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Gold Bracket Semis Begin with Nationals Rematch




HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C., – There isn’t another team the University of Florida wishes it could play in the Gold Bracket semifinals at the USTA Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational than the University of North Carolina.

Ever since a crushing 25-23 loss to UNC-Chapel Hill back in April in the semifinals of the TOC National Championships, the Gators have had the Tar Heels on their minds.  

“That’s who we wanted, and that’s who we got,” said Florida captain Max Koller after Florida’s “A” team beat Georgia Tech, 26-18 in the Gold Bracket quarterfinals. The rematch will take place Sunday morning at 8 a.m. at the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center, site of the popular seventh annual tournament that serves as the official kickoff to the Tennis On Campus season.

North Carolina defeated Pittsburgh, 30-15, for the right to advance against Florida. In the other semifinal it will be defending national champion Auburn taking on upstart Georgia College, which upset 2012 Fall Invitational winner Duke earlier in the day, then beat Ohio State in the quarterfinals, 26-18.

“Our strength lies in our depth,” said Koller, who got a call earlier in the week from tournament official that they could field a “B” team. “So we got four of our players who weren’t going to play and they made it into the Gold Bracket Round of 16,” before falling in the day’s closest match to Georgia Tech, 23-22. They later beat North Carolina State’s “A” team and will look to finish strong Sunday morning in the Gold Bracket back draw. 

Florida is the only two-time winner of this event capturing Fall Invite titles in 2013 and 2014. The Gators lost in the quarterfinals to Boston College last year. “We know what it feels like to do well here,” Koller said.

Auburn downed the University of Central Florida, 22-17, in a tight match thanks to the play of captain Mitchell Vegas, who guided the Tigers to their first-ever TOC national title last spring. On Saturday, Vegas won his singles 6-1, and then teamed with Hannah Nelson to clinch it in mixed doubles, 6-2.

Georgia College is in the final four for the first time, and fields a strong team in mixed doubles led by Tyler Tracy and Katie Krupp, who bears a strong resemblance to fellow Georgian Melanie Oudin. “We have a very strong lineup and don’t have any weaknesses,” senior captain Ben Gottenberg said. “We won our Section for the first time last year and placed 26th at Nationals. We just keep going farther and farther.”

LOOKIN’ GOOD: Teams were looking sharp once again on Saturday. On Friday, the University of Central Florida female players were black and pink tank tops in observation Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The tanks read: “Passion, Strength, Faith” and had a pink ribbon. On Saturday the team dressed as their favorite super hero.

“We have a parent of one of our players who had to go through breast cancer and we just wanted to show our support,” said junior Nicole Jimenez. Added senior Jennifer Fernandez, “It’s a tradition we started here last year so we wanted to do it again.”

The Colorado School of Mines had t-shirts that said, “Belong Designs” given to them by a Colorado clothing company started by Mines alum Shamus McNutt who is a friend of Mines captain Brandt Theander. Theander said the team is also sponsored by an anonymous donor.

“We love it out here playing on the clay and going to the beach,” Theander said. “It’s a very nice break from our engineer studies.”

A CAREER IN TENNIS: Nate Helmkamp of Ferris State has wanted to be a teaching pro ever since he took his first lesson at the age of 7 years old at a local Fort Wayne, Ind., club. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” said the junior, who is enrolled in the Professional Tennis Management program at the Big Rapids, Mich., school. “The program has been great and has given me so much experience.” Helmkamp spent a summer interning at a Washington D.C. club and got up close to many of the top ATP pros playing in the Citi Open, including his favorite player Gael Monfils.


Saturday’s Results

Gold Bracket

Winner Quarterfinals

Auburn 22, University of Central Florida 17

Georgia College 26, Ohio State 18

Florida (A) 26 Georgia Tech 18

UNC-Chapel Hill (A) 30, Pittsburgh 15


Loser Quarterfinals

Cincinnati 27, Cornell 20

University of Georgia 28, Duke 22

Florida (B) 25, North Carolina State (A) 22

Vanderbilt 23, Colorado State 21


Round of 16

Auburn 26, Cincinnati 19

University of Central Florida 27, Cornell 16

Georgia College 25, Duke 19

Ohio State 23, University of Georgia 20

Georgia Tech 23, Florida (B) 22

Florida (A) 30, North Carolina State (A) 11

Pittsburgh 26, Vanderbilt 15

UNC-Chapel Hill (A) 30, Colorado State 13


Silver Bracket

Winner Semifinals

Virginia Tech 23, Virginia 17

Kentucky 27, Clemson 19

Loser Semifinals

Colorado 25, North Carolina State (B) 18

UNC-Chapel Hill (B) 28, Ohio University 17



Virginia Tech 25, Colorado 23

Virginia 20, North Carolina State (B) 17

Clemson 23, UNC-Chapel Hill (B) 22

Kentucky 28, Ohio University 13


Bronze Bracket

Winner Semifinals

Furman 28, Georgia Southern 16

Ferris State 23, Colorado School of Mines 19

Loser Semifinals

Western Kentucky 24, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga 17

Appalachian State 27, UNC-Charlotte 17



Furman 26, Western Kentucky 24

Georgia Southern 28, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga 15

Colorado School of Mines 28, Appalachian State 20

Ferris State 26, UNC-Charlotte 16


Copper Play

American 29, Armstrong State 10

UNC-Wilmington 30, Radford 14

American 22, UNC-Wilmington 17

Armstrong State 26, Radford 17

American 30, Radford 8

UNC-Wilmington 30, Armstrong Sate 15


Tennis on Campus Fall Invitational Past Champions:

2015 — University of Georgia

2014 — University of Florida

2013 — University of Florida

2012 — Duke University

2011 — University of Virginia

2010 — University of Alabama


The USTA Tennis On Campus program features more than 45,000 college students competing nationwide in intramural and intercollegiate club play using the World TeamTennis format. Since its inception in 2000, Tennis On Campus has grown significantly and today is played on more than 700 college campuses across the country. Developed by the USTA in partnership with NIRSA and World TeamTennis, the Tennis On Campus program gives college students the opportunity to build leadership skills, network in a coed sports environment and compete on a college team without the rigors of playing in a varsity program. With year-round match play and regional and national championship competition, students maintain active and healthy lifestyles through their college years. For more information, check out www.tennisoncampus.com and search the hashtag #tennisoncampus on social media.




The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with more than 715,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Emirates Airline US Open Series, linking eight summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns approximately 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S. and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA’s philanthropic entity, the USTA Foundation, provides grants and scholarships and helps under-resourced youth and individuals with disabilities, and supports  wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans and their families. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com, “like” the official Facebook page, facebook.com/usta, or follow @usta on Twitter.


For more information, contact:

Steve Pratt, BZA PR on behalf of the USTA, (310) 408-4555, stevep@bzapr.com