|No. 28 Baylor (8-2) vs. Virginia (15-0)
March 12, 2011 | 1 p.m. CST | Waco, Texas | Baylor Tennis Center (1,600)
Live Scoring/Blog: BaylorBears.com
| Gametracker | In-Match Blog | Match Notes
For the first time-ever the 28th-ranked Baylor men's tennis team will host the nation's top-ranked team as the Virginia Cavaliers come to the Baylor Tennis Center on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Baylor (8-2) will look to continue its six-match win streak, while also trying to put an end to Virginia's perfect 15-0 start to the season. The match is the fifth for Baylor on a nine-match homestand with the Bears having won the first four contests.
This season, the Bears have been dominant at home winning six of seven matches when they are the home team and holding a 6-1 mark at the Baylor Tennis Center.
Since 1997, Baylor is 0-5 against No. 1 ranked teams and 39-42 against teams ranked inside the top 10. Against Virginia, the Bears are just 3-4, but they have never lost a home match to the Cavaliers going 2-0 at the Baylor Tennis Center.
Live scoring and a live blog for Saturday's match will be available on BaylorBears.com.
LAST TIME OUT: Baylor improved to 38-1 on days when it plays multiple matches in the Matt Knoll era with two 7-0 shutouts on Thursday at the Baylor Tennis Center. First, the Bears downed Lamar losing at No. 3 doubles and only one set in singles to cruise to the win. Next, the Bears captured all three doubles matches and every singles match in straight sets to top UT Pan American. John Peers, Dennis Lengsfeld, Julian Bley and Kike Grangeiro all won a pair of singles contests on the day.
LOOKING AHEAD:fter facing No.1 ranked Virginia, the Bears will continue their nine-match homestand by hosting second-ranked Tennessee on Tuesday at 2 p.m. Baylor is 1-5 all-time versus the Volunteers with its lone win coming in 2008. The match will pit Matt Knoll against one of his former assistants, Sam Winterbotham, who is now the head coach at Tennessee.
RANKED BEARS: In the latest ITA team rankings released on March 8, the Bears remained at No. 28, after previously being ranked as high as No. 7 to start the season. The ranking is the lowest the Baylor program has been listed since being ranked No. 29 in the final poll of the 2001 season. Individually, Baylor has three singles players ranked in the ITA top 125 as senior John Peers is ranked No. 22 with a 10-0 record in dual-match play, sophomore Roberto Maytin, who has a 7-1 mark in dual-match play, is ranked 110th and junior Kike Grangeiro (8-1) is now ranked No. 91. The Bears also have a doubles teams listed in the rankings with Peers and Maytin partnering together to be ranked 10th, after posting a 7-1 record to start the season.
CURRENT SINGLES STREAKS & TRENDS: Senior John Peers has been unbeatable for the Bears at the top of the singles lineup in posting a perfect 10-0 mark in nine matches at No. 1 and one match at No. 2. The rest of Baylor's singles lineup has been influx throughout the year. As part of the changes Roberto Maytin has played at three different positions, but has recorded a 7-1 mark with six straight wins. Dating back to last season, the sophomore has won 10 of his last 12 dual matches. Kike Grangeiro has also played well for the Bears with an 8-1 record competing at the five and six spots.
CURRENT DOUBLES STREAKS & TRENDS: BU's No. 1 and No. 3 doubles tandems have been very consistent throughout the dual-match season. At the top of the lineup, the 10th-ranked Roberto Maytin and John Peers are 7-1, while at the bottom Julian Bley and Kike Grangeiro have an unblemished 9-0 mark. Overall, Baylor has won eight straight doubles points and has swept all three doubles matches seven times this year.
BAYLOR VERSUS NO. 1 RANKED OPPONENTS: Saturday's match will mark the first time the Bears have played a No. 1 ranked team since losing 5-2 at No. 1 Virginia on March 21, 2010. Since Matt Knoll took over at Baylor in 1997, the Bears have never beaten a No.1 ranked team, going 0-5 in such matches. All five losses have either come on the road or in neutral site meetings.
