October 12th, 2015

Tennis Briefs(3): UF Stopped at USTA ‘Tennis on Campus’ Invitational; Special Olympics; More

Diversity College Tennis Tennis On Campus

Teenage Tennis Player Castro Named Miami-Dade Special Olympics Athlete of the Year

Santiago 1Miami tennis teen Santiago Castro was the recipient of the coveted Athlete of the Year Award at Special Olympics of Miami-Dade County’s 3rd Annual Sponsor-an-Athlete Awards Gala late last month at the Mandarin Oriental Miami.

A recent graduate from John A. Ferguson Senior High School where he played for all four years on the varsity tennis team, Castro is now enrolled in the Project Panther Life program at Florida International University.

More than 450 of South Florida’s top philanthropists and VIPs attended the event that recognized Special Olympics of Miami-Dade County’s most deserving athletes, coaches, volunteers and community partners while raising awareness and funds for their county program that serves more than 4,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

“Santiago trains at Tamiami Tennis Center in our regular programs, and also plays in our Junior Team Tennis leagues,” says USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator Cathy Nordlund.

To find out how to volunteer, donate and more details on Special Olympics of Miami-Dade County, visit www.specialolympicsflorida.org. For more information on USTA Junior Team Tennis go to www.usta.com/Youth-Tennis/Team-Tennis.

Riviera/ITA All-American Women’s Final an All-Florida Affair

Danielle Collins

Danielle Collins

The women’s final of the Riviera/Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s All-American Championships over the weekend was an all-Florida affair as No. 8-ranked Danielle Collins (St. Petersburg, Fla.) of the University of Virginia defeated No. 13 University of Miami sophomore Sinead Lohan 6-1, 6-2 in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

It was the best showing by a Hurricane in tournament history.

“Sinead’s week was exactly what it needed to be for the type of physical and mental tennis she is playing,” said Miami Associate Head Coach Laura Vallverdu. “She knows the areas she needs to improve on in order to bring her game to the next level.”

By reaching the tournament final Lohan earned an automatic entry into the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, to be held Nov. 12-15, 2015 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

The 2014 NCAA champion Collins did not lose a set all week, and became the first Virginia woman to win the title.

For more info go to www.itatennis.com.

UCF Finishes 3rd, UF Run Halted at Tennis on Campus Invitational

The UF club tennis squad

The UF club tennis squad at the FAMU/FSU Battle in the Capital earlier this month

The University of Central Florida finished third, while the two-time defending champion University of Florida settled for 5th place at the 2015 USTA ‘Tennis On Campus’ Fall Invitational, held over the weekend at the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center in Hilton Head, S.C.

The University of Georgia claimed the championship as the Bulldogs defeated Boston College 24-15 in the final. En route to the final Boston College knocked out both Florida teams.

In the third-place playoff match UCF defeated Virginia Tech 30-18, their second consecutive third-place finish after last competing at the event in 2012.

“It was a great weekend for us,” said UCF junior and captain Kleber Fukamizu. “We’ve been playing together for a couple of years now and we have really good chemistry.”

In the Gold Bracket semifinals UCF was edged by Boston College 26-23.

“It was intense — I’ve never played in front of so many people,” said Boston College women’s player Erica Pascocello, a sophomore who played high school tennis in New Jersey, after her squad edged UCF in overtime play. “It’s just so much fun to be here and playing with all your friends. We’re having the best time.”

Boston College in the quarterfinals upset the two-time defending champion Florida Gators.

“We know Florida is a team that gets to the semifinals and finals of all the top events like this,” said Boston College captain Jake Sheehan, who said the win was the best in team history. “We feel like we’ve always been right there. This really puts us on the map. We are a young team, but we think this is the start of a new era.”

UF claimed fifth place after beating Cornell 26-17 in the 5th/6th playoff.

Past champions at the event are Boston College (2015), UF (2014-13), Duke (2012), Virginia (2011), and the University of Alabama (2010).

The USTA’s Tennis On Campus program is designed to provide college students with opportunities for team camaraderie, social networking, and rivaled competition through tennis without the rigors of a NCAA varsity program. Tennis On Campus offers fun co-ed team-based play (using the World TeamTennis scoring format), regional and national championship competition, and helps students maintain active and healthy lifestyles through their college years. Currently the program is offered on more than 500 college campuses. The USTA Tennis on Campus team format features men’s and women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles, with a minimum of two men and two women per team.

For more information on the USTA Florida ‘Tennis on Campus’ series or to start a team at your school go to http://tennisoncampus.adulttennisflorida.com, or contact Desirae McLaughlin at tennisoncampusflorida@gmail.com.