No. 14 Texas sweeps UCF, gains momentum heading into ITA tournament


Sophie Stoeger/The Daily Texan

On Sunday, February 13th Micah Braswell makes a run for the ball at the UCF vs UT men’s tennis match.

Matthew Caldwell, Sports Reporter

Coming off a sweep versus Rice last Friday night, No. 14 Texas looked to secure another win heading into the ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship next weekend. After being ranked No. 11 on Jan. 5, UCF lost six of their first seven matches on the season. Their tough schedule only continued at the Texas Tennis Center in Austin.

Getting to work quickly, sophomore Eliot Spizzirri and senior Richard Ciamarra took a 3-0 lead against JC Roddick and Kento Yamada at line 3 doubles. This match didn’t last long as Spizzirri and Ciamarra took the win, 6-1.

Sophomore Micah Braswell and junior Chih Chi Huang got off to a hot start at line 2 doubles as well. After an easy hold in their first service game, the pair got a quick break, going up 2-0 on UCF’s Trey Hilderbrand and Cooper White. But the energy quickly turned as UCF broke Texas’ serve late in the set, putting the match back on serve. With Texas up 5-4 and UCF serving to stay in the set, Braswell ripped a huge return at 40-40, giving Texas the doubles point.

Falling behind early at line 1 doubles, sophomore Siem Woldeab and freshman Pierre-Yves Bailly worked hard to get the match back on serve. It appeared a tiebreaker was going to be necessary to decide this set, however Texas capped off its doubles win, suspending the match at 5-5.

Heading into singles play, the Longhorns needed three more wins to take the match. Bailly came out on fire, winning five straight games and eventually taking the first set at line 2, 6-1. Bailly would not slow down, winning the second set 6-4 and giving Texas a 2-0 lead.

Woldeab also put his foot on the gas, taking an early lead and never looking back, winning the first set at line 5, 6-1. However, Woldeab found himself in the same situation as his opponent was later in the match, down 5-1. Woldeab would go on to win four games in a row and tie the set at 5-5, but the comeback fell short as he lost the second set, 7-5. Woldeab played strong in the final set, breaking his opponent three times and taking it 6-1. Texas, now up 3-0, needed only one more win to take the match.

At line 1, Braswell went back-and-forth with Lleyton Cronje. Tied at 5-5 with the score of the game at 40-40, Braswell won a hard fought point to put himself up a break. Braswell would go on to serve out the set, not losing a point in his final service game. In a very heated second set, Cronje grew frustrated with some of the calls that were made. However, this didn’t rattle Braswell, as he continued to take care of business and secure the sweep for Texas, winning the second set 7-5.

It was a successful Sunday afternoon for the Longhorns, sweeping UCF and finishing some home wins before heading to Seattle for the ITA tournament.