By Simon Fitzpatrick 21.1.14
US college tennis is a great way for fans of the sport to keep in touch with emerging stars. While some in the US have complained
that there are too many foreign players involved, for the neutral it offers a way to watch global champions of the future in action.
The 2014 college tennis season opened on 16th January with Boise State hosting Montana State. The Boise Broncos effectively destroyed Montana with three doubles wins followed by six singles victories. Boise singles stars included Nathan Sereke and Brendan McClain, while Sereke and Toby Mitchell shone in the doubles.
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The top ranked college team in the country right now is the University of Virginia. Virginia has a proud tennis history, having won four ACC Championships back to back. Upcoming matches include Elon University on 24th January and Boston College two days later. Elon (North Carolina) are ranked #64 nationally and shouldn’t represent a major threat to Virginia. Boston College should be even less challenging on paper, as they’re ranked ten places below Elon.
Number two nationally as 2014 kicks off is UCLA, with the University of Georgia ranked third. UCLA’s not-so-secret weapon is Clay Thompson, rated #1 in the country by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). In November, Thompson won his second Southern California Intercollegiate Championship. Upcoming events for UCLA include a visit from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) team, which betting fans will expect UCLA to walk away with. That’s followed by a match against Georgia, which should prove a much tougher test.
Georgia have been ranked in the top five at the start of the season for the last three years. Star players include Austin Smith, #12 nationally, and Nathan Pasha (#21). They have a tough February scheduled, with the fourth-ranked University of Southern California following hot on the heels of UCLA. Visits from East Tennessee State University and Georgia Tech should be a little less threatening, but they’ll travel to the University of Tennessee (#6) at the beginning of March where they’ll need to be on top form. You can keep tabs on upcoming events at the College Tennis Online site.
(Images courtesy of collegetennisonline.com, c-ville.com, collegetennisonline.com)