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2014 Fall Invitational Day 1 Recap

Two New Squads Excited to Experience Popular USTA Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational
By: Steve Pratt
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C., Oct. 10, 2014 – Competing and having fun is the goal for the Armstrong Atlantic State University Tennis On Campus squad, but there is a deep desire to beat the opposition for the brand new TOC team from nearby Savannah, Ga.
Just eight weeks old as a team, the Pirates are one of eight of the 40 unique schools playing this weekend in the fifth annual USTA Tennis on Campus Fall Invitational at the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center for the first time.
If there was a home team competing here, it would be Armstrong Atlantic State, a school that has built a dynasty in men’s and women’s tennis on the NCAA varsity level, and which is located just 50 miles from Hilton Head Island. The women have won eight NCAA Division II tennis titles recently and the men were national champs in 2008, 2009 and 2012 Division II champs and NCAA finalists last year.
“Sure we want to have fun, but we really want to win,” said team member Andrew Neidlinger. “It’s our goal to help build this program and make it into a powerhouse over the next five or six years.”
While the men’s and women’s varsity team is taking part in the ITA Small College National Championships 150 miles away in Sumter, S.C., Armstrong Atlantic State lost its three pool-play matches on Friday. In its first match, the team fell to Duke 30-7, came up short against Big 10 school Wisconsin, 26-11 and then lost to Clemson’s “A” team 30-2 in the World Team Tennis format. But they will continue on in back-draw play on Saturday.
“The city of Savannah has a long and rich history in tennis, and we’re just another extension of that,” said Jason Salzer, the captain of the squad.
Salzer added: “Just figuring out budgeting and all the other paperwork has been challenging, but the USTA Tennis On Campus staff has been great and has made it easier for us to get the team off the ground.”
Ashley Howell said the team is made up of experienced high school players, as well as players who are just learning the sport. “That’s the great thing about Tennis On Campus,” she said. “You get a mix of all different types of players. But the main goal is to have fun.”
Armstrong Atlantic State’s Renzo Lazo said, “It’s been a little bit intimidating. Just for how local we are to be going up against all these big Division I programs like Duke and Clemson and Florida.”
The winner and runner-up from the tournament will qualify for an automatic bid to compete for the national title at the 2015 USTA Tennis On Campus National Championship, to be held April 9-11, 2015, in Cary, N.C.
A 32-team tournament last year, 48 teams are playing this weekend, including 40 unique schools, and eight “B” teams, according to tournament director Meghan Houk. Four courts were added to play as a third site at nearby Shipyard Resort to accommodate the large number of entries.
Mercer University in Macon, Ga., is another team that recenlty added a Tennis On Campus team, and is now one of 640 teams on college campuses across the country.
Mercer captain Nisharg Patel previously played the TOC Fall Invitational while a student at Macon State before transferring. He met Jeff Mimbs while both were coaching at the John Drew Smith Tennis Academy in Macon and the two decided to start the program together.
“It’s been exciting,” Patel said. “We have nine team members who made the trip and I knew once I got to Mercer, it was something we could do.”
Added Mimbs: “Just to be associated with the top programs here is great. We’re having a blast.”
The other first-time schools besides Armstrong Atlantic State and Mercer competing here include six others: Boston College (Chestnut Hill, Mass.), Coastal Carolina University (Conway, S.C.), Cornell University (Ithaca, N.Y.), Indiana University (Bloomington, Ind.), Middle Tennessee University (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), and Virginia Tech University (Blacksburg, Va.).
EAGER BOBCATS: Registration for the TOC Fall Inviatation is first-come, first-served, and this year Ohio University was the first in on June 11. According to USTA Tennis On Campus National Coordinator Kelly Goodhart, there was a 12-team waiting list to get into the tournament.
TEEN ENVY: Scott Clements has been teaching tennis at the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center for more than 18 years, and says this is one of his favorite weekends.
“Man, I wish they would have had this when I was their age,” said Clements, who first came to Hilton Head to play at the world famous Van Der Meer Academy in his late teens before trying out the pro tour for a year and a half. “Every one has so much fun. It’s keeps the kids out of trouble and it’s just looks like a great time.”
TRIVIA TIME: The event’s popular opening-day trivia contest has been moved to Saturday this year. Last year, Georgia Tech and the College of William and Mary tied, both scoring 9.5 points correct out of 11 questions. Ivy League schools Harvard and Cornell are the early favorites. No word yet on if extra cramming will be taking place tonight or not.
STATE OF MIND: Not surprisingly the host state of South Carolina has the most schools represented this weekend with eight teams with North Carolina second with seven and Georgia next with six. South Carolina schools include: Clemson (two teams), College of Charleston, Furman, Coastal Carolina, Armstrong Atlantic State, University of South Carolina (two teams); North Carolina includes: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Elon University, North Carolina State (two teams), Duke, Wake Forest, University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Georiga has University of Georgia (two teams), Georiga Tech (two teams), Georgia College, and Mercer.
Last year, the University of Arizona traveled the farthest to get to Hilton Head Island. This year, Colorado School of Mines gets the travel award as the team from the farthest. 

