The University of Virginia advanced to the semifinals.
© Thomas Love / TR Media
By Steve Pratt, special to USTA.com
HILTON HEAD, S.C. – Defending champion Virginia will face Colorado of the Mines "A" team while Duke takes on the University of Central Florida "A" squad on Sunday in the semifinals of the Gold Bracket with the winners of each match earning an automatic bid into next Spring’s USTA Tennis On Campus Nationals.
All four teams got through their quarterfinal round in dramatic fashion on Saturday during the Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational kick-off event being played at the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center. The four matches were decided by a total of seven games.
"There were really some incredible matches today and you could just feel the tension in the air as the last games were being played," said tournament director Meghan Houk. "All four matches really could have gone either way, but it’s nice to see all four teams from four different USTA sections advance to the semifinals."
Duke Captain Stepanie Dudzinski found herself in the final mixed doubles match down three overall games in the match against College of Charleston’s "A" team before she took the court. Dudzinski and her partner won their set 6-5 and Duke won two games in overtime to even the match and force a super tiebreaker, which the Blue Devils won taking the match, 25-24.
The Sunday semifinal against Central Florida will be a rematch of last season’s TOC Nationals first-round Gold Bracket match that Duke lost. So Dudzinski said revenge will be on her team’s mind. If Duke does manage to get past the tough Central Florida squad, it could set up a possible rematch of last year’s Fall Invitational final where Virginia beat Duke.
Central Florida’s top player Manas Rane said both Duke and his team are fielding totally different squads this season. "We only have two returners from last year," the senior Rane said. "We were down 3-5 in our final mixed doubles match and came back to win it 6-5. We just barely eked it out today. There were some really tight matches all day."
Virginia will have a tough test in facing Colorado of the Mines "A" team led by No. 1 singles player Mark Taylor, the doubles team of Jordan Pease and Felipe Silva Ardila and mixed doubles player and captain Antonia McMullan.
"Our girls were a little bit off today, myself included," McMullan said. "We hope to do even better in the matches tomorrow. But, either way I know we'll enjoy the tennis because that's the reason we all chose to come to this tournament."
The 23-year-old grad student and TOC veteran Pease has played well all weekend and has drawn eyes to his court for his wrist toss. At the age of 5, the Bloomington, Minn., native Pease was in a farming accident and lost his right hand in a hay grinder.
He was forced to learn the game as a lefthander and to balance the ball on his right wrist before tossing it into the air.
"I played a lot sports growing up but just stuck with tennis," said Pease, whose father played collegiately at North Dakota State. "You can get by with one hand in tennis.
"It’s so natural now I can balance anything on my wrist. I used to get a lot of people watching me, but not because I was good. The coach would bring over players to show them my toss and would tell them, ‘If he can do it, you can do it.’ I would be losing bad but all they wanted to see was me throw the toss. It was all about the toss, which is fine. My serve is the best part of my game. I think it’s because I have a great toss."
He added: "It’s something a lot of people overlook in tennis, just how important the toss consistency is. It sets everything up. But I never took it for granted because it was always so hard to do. It was something I had to do."
To view all the scores and draws from the first two days of play, go to:
http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=133326. For more information about the USTA Tennis On Campus program visit www.tennisoncampus.com.
ABOUT USTA TENNIS ON CAMPUS: The USTA TOC program features more than 35,000 college students competing nationwide in intramural coed club play. Developed by the USTA in partnership with the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association, World TeamTennis and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association the program gives college students the opportunity to build leadership skills, network in a coed sports environment and compete on a college team without the rigors of playing in a varsity program. With year-round match play, and sectional and national championship competition, students maintain active and healthy lifestyles through their college years. Since its inception in 2000, Tennis On Campus has grown significantly and today has programs on more than 600 college campuses across the country.
