A little rain couldn’t stop UCLA, USC, and UC San Diego from finishing strong at the USTA Tennis On Campus Section Championships in February.
They stood out above the rest and earned themselves spots at the TOC National Championships, scheduled for later this year.
The USTA Tennis On Campus Section Championships is the pinnacle of the Southern California club tennis season, where SoCal schools fight for the section’s limited bids to Nationals – the program’s most prestigious event of the year. Club teams train all school year to pair the best doubles teams and craft the toughest lineups for this event. In the end, only the top three teams will advance.
At the 2019 Section Championships, 15 Southern California schools made up 32 teams for competition. They were broken into eight pools of four.
Saturday started with a light rain during the first rounds of competition. Once the courts were dry, teams played into the night to finish three rounds of pool play. Based on their finish in their pool, they were placed into brackets – Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Copper.
The competition heated up Sunday with eight teams in each bracket fighting for different prizes. The top three finishers in the Gold Draw would get the coveted bids to the National Championship, while the winner of Silver bracket would earn paid entry to the Spring Invitational. Both Bronze and Copper bracket winners would each receive prizes as well.
In the Gold Draw’s first round, UC San Diego faced off against UC Santa Barbara; UC Irvine played USC, UCLA took on Pepperdine, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo battled Cal Poly Pomona. UCSD, USC, UCLA, and Cal Poly SLO prevailed, sending the defeated teams to the back draw. In the semi-finals, USC squared off against UCSD, while UCLA battled SLO. This round was particularly important because the winners would clinch the automatic bids to the National Championships, while the losers would have the pressure of playing off for the third spot. It was USC and UCLA who advanced to the final – ultimately a fight for the right to call themselves Number 1 in SoCal. UCLA walked away from that match as the victor, earning their second straight SoCal title. UC San Diego and Cal Poly played for third, with the Tritons victorious after a heated battle.
While UCLA, USC, and UC San Diego earned their bids at the Section Championship, they won’t be the only SoCal teams playing at Nationals. UC Irvine will also represent Team SoCal since earning a bid of their own at last year’s Spring Invitational.
In the Silver Bracket, UCLA’s B and C teams made it to the finals. This earned them paid entry into the Spring Invitational, adding to the A-Team’s $1500 purse for winning Gold.
In the Bronze, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s B-Team stormed past San Diego State’s B-Team in the final, which finished just as rain started to fall again Sunday evening.
The Copper Draw was left unfinished, as school projects and the long drive home tore Cal State Fullerton and Pepperdine’s B-Team from the final match.
Over two days, schools competed in nearly 80 team matches at Balboa Tennis Club in San Diego.
The next few opportunities for competition are the Spring Invitational in Orlando, FL., the West Coast Classic in Fresno, CA., the Cali Cup at UCLA, and the National Championship in Surprise, AZ.
The USTA TOC National Championships will take place April 11-13. There, 64 teams will compete to be the 2019 Tennis On Campus National Champion.
You can follow the #TeamSoCal action at Nationals by following us on Instagram (@ustasocal).