Brown Three-Peats at Tennis On Campus Sectionals
NORTHAMPTON, MA – Brown University won its third consecutive Tennis On Campus New England Championship on Sunday and fifth since 2012, headlining a field of seven college club tennis teams that earned the chance to represent New England at Nationals in April.
The tournament featured 28 clubs that competed in pool play and then bracket play over the two-day tournament at Smith College and Hampshire College.
The Brown Bears came into this year’s tournament as the top overall seed, and they took advantage early, defeating both Brandeis University and Amherst College by the same mark of 30-6 total games.
All eight pool winners advanced to the Gold Bracket, where the main draw format is switched to single elimination.
Brown was tasked with facing the University of Connecticut in the quarterfinals, which swept its four-team pool. UConn led Brown 18-16 in total games after both doubles and singles positions, leaving only mixed to be played.
Tennis On Campus uses the World TeamTennis format, where play is extended only if the team trailing in total games wins the final mixed set. If that happens, both teams will continue to play no-ad games until the game score is tied or until the winning team wins one game. If the total games become tied, a supertiebreak to seven is played to determine the winner.
Brown put their faith in the mixed pairing of senior Sean Yamamoto and freshman Sofia Egge to bring them back and keep their hopes of a three-peat alive. Yamamoto and Egge answered, taking the set 6-4 to force a supertiebreak, in which they also prevailed, 7-5.
“It’s always nerve-wracking. I think a lot of us were nervous on the sidelines, but we had a lot of trust in our mixed team, and the energy of the mixed doubles makes the players even more motivated,” said Brown senior co-captain, Justin Song.
Yamamoto and Egge were put in an almost identical situation in the semifinal match against MIT. The teams split the first four positions, but Brown trailed in games 20-17 going into mixed. Brown dominated the set early, building a 5-1 lead against the pairing of Alex Barksdale and Sarah Cen. MIT fought back however with two holds and a break, forcing Brown to turn to its bench.
“We subbed out Sean for Grant (Lumkong), who has a killer serve,” said senior co-captain, Ellen Yoo. “He performs really well under pressure. Sean does too, but Grant has these really big shots, and he hit seven winners and aces in the tiebreaker for us. It was insane.”
Lumkong served out the set, Brown won an extended game, and then took the supertiebreak, 7-2, setting up an all-Ivy League final against Harvard.
Harvard defeated Northeastern and Tufts to earn its spot in the championship match.
In the final, Song and Lumkong won their men’s doubles position and Ty Cohen took care of men’s singles, while Harvard answered back in both women’s positions. Brown led by one game heading into mixed with the title once again hanging on the shoulders of Yamamoto and Egge.
This time however, the set was drama free, as the duo cruised past Harvard’s mixed team of Ammaar Saeed and Cosette Wu, 6-1.
“It feels great! Our team has changed a lot over the past three or so years, but the success has remained constant, and that’s a product of our hard work at practice and great team morale,” Song said. “Every team in the Gold Bracket had the level needed to go to Nationals. I think the level this year definitely trumped the levels in the past couple years, which made it more fun and exciting.”
Brown will be joined at Nationals in Arizona by Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Yale, Northeastern and Dartmouth, who finished second to seventh respectively.
MIT defeated Tufts in the third-place match, while Yale outlasted Northeastern for fifth. Dartmouth and UConn played the final match of the weekend to determine the final Nationals bid, which went to the 2021 New England runners-up, Dartmouth, 24-20.
In an all-UMass battle for the Silver Bracket title, UMass Lowell defeated UMass Amherst 22-19. The University of Vermont defeated Bryant University to win the Bronze title, and the University of Maine won Copper by beating Central Connecticut State University.
Brandeis University captain, Matthew Colbert, earned the Captain’s Sportsmanship Award, while Brandeis took home team sportsmanship honors. Both awards were voted on by all 28 teams.
To learn more about USTA’s Tennis On Campus program, click here.
Photos and videos from both days of action can be found below:
Live event coverage – Visit www.instagram.com/ustanewengland and click the “TOC Sectionals” button below the bio.
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