ITA tourney produces thrills at SSU
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By Mike Moritz  July 31, 2014 10:15 am

Crowds flooded the stands last weekend at SSU in anticipation of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Northern CA circuit. This is one of the region’s most competitive tennis tournaments, and it remains open to all players registered with the ITA. This chance to showcase skill and ability attracted athletes from places like Arizona, Colorado, and Washington.

The ITA Summer circuit started in 1993 as a way for alumni, incoming freshmen and collegiate tennis players to compete in an open tournament setting during the offseason. Since then, the ITA has seen almost 30,000 competitors in the summer months alone . This was the last of four tournaments for the Northern California division, as the prior weeks were hosted at San Jose State University, the University of California Davis and the University of the Pacific in Stockton. Eight other regions also finished play last weekend, including Texas and the northeast. The championships are set for Aug. 9-12.

This event was originally scheduled July 26-28, but the summer heat wave encouraged organizers to condense the circuit into a two-day period by having players compete on four different courts simultaneously. There was never an empty court or a dull moment.

Last weekend’s circuit hosted matches for both men and women, the majority of which play at the NCAA level. The primary focus of the competition was singles, scored with a 10-point match tiebreaker for every third set. Despite this, Sunday ended with a thrilling final in men’s open doubles, which were played in eight game pro-sets.

“It was a great opportunity anyways,” said Donald Hall of the second-place team, who also received advice for next year from SSU head coach Steve Cunningham.

Joey Tscherne and Joey Brandt came out on top, defeating SSU’s Chris Weeber and Hall 8-4 to cap off the tournament.

“There was a lot of tough competition out there today…I’m lucky to have played smart,” said Brandt, who now finds himself one step closer to qualifying for the ITA/USTA National Summer Championship in Bloomington, Ind.

The women’s open doubles final saw Kylie Peek, of Park City, Utah, and Samantha Polayes of Morgan Hill walk away with a dominant 8-2 victory over Haleigh Chobanian, of Glencoe, Mo., and San Francisco’s Shirley Hall.

Sophomore Kaitlyn Haithcock, of SSU, breezed past her competitors in the semifinals of women’s open singles, refusing to give up a set. After two 8-0 victories, things got close when she met Shirley Hall in the final match. The two rallied for what seemed like hours in the sweltering heat, staying even for awhile. Halfway through the match Kaitlyn was able to regain her momentum and finish the tournament with an 8-5 win. She also held a 19-11 record during her 2014 season with the Seawolves.

In the men’s open singles competition, the quarterfinal had three walkovers because of player errors. 

The excitement began to pick up in the final round however, when Dylan King faced Brandt, who completed a coveted double by dominating the match to add the singles title to his doubles crown.

The 90-degree weather didn’t put a damper on the last installment of the Northern California circuit last weekend, although it may have contributed to the frustrations of a few overheated competitors. 

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