The third-seeded Baylor Men’s Tennis team (29-4) had a thrilling season in Michael Woodson’s first full year as official head coach as the Bears notched their third consecutive Big 12 title. Despite loads of excitement and momentum following a massive victory against No. 18 Stanford in the Elite 8, the Bears fell, 4-3, in a close battle with No. 6 Tennessee (26-7) yesterday during the NCAA Quarterfinals. 3rd-ranked doubles pair of Finn Bass and Sven Lah got Baylor started with a 6-1 doubles victory against 13th-ranked Pat Harper and Adam Walton on court 1, but the Vols quickly responded. Emile Hudd and Shunsuke Mitsui—ranked 21st—upset 9th-ranked Matias Soto and Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi, 6-1 on court 2. Tennessee clinched the NCAA Quarterfinals’ doubles point at the No. 3 slot with Johannus Monday and Mark Wallner’s 6-4 triumph over Adrian Boitan and Tadeas Paroulek. Mazzuchi had the first singles point, 6-1, 6-2 over Harper on court 6. 58th-ranked Paroulek added a 6-2, 6-4 defeat of Angel Diaz at the No. 5 position. 74th-ranked Hudd excelled past 73rd-ranked Lah on court 3, 7-6(7-3), 6-3. Soto—ranked 36th nationally—upset his court 2 opponent, 10th-ranked Monday, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Tennessee secured the victory following 3rd-ranked Walton’s besting of 5th-ranked Boitan, 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 at the No. 1 spot and Shunsuke Mitsui’s 3-6, 7-6(7-3), 6-4 match over Bass on court 4.
Following the loss, Woodson said, “That’s one of the best college tennis matches that we will experience. It had absolutely everything. We had chances, they had chances. Deep into the third set on so many courts. We won some of them, we lost some of them, and unfortunately, this one didn’t fall our way. The thing that I’m the most proud of is the way that our guys competed, the way they battled together. They just represent the university and the program so well. Our fans, our coaches, our staff just do an incredible job of representing Baylor and showing what we really are about and who we are as people. And that’s so much more important to me than the result. My heart breaks that we’re not going to get out there as a team with Matias and Sven anymore. I’m just excited to have had the opportunity and thankful for the opportunity to have worked with them for so long. This team has an extremely bright future. I know this one stings, and it’s probably going to motivate all of us to work a little harder moving forward. But the season is defined by so much success. Another Big 12 championship, another semifinal run at Indoors, quarterfinals here, 29 wins. We’re the best of the best, it just didn’t fall our way today, but that’s tennis, that’s life. I’m just more happy about the way we handled it and how we consistently went through the season. This is a first-class group of guys, and I’m just proud to be a part of it.”