WACO, Texas -- The fifth-seeded TCU Horned Frogs advanced to the NCAA Division I Men's Tennis semifinals for the first time since 2001.
TCU (24-7) took out No. 13 North Carolina 4-1 in Saturday's quarterfinals at Baylor's Hurd Tennis Center. The Horned Frogs will face top-seeded and last year's runner-up Oklahoma in Monday's semifinals. The Sooners (27-2) defeated eighth-seeded Georgia in the final eight on Saturday.The man leading the Horned Frogs to the final four is fifth-year head coach David Roditi, a standout for TCU from 1993 to 1996. He graduated from the Fort Worth school with a degree in marketing. Following his time at TCU, Roditi reached a career high as pro in doubles of No. 41. He also represented his native Mexico in 10 Davis Cup matches.
So, what's the key to the Horned Frogs' success?
"You start with good players and committed players," said Roditi, holding his 11-month-old son, Max, who was wearing a "Fear the Frog" T-shirt. "You also have support from our administration and fans. Our seniors stepped up today. We always talk about cutting the snake's head. They did exactly that today."
Senior Nick Chappell, ranked No. 49, defeated No. 11 Brandon Schnur of North Carolina 6-4, 6-2 at No. 1 singles. Chappell and fellow senior Facundo Lugones won No. 2 doubles by the tight score of 8-7 (6).
"The last three years we haven't even been close to that," said Chappell, of the ascension to the semifinals. "We always saw Roditi's teams on the wall, and never knew we had a chance. It feel amazing to actually get there."
Additionally, Chappell excels in the classroom. He has twice been named to the All-Big 12 Academic First Team, and to the All-Mountain West Academic Team (TCU's former conference). Maintaining high academic standards in college can be difficult, especially for Division I athletes.
"One of the biggest things you learn when you get to college is how to manage your time," said Chappell, who majored in sociology and criminal justice. "You have the social aspect, the sports and school."
Chappell will also compete in the NCAA Singles Championship and is paired with Will Stein in doubles. The individual tournament is slated for May 20-25.
In other results, second-seeded Baylor eliminated defending champion Southern California, the No. 7 seed, by a score of 4-2. The Bears will take on third-seeded Virginia in the semifinals on Monday. Virginia shut out sixth-seeded Texas A&M 4-0 in the quarterfinals.