Here is a quick roundup of how some former Weil Academy players fared during the first two rounds of the NCAA Division I Tournament.
Ashley Dai Wins the Clincher for UNC
Former Weil graduate Ashley Dai was the hero once again for No. 3-ranked North Carolina as the Tar Heels moved on to Tulsa for the Sweet 16 after two wins over the weekend. Playing at No. 6 singles, the senior Dai clinched the match in three sets for UNC in the 4-2 victory over Northwestern. The win sends Carolina to the NCAA Round of 16 for the seventh year in a row.
A senior from Temple City, Dai won a come-from-behind tiebreaker in set one, lost the second set 6-3, and then hit another gear in the third set with a 6-0 victory to set off a jubilant celebration in the far corner of the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.
The victory gives UNC (31-2) a school-record 31 dual match wins in 2016, extends the current winning streak to 20 matches and was also the 41st-straight home victory for the Tar Heels who went a perfect 16-0 this season.
In the 4-0 first-round win over East Tennessee State, Dai did not finish her match at No. 5 singles. In doubles Dai and her partner Chloe Ouellet-Pizer won 6-0 helping give the Lady Tar Heels the early 1-0 lead after doubles.
Dartmouth Falls to No. 31 Tulane
The No. 41 Dartmouth men’s team, with 2013 Weil Grad Ciro Riccardi in the lineup, fell to No. 31 Tulane, 4-0, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This was Dartmouth’s first tournament appearance since 1997. Playing at No. 2 singles, Riccardi fell to Tulane’s Constantin Schmitz, 6-0, 5-7, 6-2. Riccardi did not participate in the doubles event.
Max Cressy Pitches In During Two Wins For UCLA
Former Weil player Max Cressy pulled out a 7-1 tiebreaker with partner Austin Rapp at No. 3 doubles helping lift the UCLA Bruins to a 4-0 win over the University of San Diego. In the first round, Cressy and Rapp did not finish their match in a 4-0 victory over Weber State. The Bruins next face the winner of the Stanford-Northwestern next week in Tulsa.
Illinois and Jiang’s Season Ends
Weil Academy alum Aiden Jiang kept fighting, but it wasn’t enough as the Univ. of Illinois was eliminated from competition and had its season end in the second round, 4-0, against No. 21 Mississippi State. Jiang won his first set at 6-3, and led 3-1, but his match had to be abandoned after three other singles losses and the loss of the doubles points early on.
In the first round, Illinois and Jiang picked up the first singles point after Illinois dropped the doubles point in the 4-1 victory over Western Michigan. No. 15 Illinois finished the season at 20-11.
Young-Smith and Soemarno Help Ducks Make History
2015 Weil grads Ethan Young-Smith and Armando Soemarno helped lead the University of Oregon to its first-ever NCAA Tournament win, before eventually falling to No. 11 Oklahoma in the second round. 4-2. In the loss, The No. 42-ranked pairing of Jayson Amos and Soemarno upset No. 25 Axel Alvarez Llamas and Andrew Harris at No. 1 doubles to grab their 18th win of the season, 6-4, as Oregon won the doubles point for the early 1-0 lead.
In singles, Oklahoma (17-10) was able to tie up the match at No. 6 when Andre Biro defeated Ethan Young-Smith 6-1, 7-5. The Sooners then took two more matches to grab the 3-1 advantage. Jayson Amos fell 6-4, 6-4 on court four to No. 61 Alex Ghilea and Simon Stevens came within points of upsetting 25th-ranked Axel Alvarez Llamas at No. 2 before falling 6-2, 7-6 (9-7). Young-Smith fell in straight sets at No. 6 as the Ducks’ season ended against the Sooners.
In the first round, Oregon (19-7) started off strong, picking up the doubles point for the 21st time this year. The duo of Amos and Soemarno took their set 6-2 and moving themselves to 17-3 on the year.
In singles, Tulsa (17-14) was able to tie the match up at 1-all with a straight set win in the top spot. The tie was short-lived as Young-Smith put Oregon out in front with his 6-4, 6-3 victory over Okkie Kellerman at No. 6.