January 26th, 2015
Florida School Results: 2015 ITA Kick-Off Weekend
Five Florida Division I schools — the University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Miami, University of South Florida and the University of North Florida — competed over the weekend at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, held at various sites across the country on Jan. 23-25, 2015.
One-hundred-twenty teams — 60 men’s and 60 women’s — competed across the country for regional championships and berths to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in February.
The ITA Kick-Off Weekend sends three visiting schools to a host site for a four-team tournament. Each of the ITA Division I men’s Top 10 teams were hosts, while eight of the women’s Top 10 were hosts.
The No. 2-ranked UF women cruised to qualification for the February ITA National Team Indoors by beating Elon 4-0, then No. 68-ranked Maryland 4-0 in the Sunday final at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville.
“When you play this many new players and freshmen, you’re going to have a little bit more up and down in performance,” UF Women’s Head Coach Roland Thornqvist said. “They’re 18. This is their first go-around…We have to learn really quickly that this is college. These players are well-coached, well-trained and names don’t matter, really. But that’s experience. If you look at our singles wins, the trademark of this team clearly is going to be we can get a point at any position.”
The No. 13-ranked Gator men were not so lucky, beating No. 30 Stanford 4-2 after being upset in their opening match by No. 31 Ole Miss Rebels 4-3.
UF’s junior Gordon Watson was edged in the deciding singles match 6-7(1), 6-3, 7-6(5) by Ole Miss’ Gustav Hansson to deny the Gator men a spot at the February indoors.
The No. 13 Miami women were a host site, and advanced to the February indoors after a 5-0 victory over Florida State in the final.
“We came out so tough in doubles,” Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews said. “Monique [Albuquerque] and Clementina [Riobueno] set the tone which rubbed off on our entire squad…We are super excited to go back to Charlottesville [site of the February indoors].”
In their opening match the Miami women defeated UNF 4-0. The No. 30-ranked FSU beat USF in their opener.
The No. 52-ranked Miami men went 0-2 over the weekend, losing to No. 40 Drake 4-2, and to No. 61 Tulane 4-1 at the Hurd Tennis Center at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
“We have a long way to go with this team, but our guys work hard and are eager to improve and to learn,” said Miami Head Coach Mario Rincon. “We look forward to playing our next few matches at home.”
The No. 34-ranked FSU men came within one match of advancing to the February indoors, falling 4-3 to No. 9 Texas in the championship match at the Weller Tennis Center in Austin.
FSU senior Cristian Gonzalez Mendez was on court with a chance to clinch it for FSU, but fell to Texas’ Nick Naumann 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-1.
“It was a good effort on our part, but it stinks because we had a chance to win,” said FSU Head Coach Dwayne Hultquist.
In their opening match the FSU men defeated the No. 42 University of Michigan Wolverines 4-0.
The No. 20-ranked USF men edged Vanderbilt 4-3 after trailing 1-3 to reach the regional championship at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Complex in Lexington, Ky., but in the finals fell 4-1 to Penn State.