By winning the 2013 USTA Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational, the University of Florida qualified for the 2014 USTA Tennis On Campus National Championship.
Florida captain Adam Decker won his singles matchup in the final against Virginia.
By Steve Pratt, special to USTA.com
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – The University of Florida tennis club team made the most of its first trip to the USTA Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational, defeating the University of Virginia, 23-18, to win the 2013 title at the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center.
By reaching the final, both Florida and Virginia qualify for the crown jewel of the Tennis On Campus season, the 2014 USTA Tennis On Campus National Championship in Surprise, Ariz., April 10-12.
In the semifinals, Florida defeated North Carolina State, 30-14, and Virginia squeaked past North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 23-20. In the third-place match, N.C. State needed a super tiebreaker to beat its in-state rival, 25-24. Tennis On Campus uses the World TeamTennis format, which plays five matches – men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and doubles, and mixed doubles – with each game won counting toward the final score.
In all, 32 teams and more than 150 players competed in the Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational.
“This is our first time here but we’ve been to Nationals and we are used to playing in these high-pressure matches,” Florida captain Adam Decker said. “In this format every game counts and we knew Virginia was going to be very tough to beat.”
Decker watched his doubles teams of Stephanie Cruz and Barrie Eisenburg and Alex Peckham and Stephen Ireland win their matches, 6-4 and 6-1, respectively, before Virginia’s Taylor Wingo downed Eisenberg in the women’s singles, 6-1, to make the score 13-11. But Decker beat Aaron Paul, 6-1, for the 19-12 lead heading into the final mixed doubles match, won by Wingo and Roseblum over Decker and Cruz, 6-3.
That sent the match into overtime with Florida leading, 22-18. But Decker and Cruz took the next game to clinch the match.
“It feels great,” said Cruz, the vice president of the Florida club team. “We are a close team and we had so much fun, just winning it with your friends. We’re on Hilton Head Island so we just hung out and went to the beach and bonded. Now our focus turns to the Nationals.”
The Cavaliers advanced to the final at the Fall Invitational for the third straight year, having won the title in 2011 and lost in the final in 2012.
“It seems like we know what it takes to get to the final here,” said Virginia captain Derek Gale, who along with doubles player Marina Hehenwarter has been on all three Fall Invitational finalist teams. “It’s figuring out how to win it all that has proved a little tougher. It really was a great weekend. We’re excited to get the Nationals bid out of the way.”
Auburn was given the Sportsmanship Award at the player party on Saturday night. The award is voted on by all the teams, according to USTA Tennis On Campus Coordinator Kelly Goodhart. “There is just something about the Auburn team that everyone loves,” Goodhart said. “They just have that great spirit that embodies what this event is all about.”
To view all the scores and draws from the event, click here.
Championship: Florida def. Virginia, 23-18
Semifinals: Florida def. NC State, 30-14; Virginia def. UNC-Chapel Hill, 23-20
3rd-4th Place: NC State def. UNC-Chapel Hill 25-24
5th-6th Place: Georgia Tech def. Arizona, 26-20
Consolation Final: Duke def. USC, 24-19
Championship: Tennessee def. Minnesota, 26-25
3rd-4th Place: Georgia State def. Kentucky, 26-25
5th-6th Place: Villanova def. UNC-Greensboro, 24-15
Championship: Vanderbilt def. Wisconsin, 24-15
3rd-4th Place: Dayton def. Ferris State, 24-20
5th-6th Place: Ohio def. Pennsylvania, 26-20
Sportsmanship Award (voted on by the teams): Auburn University
Past USTA Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational Champions
2010 – University of Alabama
2011– University of Virginia
2012 – Duke University
2013 – University of Florida
There’s no better sport than tennis for making friends, staying fit and having fun! Whether you’ve played before or are just picking up the game, USTA Tennis On Campus has a way for you to find yourself in the game. All across the country, college students are enjoying the excitement of tennis through coed team play that keeps their competitive fires burning and opens up doors to new friendships and endless fun.