2010 Year in Review: College Tennis

December 27, 2010 03:26 PM
2010 was an exciting year in Division I college tennis from start to finish, with outstanding performances from teams and individuals, including Georgia Tech's Irina Falconi and USC’s Robert Farah, who earned Campbell/ITA National College Players of the Year honors, and the USC men’s and Stanford women’s teams, which captured titles at the prestigious NCAA Team National Championships and finished the 2009-10 season ranked No. 1.

Among the highlights from the year, USC clinched its second consecutive and sixth overall NCAA Division I men's national title after defeating Tennessee in the final, 4-2. For the women, Stanford's Mallory Burdette clinched a 4-3 victory over Florida to give the Cardinal the 2010 Division I women's tennis national championship and their 16th title in the program's history.

U.S. players made it a clean sweep at the individual NCAA Championships for the first time since 2003, as Georgia’s Chelsey Gullickson and Stanford’s Bradley Klahn won in singles, Stanford’s Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette won the women’s doubles title, and Virginia’s Drew Courtney and Michael Shabaz claimed the men’s doubles crown. Shabaz’s win was his second straight at the NCAAs, as he also picked up the doubles championship in 2009 with partner Dominic Inglot.

In other 2010 events, the University of Virginia defeated Tennessee to become the second team in history to win three consecutive titles at the ITA National Men's Indoor Championship. Stanford is the only other team to achieve the feat, having won the first three tournaments held from 1973-76.

Meanwhile, the Northwestern University women captured their second consecutive ITA National Women's Indoor Championship title with a win over North Carolina. With the victory, the Wildcats became the eighth team in the 23-year history of the tournament to win multiple titles back-to-back and the third straight team to accomplish the feat since 2004, following Georgia Tech's titles in 2007 and 2008 and Stanford's three-year reign from 2004-07.

The Virginia men’s team also won big at the 2010 ITA/D'Novo Men's All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., the first major championship of the 2010-11 season held in October. Virginia freshman Alex Domijan won the singles title at the event, while his teammates, reigning NCAA doubles champs Courtney and Shabaz, claimed the doubles title. The wins gave the Cavaliers their second straight sweep of both the singles and doubles titles and marked only the fifth time in history the feat was accomplished by one school.

As the Virginia men made history in Tulsa, Stanford senior Hilary Barte entered the record books at the women’s tournament, becoming just the fourth player in the 26-year history of the ITA Riviera/ITA All-American Championships to capture the singles and doubles titles. No. 2 seed Barte knocked off top-seed Jana Juricova of California, 7-6 (4), 6-3, to claim the second singles championship of her career. She then teamed with Mallory Burdette to win the doubles title.

For the first time ever in November, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., home of the US Open, played host to a major college event – the 2010 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships. The USTA/ITA National Indoors delivered surprising results throughout the tournament, and by the time the event was over, two new champions – Tennessee’s Rhyne Williams and USC’s Maria Sanchez – were crowned.

In another first in college tennis this year, players from six NCAA Division I schools took on eight of the nation’s top juniors in round-robin play at the Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic, which took place Sept. 24-26 in St. Helena, Calif. The NCAA meets USTA experiment was deemed a huge success by all the parties involved, with Florida senior Alexandre Lacroix capturing the title.