May 25, 2004
TULSA, Okla. - Baylor's men's tennis team dominated UCLA to win the school's first-ever team national championship at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla., on Tuesday evening. In one of the shortest championship matches in NCAA history, two minutes short of two hours, the Bears shut out UCLA, 4-0. The win was just the sixth shutout in the history of the title match which spans 28 years of NCAA tennis team championships.
Junior Benedikt Dorsch was named the tournament's most outstanding performer and he was joined on the all-tournament team by junior Benjamin Becker and senior Reiner Neurohr. The doubles tandems of Dorsch and freshman Matija Zgaga and sophomore Ivor Lovrak and Neurohr were named all-tournament as well.
We played our best match of the year. We built towards this all season.
A crowd of 2,507, about 2,000 of which were Baylor fans, saw the Bears whip through the doubles matches. Neurohr and Lovrak were the first to finish with an 8-4 win at No. 3. Their match was tied at 3-3 before the tandem won five of the next six games to close out Tobias Clemens and Chris Surapol. From then it was a race to see which Baylor doubles team would finish next. Dorsch and Zgaga, playing at No. 1 and ranked No. 20, won that race, upsetting 7th-ranked Alberto Francis and Kris Kwinta, 8-5. When play was suspended Becker and Marin were leading 7-5.
The way singles started gave fans an inkling as to what the outcome of the match would be. All six Baylor players won their first set. Zgaga, playing at No. 4 and ranked No. 113, whipped UCLA's 63rd-ranked Alberto Francis 6-2, 6-3 to walk off the court first. Next, after winning the first set in a tiebreaker 7-6 (4) after being down 4-1, Becker made quick work of Luben Pampoulov in the second set 6-1. If was fitting that it was one of Baylor's two seniors that clinched the match and the title for the Bears. Matias Marin, ranked No. 98, upset 60th-ranked Chris Lam in straight sets 6-3, 6-2 to give Baylor its fourth and final point. At the time play was suspended Dorsch was tied at 5-5, Neurohr was up 4-3 and Lovrak was tied at 4-4.
"We played our best match of the year. We built towards this all season. This is the top of the pyramid for us over the course of the season. Everything we did all year was building towards today. We played our very best match of the season on the day it mattered the most," said head coach Matt Knoll.
Baylor completes the 2003-04 season with a school record 32-2 mark and 24 match win streak while UCLA finishes with a 23-6 record.
The men's team final will air on ESPN2 on June 2 at 2 pm.
No. 2 Baylor 4, No. 4 UCLA 0
Order of finish: 4, 2, 3
1. #2 Benedikt Dorsch (BU) vs. #7 Tobias Clemens (UCLA) DNF
2. #15 Benjamin Becker (BU) def. #67 Luben Pampoulov (UCLA) 7-6(4), 6-1
3. #98 Matias Marin (BU) vs. #60 Chris Lam (UCLA) 6-3, 6-2
4. #113 Matija Zgaga (BU) vs. #63 Alberto Francis (UCLA) 6-2, 6-3
5. Reiner Neurohr (BU) vs. #88 Kris Kwinta (UCLA) DNF
6. #119 Ivor Lovrak (BU) vs. #107 Phillipp Gruendler (UCLA) DNF
Order of finish: 3, 1
1. #20 Dorsch/Zgaga (BU) def. #7 Francis/Kwinta (UCLA) 8-5
2. #24 Becker/Marin (BU) vs. #27 Gruendler/Pampoulov (UCLA) DNF
3. Lovrak/Neurohr (BU) def. Clemens/Surapol (UCLA) 8-4