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Friday’s Pool Play Results

Pool 1
Univ. of Georgia (A) 30, Ohio State (B) 3
UNC-Charlotte 23, Villanova 20
Univ. of Georgia (A) 30, UNC-Charlotte 9
Villanova 29, Ohio State (B) 17
Univ. of Georgia (A) 26, Villanova 9
UNC-Charlotte 27, Ohio State (B) 15
Pool 2
Univ. of Florida 30, Clemson B 1
Elon 27, Connecticut 17
Florida 30, Connecticut 6
Elon 28, Clemson (B) 16
Univ. of Florida 30, Elon 2
Connecticut 26, Clemson (B) 15
Pool 3
Virginia Tech 21, Coastal Carolina 15
Kentucky 22, Georgia College 21
Kentucky 27, Virginia Tech 14
Georgia College 30, Coastal Carolina 11
Virginia Tech 22, Georgia College 21
Kentucky 30, Coastal Carolina 9
Pool 4
Virginia 29, N.C. State 19
Alabama 30, Dayton 4
Virginia 26, Dayton 9
Alabama 26, N.C. State (B) 22
Virginia 30, Alabama 9
N.C. State 26, Dayton 9
Pool 5
Duke 30, Armstrong Atlantic State 7
Wisconsin 27, Clemson A 21
Clemson (A) 30, Duke 8
Wisconsin 26, Armstrong Atlantic State 11
Wisconsin 23, Duke 19
Clemson (A) 20, Armstrong Atlantic State 2
Pool 6
South Carolina 29, Georgia Tech B 19
Ohio State 29, Colorado School of Mines 19
South Carolina 30, Colorado School of Mines 11
Ohio State 22, Georgia Tech 21
Ohio State 26, South Carolina 15
Georgia Tech 27, Colorado School of Mines 13
Pool 7
Georgia (B) 24, N.C. State 17
Vanderbilt 25, Indiana 13
N.C. State (A) 25, Vanderbilt 13
Georgia (B) 28, def. Indiana 13
Will finish pool play Saturday
Pool 8
Boston College 30, Mercer 4
Tennessee (A) 27, Ferris State 22
Boston College 30, Ferris State 10
Tennessee (A) 22, Mercer 7
Will finish pool play Saturday
Pool 9
UNC-Chapel Hill 30, Tennessee 3
College of Charleston 29, Ohio University 17
UNC-Chapel Hill 26, Ohio University 10
College of Charleston 29, Tennessee 13
Will finish pool play Saturday
Pool 10
Auburn 24, Cincinatti B 13
College of William & Mary 29, Middle Tennessee State 10
Auburn 24, Middle Tennessee State 6
College of William & Mary 25, Cincinnati 14
Will finish pool play Saturday
Pool 11
Cornell 27, Wake Forest 9
Cincinatti (A) 28, South Carolina B 18
Cornell 28, South Carolina (B) 19
Cincinnati (A) 24, Wake Forest 20
Will finish pool play Saturday
Pool 12
Harvard 28, Old Dominion 14
Georgia Tech (A) 30, Furman 7
Harvard 30, Furman 9
Georgia Tech (A) 30, Old Dominion 11
Will finish pool play Saturday
Saturday’s Schedule
All matches being played at the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center
8 a.m. – Final Round of Pool Play
10 a.m. – Gold, Silver, Copper Bracket Play
Noon – Silve, Bronze, Copper Bracket Play
2 p.m. – Gold, Silver, Copper Bracket Play
4 p.m. –Silver, Bronze, Copper Bracket Play
Sunday’s Schedule
8 a.m. – Gold, Silver, Copper Bracket Playoffs
10 a.m. – Gold, Silver, Bronze Bracket Playoffs
Noon – Gold, Silver, Copper Bracket Playoffs
Noon – TOC National Fall Invitational Gold Bracket Championship Match
Past USTA Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational Champions
2010 – University of Alabama
2011– University of Virginia
2012 – Duke University
2013 – University of Florida