Story & photos by Ron Cioffi/USTA Southern
It’s great to be at home for Auburn players as its A team won its third Tennis On Campus Southern Championship in the last five years.
The Tigers like the even years, winning titles in 2014, 2016 and, now, in 2018.
Led by Ashley Kitchen and Mitchell Vegas, Auburn defeated North Carolina-Chapel Hill A 29-15 in the Alley Championship final. The duo were also instrumental in Auburn winning the 2016 USTA Tennis On Campus title.
The deciding match, played on the Yarbrough Tennis Center clay courts Saturday, was even after men’s and women’s doubles 11-11.
But, starting in singles, the match was all Auburn.
Kitchen, now a grad student, won the women’s singles over Caroline Jones 6-1 while Vegas dominated Connor Cooke by the same score. In mixed doubles, Kitchen/Vegas beat Ellie Johnson/Holleman Hughes 6-2.
USTA Southern Director of Tennis On Campus & Schools Jeff Smith hosted the largest Southern TOC championship ever. With an increase of 11 teams over 2017, 72 team competed on six sites in and around Auburn. Twenty-four teams competed in the Alley group while 48 teams played in the Rally group.
Auburn and UNC-Chapel Hill received bids to the 2018 USTA Tennis On Campus National Championship, scheduled for April 12-14 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. Bids are awarded to colleges/universities, not specific teams.
Other schools receiving bids to the national tournament are:
- North Carolina State, Alley third
- Georgia, Alley fourth
- Duke, Alley fifth
- Georgia Tech, Alley sixth
- Vanderbilt, Rally champion (won by B team)
- Tennessee-Chattanooga, USTA Southern TOC Club of the Year