WACO, Texas -- The home Baylor Bears will host the NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championship semifinals Monday at the Hurd Tennis Center.
By the way, the second-seeded Bears will also be playing, as they take on the No. 3 Virginia Cavaliers. Baylor (24-5) upended defending champion Southern California 4-2 in Saturday's quarterfinal-round. USC, seeded seventh at this year's national event, is the winner of 21 team championships. The Bears will play in their fifth semifinal under the leadership of head coach Matt Knoll. The last semifinals appearance for Baylor came in 2007."Well, it's incredibly hard to do," said Knoll about making the semis. "We have had some talented teams that haven't been able to do that. To be one of the best teams, you have to be good at every spot. You look up and down our lineup, and our guys have all come through on their day."
In his 19th season at the helm, Knoll guided the Bears to the NCAA title in 2004, and to the finals the following year. Baylor also reached the semifinals in 2006 and 2007. Last year, Virginia got the best of Baylor in the quarters, winning 4-0 in Athens, Georgia. The Cavaliers (26-3) shut out No. 6 Texas A&M 4-0 in Saturday's quarterfinals in Waco. USC beat Virginia 4-1 in the 2014 semifinals.
Saturday's match was clinched by Baylor senior Diego Galeano, who beat USC's Jonny Wang 6-3, 7-6 at No. 4 singles. Galeano and Julian Lenz also won No. 1 doubles, as Baylor picked up the first point by winning two pairings. The Bears duo has received a bid to the NCAA Doubles tournament, with the tandem event and singles competition to be held May 20-25 at Baylor.
"It's not as big as winning," said Galeano with a smile, when asked about his thoughts on advancing to the semifinals. "We want to win it all. We need to focus on Monday. It's going to be even harder."
Galeano, who hails from Asuncion, Paraguay, graduated from Baylor on Friday. He earned a degree in management and entrepreneurship.
Following the NCAA Doubles tournament, Galeano will compete in the Pan American Games in Toronto, and later in the Davis Cup in Panama.
In other NCAA quarterfinals action, top-seeded Oklahoma beat No. 8 Georgia 4-2. The Sooners (27-2), last year's runners-up to USC, meet fifth-seeded TCU (24-7), who were 4-1 winners against No. 13 North Carolina.