As all of you are aware, the University is planning on cutting eight sports this year if they are unable to raise enough money to fund themselves for eight years. I wish we had the time and resources (or in my case, the knowledge) to write about all of them, but there's one I'd like to focus on today - tennis. I grew up with the sport - my dad and I played regularly when I was a kid, and one of my earliest sports memories was watching Goran Ivanisevic win Wimbledon when I was nine years old.
This weekend, the Terps' men's tennis team faced off against Duke and North Carolina in College Park, for their last two regular season matches of the year and quite possibly for some time. In collegiate tennis, the teams begin with three matches of doubles, played simultaneously. Doubles matches are only one set, with the team winning eight games first securing the victory. The team who wins at least two of the three doubles matches get one point. After that, singles matches are played (also simultaneously), with each match counting as one point. These matches are in a best-of-three format, with six games needed to win a set. The team with the majority of the seven available points gets the victory.
Maryland lost Friday's matches against #5 Duke by a score of 5-2, but bounced back with an incredibly strong performance against the #18 Tar Heels on Sunday, beating the visitors 5-2. UNC beat the Blue Devils on the road 4-3 on Wednesday, and entered the weekend as definite favorites to beat the Terps at home.
The Terps' strength lies in their top doubles duo of junior John Collins and senior Maros Horny - the pair is ranked 33rd in the country and entered Sunday with a 21-11 record on the year as a tandem. Collins and Horny played on court one against the 30th-ranked duo of Jose Hernandez and Joey Burkhardt, who entered the day with a 9-1 conference record. Collins and Horny quickly fell to a 5-2 deficit against Hernandez and Burkhardt, while Maryland's other two doubles teams (Vlad Stefan/Tommy Laine and Andy Magee/Jesse Kiuru) won 8-4 and 8-6, respectively, with relative ease. The Terps had already locked up the doubles point, leaving the match on court one as a formality.
With nothing but pride at stake, Collins and Horny mounted an incredible comeback, led by the fired-up junior, whose continued screams of "Go Terps" after each Maryland point grew louder and louder as the improbable grew closer. The pair won six straight games to win the match 8-5, giving the Terps a clean sweep of the doubles round.
Maryland's strong performance continued in singles play, with Laine, Stefan, and Sergio Wyss all picking up wins to seal the upset victory. Horny lost his match to #33 Hernandez in three sets. It was the Terps' third win over a ranked opponent in the last three weeks.
Maryland finishes the regular season at 7-14with a 4-7 record in ACC play, currently putting them at ninth in the conference. ACC Tournament play begins next week in Cary, N.C.
According to Maryland's Save Our Sports website, the tennis team has raised $1,385 of the over $3.8 million goal they have to reach by the end of next month. The track and swim teams have both received extensions, and the university has said it will review the programs on a case-by-case basis for possible new deadlines.
You can find the links to donate to the different programs here.