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2014 Fall Invitational Day 2 Recap


Florida, Georgia “B”, N.C. State, Auburn Advance to Semifinals Sunday

By: Steve Pratt

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C., Oct. 11, 2014 – The  University of Florida knows the feeling of the thrill of victory at the USTA Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational having won the 2013 title at the fifth annual tournament currently taking place at the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center.

The Gators also know all too well the agony of the defeat at the TOC National Championships in April as they have been the Buffalo Bills of TOC finishing runners-up four of the past five years.

Florida’s top player and senior Adam Decker has been on three of those four finalists teams at Nationals.  “We’re hoping for a different outcome at Nationals this year, but we have to get there first,” said Decker, who on Saturday led his team into Sunday’s semifinals with wins over William & Mary (29-16) and a close 22-20 overtime win over Georgia Tech’s “A” team.

The winner and runner-up from the Fall Invitational 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.

The Gators, from the USTA Florida section, moved one step closer to that automatic bid and will face Georgia’s “B” team on Sunday in an 8 a.m. Gold Bracket semifinal. A total of seven points is all that separated all four semifinals as the University of Georgia “B” team eked out a 27-26 victory against Boston College to advance.

Georgia was down heading into the final mixed doubles match, which involved former NCAA Division II player Callie Whitlock, who this year transferred from Rollins College to Georgia. Whitlock and her partner pulled out a 6-3 win to tie the match, then won the Supertiebreaker 7-2 to clinch the win.

Whitlock could be the new poster child for Tennis On Campus as she said the pressure of collegiate tennis became too much, and she wanted to return to playing tennis “just for fun.”

“Plus my dad went to Georgia and I wanted to study music business and they were voted as one of the top programs for that major,” Whitlock said. “I love this format. This is the first time I got to play the ‘redemption’ match where we were down, tied it, then won the tiebreaker. It’s so much different but I just like it. I like the mixed doubles, and how much of a team environment there is.”

Whitlock said ever since coming to Georgia she has enjoyed college. “I was a little bit burned out on tennis,” she said. “We had practice every day for two hours and morning practice three times a week. I wanted to just enjoy college a little bit more. There’s just a lot more pressure and I wanted to get back to just playing for fun. That’s what Tennis On Campus is all about.”

Georgia’s “A” team came so close to having both Bulldog teams facing each other in the semifinals, but the “A” team dropped a 20-17 decision to Auburn.

Both Georgia teams are sharing a rented house on the beach, said senior captain Marissa Pulido, who plays women’s doubles for the “A” team. “To have two teams get to the quarterfinals is incredible,” Pulido said. “It’s never been done here before so we have a new record.”

Pulido said the depth of the Georgia Tennis On Campus team speaks to how strong the Metro-Atlanta area is in tennis. Led by Pulido, the Bulldogs beat -- you guessed it -- Florida to win the 2013 TOC National title. “That was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences I’ve ever had on the court,” Pulido said.

Pulido said that both the “A” and “B” teams were equal and were a mix of the program’s best players. She added that the “A” team also has a former varsity player in Brian Brandt, a transfer Birmingham Southern.

The Bulldog “A” team beat Harvard, 28-20, in the Round of 16 earlier in the day. Later in a battle of Ivy League schools, Harvard downed Cornell, 25-17. 

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Saturday’s Final Pool Play Results

Pool 7
N.C. State (A) 30, Indiana 8
Univ. of Georgia  (B) 30, Vanderbilt 6

Pool 8
Boston College 29, Tennessee (A) 18
Ferris State 28, Mercer 15

Pool 9
UNC-Chapel Hill 30, College of Charleston 9
Ohio University 25, Tennessee (B) 12

Pool 10
Auburn 27, William & Mary 14
Cincinnati (B) 25, Middle Tennessee State 11

Pool 11
Cornell 24, Cincinnati (A) 19
Wake Forest 27, South Carolina (B) 21

Pool 12
Georgia Tech (A) 23, Harvard 20
Furman 27, Old Dominion 19


Winners’ Bracket Round of 16
Florida 29, William & Mary 16
Georgia Tech 24 (A), Kentucky 19
Georgia (B) 28, Wisconsin 17
Boston College 24, Clemson (A) 21
N.C. State (A) 22, UNC-Charlotte 20
Virginia 28, Ohio State (A)
Auburn 24, Cornell 13
Georgia (A) 28, Harvard 20
Florida 22, Georgia Tech (A) 20
Georgia (B) 27, Boston College 26
N.C. State 24, Virginia 23
Auburn 20, Georgia (A) 20
Losers’ Bracket Quarterfinals
Kentucky 23, William & Mary 17
Wisconsin 27, Clemson (A) 19
UNC-Charlotte 26, Ohio St. (A) 21
Harvard 25, Cornell 17

Round of 16
South Carolina (A) 28, Wake Forest 15
Virginia Tech 23, Georgia College 22
Georgia Tech (B) 24, UNC-Charlotte 20
Tennessee (A) 24, Villanova 16
Alabama 26, Cincinnati (B) 15
College of Charleston 25, Duke 18
N.C. State (B) 22, Elon 21
Cincinnati (A) 30, Ferris State 7
South Carolina (A) 30, Virginia Tech 8
Tennessee (A) 23, Georgia Tech (B) 21
Alabama 29, College of Charleston 18
Cincinnati (A) 26, N.C. State (B) 15
Consolation Quarterfinals
Wake Forest 23, Georgia College 18
UNC-Charlotte 26, Villanova 23
Duke 20, Cincinnati (B) 14
Elon 30, Ferris State 20

Ohio University 30, Coastal Carolina 11
South Carolina (B) 27, Furman 24
Vanderbilt 25, Old Dominion 15
Connecticut 21, Colorado School of Mines 19
Ohio University 26, South Carolina (B) 19
Connecticut 28, Vanderbilt 19
Back Draw
Furman 30, Coastal Carolina 17
College of the Mines 21, Old Dominion 20

Tennessee (B) 21, Middle Tennessee State 15
Indiana 27, Armstrong Atlantic State 8
Clemson (B) 22, Mercer 21
Ohio State (B) 30, Dayton 14
Indiana 27, Tennessee (B) 12
Ohio State (B) 27, Clemson (B) 17
Back Draw
Armstrong Atlantic State 26, Middle Tennessee State 13
Dayton 27, Mercer 18

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