As the college tennis season for both the men’s and women’s programs draws to a close for another year the Team Championships have been taking place across the country in Divisions I, II, III, & NAIA. Players that have been competing and battling for top positions finally had the opportunity to create history for their respective programs and cement their legacies with a National Championship.
In Division I the men’s programs for Texas & Wake Forest met in what would be a #4 vs. #2 seed for the title. Wake Forest, the defending national champion, were confident after leading following the doubles match-ups and Texas would need to win 4 of the 6 singles matches to snatch the title. After some truly amazing tennis and fighting Texas were able to do what many thought they could not and fight back with the Longhorn’s Yuya Ito, a junior from Japan, winning the clinching match 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. On the women’s side Stanford captured the National Championship beating Georgia by an impressive and dominating 4-0 scoreline and repeating as national champions for the first time since a three-year stretch from 2004-2006. Stanford (28-1, 10-0 Pac-12) closed its season on a 23-match winning streak and avenged its only loss, a 4-3 setback to Georgia (28-2, 13-0 SEC) back on Feb. 11 in the semifinals of the ITA National Indoor Championships.
In NAIA action it was the grizzlies of Georgia Gwinnett who took center stage in both the men’s and women’s team events as the men overcame Xavier 5-0 and the women defeated Keiser by a score of 5-2. The men’s championship places the Grizzlies in a tie for third all-time in team championships in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), along-side former member Lamar Tech (Texas). For the women their fifth national championship moves it into a tie for the second most all-time in women’s tennis behind former member’s Flagler (5) and Auburn Montgomery (14). This is the first time a team has won four straight titles in women’s tennis since Auburn Montgomery won six straight from 2004 through 2009.
Division III almost had a similar story line to the NAIA brackets with both the men’s and women’s team from Claremont reaching the national finals. On the men’s side the No. 3-ranked Emory men's tennis team captured the program's fifth-ever national title on Wednesday, defeating No. 1-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the finals of the NCAA D-III Championships. The Eagles won their 18th straight match and closed out their season at 22-2 following a 5-3 victory over the Stags who finished at 32-2. The match was played at the Stowe Stadium on the campus of Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan. On the women’s side the No. 4 Wesleyan women's tennis team captured its first NCAA Championship, knocking off defending National Champion and second-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) 5-4 on Wednesday. The historic victory all came down to the third set at #4 singles featuring Wesleyan's Polina Kiseleva and CMS's Sydney Lee. Kiseleva eased to a 6-2 triumph in the first set, but it was all Lee in the second, as she took the win 6-4. In the third and final set, Kiseleva took a 3-0 lead and never trailed again, as she topped Lee 6-2 to lift the Cardinals over the Athenas for the National Championship crown.
This Friday the men’s and women’s programs in Division II will battle it out for national glory as Barry and Columbus State compete for the men’s title and Barry, Columbus State, Lynn, UIndy battle in semi-final action to see who will make the finals.
Be sure to check back here for all the updated action and for a recap on the individual tournaments that have just begun!