By Ron Cioffi/USTA Southern
View team photos on Facebook and below.
AUBURN, ALA. – Sleeping in their own beds may have helped hometown Auburn A to win the 2016 Tennis On Campus Southern Championship.
Auburn defeated the defending champion North Carolina (Chapel Hill) A team 24-17 in the “Alley” or top category. Auburn was the Southern winner in 2014.
In the final, Auburn dug itself a deep hole in the women’s doubles as UNC’s Sarah French and Roxanne Henshall blanked the Tigers 6-0. In men’s doubles, the Tar Heels’ team of Nelson Hughes and Seth Pinosky won 6-4, giving UNC as huge early buffer of 12-4.
Auburn turned to its two star players – Ashley Kitchen and Mitchell Vegas – to turn the tide in the final three sets. Kitchen put a bagel on Alexandra Lee and Vegas downed Connor Cooke 6-4 in singles matches.
Going into the final set of mixed doubles, the match was knotted at 16-16. However, Auburn’s momentum would carry Kitchen and Vegas. They immediately took command, dominating Henshall and Philip Mayer for a 6-1 victory.
Georgia College A defeated Georgia Tech B to win the secondary “Rally” level.
The tournament drew 59 club teams from the USTA Southern’s nine states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. It was the largest number of teams playing in the tournament history. Matches were played at four locations here and in Opelika, Ala., with tournament headquarters at the Yarbrough Tennis Center in Auburn.
Teams were vying for eight spots in the USTA Tennis On Campus National Championship, to be played April 14-16 in Cary, N.C.
Teams who earned national bids are listed below, with qualifying information:
- Auburn, Southern Alley champion
- North Carolina, Southern Alley finalist
- Georgia, Southern Alley third-place and Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational champion
- Vanderbilt, Southern Alley fourth-place and 2015 USTA Southern Tennis On Campus Club of the Year
- Georgia Tech, Southern Alley fifth-place
- Alabama, Southern Alley sixth-place
- South Carolina, Southern Alley seventh-place
- Georgia College, Southern Rally champion
North Carolina A
|Georgia Tech A
|South Carolina A
||Georgia College A
U of Tennessee-Chattanooga