8 a.m. – Gold, Silver & Bronze Bracket Playoffs
10 a.m. – Gold, Silver & Bronze Bracket Finals
10 a.m. – TOC National Fall Invitational Gold Bracket Championship Match
Saturday’s Bracket Results
A: A team; B: B team
Gold Bracket Round of 16
Virginia def. Auburn, 26-12
UNC-Greensboro def. Alabama, 22-16
Colorado of Mines (A) def. North Carolina State, 24-15
Clemson (A) def. Old Dominion, 26-15
Duke def. Minnesota, 24-19
College of Charleston (A) def. Tennessee, 25-17
Georgia Tech def. Cincinnati, 27-21
Central Florida (A) def. Kentucky, 24-8
Gold Bracket Quarterfinals (winners)
Virginia def. UNC-Greensboro, 20-19
Colorado School of Mines (A) def. Clemson (A), 20-19
Duke def. College of Charleston (A), 25-24
Central Florida (A) def. Cincinnati, 24-20
Gold Bracket Quartefinals (losers)
Auburn def. Alabama, 26-18
North Carolina State def. Old Dominion, 28-21
Tennessee def. Minnesota, 30-11
Kentucky def. Georgia Tech, 27-22
Silver Bracket Quarterfinals
Georgia def. UNC-Charlotte (A), 30-8
Ohio State def. Ferris State (A), 24-12
UNC-Charlotte (B) def. Dayton, 26-16
Elon def. Ohio University, 24-22
Silver Bracket Semifinals (winners)
Georgia def. Ohio State, 22-21
Elon def. UNC-Charlotte (B), 21-19
Silver Bracket Semifinals (losers)
Ferris State (A) def. UNC-Charlotte, 23-22
Dayton def. Ohio, 19-15
Bronze Bracket Quarterfinals
Central Florida (B) def. Macon State, 27-14
College of Charleston (B) def. Clemson, 24-13
Vanderbilt def. East Tennessee, 28-12
Colorado School of Mines (B) def. Ferris State (B), 30-9
Bronze Bracket Semifinals (winners)
Central Florida (B) def. College of Charleston (B), 22-20
Vanderbilt def. Colorado School of Mines (B), 27-13
Bronze Bracket Semifinals (losers)
Macon State def. Clemson (B), 27-21
Ferris State (B) def. East Tennessee, 22-21
Saturday’s Final Pool Play Results
Tennessee def. Colorado School of Mines (A), 27-21
Ohio State def. Clemson (B), 30-12
Note: Three teams tie with 2-1 records so percentage of games won determines who moves on. Colorado School of Mines (A) takes first (60.6%) and joins second-place Tennessee (58.7%), and Ohio State (56%) goes to Silver; Clemson (B) goes 0-3 to advance to the Bronze Bracket.
Clemson (A) def. Minnesota, 25-18
Ferris State (A) def. College of Charleston, 27-24
Note: Clemson (A) goes 3-0 to advance to the Gold Bracket; Minnesota goes 2-1 and also advances to the Gold Bracket while Ferris State (A) goes 1-2 and moves on to the Silver Bracket and College of Charleston (B) at 0-3 goes to the Bronze Bracket.
Duke def. Old Dominion, 29-12
UNC-Charlotte (B) def. East Tennessee State, 26-13
Note: Duke goes 3-0 to advance to the Gold Bracket while Old Dominion takes second (2-1) and also advances to Gold; UNC-Charlotte (B) goes 1-2 and moves on to the Silver Bracket and East Tennessee State (0-3) goes to Bronze.
North Carolina State def. Dayton, 24-21
College of Charleston (A) def. Vanderbilt, 28-12
Note: Three teams tie with 2-1 records so percentage of games won determines who moves on. College of Charleston (A) (57.3%) and North Carolina State (54.3%) advance to Gold Bracket and Dayton (50.4%) to Silver. Vanderbilt (0-3) moves on to the Bronze Bracket.
Past USTA Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational Champions
2010 – University of Alabama
2011– University of Virginia