got the 4th point while he was still on the court, was well on his way to again winning at the #3 slot. If there is one slot that I would be surprised to see us lose against any opponent in the country, it is the #3 singles slot. Mr. Sandgren has been cash money, young money.
Tennessee 4, California 2
1. #23 Andrews/Konigsfeldt (CAL) d. #1 Conkic/Smith (TENN) 9-8 (4)
2. #72 Sandgren/Williams (TENN) d. B. McLachlan/Zerbini (CAL) 8-1
3. #87 Cueto/Dahan (CAL) d. Fago/Jones (TENN) 8-5
1. #11 John-Patrick Smith (TENN) d. #20 Pedro Zerbini (CAL) 6-3, 6-1
2. #3 Rhyne Williams (TENN) d. #64 Carlos Cueto (CAL) 7-6 (5), 6-3
3. #45 Tennys Sandgren (TENN) vs. #96 Nick Andrews (CAL), 7-6 (8), 4-5 DNF
4. Boris Conkic (TENN) vs. Christoffer Kongisfeldt (CAL) 6-2, 6-2
5. Bozhidar Katsarov (CAL) d. #80 Matteo Fago (TENN) 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
6. Edward Jones (TENN) vs. Riki McLachlan (CAL) 7-6 (5), 6-0
Order of Finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (1,6,4,2).
On (on) to the next one
In a surprise to no one who looked at the bracket when it was released a couple weeks ago, the Vols will face the University of Georgia Bulldogs in the quarterfinals. UGA is not an unfamiliar opponent. Indeed, just a few weeks ago we played them -- in Athens no less -- for a share of the SEC regular season title. The Volunteers prevailed by a score of 4-3.
Two things: (1) the Bulldogs will likely want to exact some revenge on us for walking into their kitchen and unapologetically stealing half of their pie in front of all of their friends before casually walking right back out the front door without even saying goodbye; (2) for a long long time I really wanted to go out on a date with Anna Kournikova. In fact, I might have even been willing to date her exclusively had the situation presented itself.
You can't always get what you want.