BAYLOR AGAINST TOP 10 TEAMS: During Knoll's 14+ years at Baylor, the Bears are 39-42 against teams ranked in the top 10. In their two battles against top 10 opponents this season, Baylor fell at No. 9 Florida in Gainesville, 5-2, and then lost 4-3 at home to No. 6 UCLA. Last season Baylor was 3-4 against top 10 opponents. The Bears best year against top 10 competition came in 2005 when they went 10-1 in such contests.
SCOUTING VIRGINIA: The No. 1 ranked Virginia Cavaliers enter Saturday's match with a 15-0 mark in dual-match play, including 13 wins over ranked teams. Among those 13 victories are wins over No. 8 Illinois, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 3 Tennessee. Virginia has been ranked No. 1 in all eight editions of the ITA team rankings this season. The Cavaliers captured their fourth-straight ITA National Indoor Championship on Feb. 21. In their last match out Virginia played its first outdoor match of the season as the Cavaliers defeated No. 53 LSU, 5-2, on Wednesday in Baton Rouge, La. Brian Boland is in his 10th year as the head man at Virginia.
CAVALIERS TO WATCH: The Cavaliers have six players ranked in the ITA rankings. Leading Virginia is Alex Domijan at No. 2 followed by Michael Shabaz at No. 10, Sanam Singh at No. 18, Drew Courtney at No. 30, Jarmere Jenkins at No. 31 and Julen Uriguen at No. 85. In doubles, Virginia has three ranked doubles tandems with Courtney and Shabaz at No. 2, Jenkins and Doijan at No. 19 and Domijan and Shabaz at No. 24.
SERIES HISTORY: The Bears are 3-4 all-time versus Virginia, but have lost the last three matches in the series. BU dropped one contest last season and previously two matches in 2008 to the then No. 1 ranked Cavaliers. Before 2008, Baylor beat Virginia in 2007, lost to the Cavaliers in 2006, and won the first two matches of the series in 2005. The Bears are 2-0 in Waco, 0-3 in Charlottesville and 1-1 in neutral site meetings against the Cavaliers. In each of the series first seven meetings, both teams have been ranked among the nation's top 10 teams.
LAST TIME AGAINST VIRGINIA: The top-ranked Cavaliers handed No. 8 Baylor a 5-2 loss last season on March 21 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Bears got in an early hole by losing all three doubles matches and weren't able to recover as Virginia claimed four of the six singles matches all in straight sets. The only Bears to win were Attila Bucko at the No. 3 spot and Roberto Maytin at No. 5 singles.
QUOTES - Head Coach Matt Knoll
"You can't overstate how good they have been the last few years. They really haven't lost that many points. They are arguably the most talented team in college tennis the last seven or eight years."
On the opportunity that playing a No. 1 team gives his team:
"We have absolutely got our hands full playing them. We are excited. I think it is going to be a great day to see where we stand. We are looking forward to the opportunity. I just want to encourage people to come out. I think you are going to see some good tennis players out there in that match and hopefully we get some people out cheering for us and helping us find a way to get into it."
On the advantage of hosting Virginia and playing outdoors:
"This will be their second outdoor match and we have played almost every match outdoors. Clearly, it is always better to be at home. It is always better to be in your environment, but they have won plenty of outdoor matches. They have a lot of guys that just play good tennis. We are going to have to be ready to execute and compete certainly better than we have all season if we are going to have a chance to win."
On what his team will have to do to upset Virginia:
"We have just got to try to find four points out there. They are just good everywhere. There is no spot that is weak. They are just really, really good everywhere. You look at the rankings of their guys and it is pretty clear that they are unbelievable. I think it is one of those deals where everybody is going to have to come ready to play and give it their best and hopefully we can get into the match."