The event, which took place April 15-17, was hosted at the Surprise Racket and Tennis Club by United States Tennis Association, NCCS, Intercollegiate Tennis Association and World Team Tennis.
Sixty-four club teams from across the country competed after qualifying at their respective regional levels. Auburn received their bid to nationals after clinching the win at the 2010 USTA Southern Campus Championship.
Throughout the three day event Auburn matched up against the University of Tennessee, Marquette University, Stanford University, Lone Star College, Utah Valley, Indiana and Old Dominion, a pool of teams President Stephen Pola said was much tougher than the competition Auburn faced during its first appearance at nationals last year.
“I think we did pretty good,” Pola said of the team’s final record of 3-4. “We definitely walked away having learned some. We had a couple of close matches we could have won, but overall we played a good tournament.”
While Auburn may not have walked away with the championship title, they did earn honorable mention in the sportsmanship award and even had a few athletes who gave performances worthy of a championship team.
Junior Jimmy Epps walked away from the tournament undefeated in all of his individual play.
“We’ve been playing a lot recently, and it’s easy to do well when you’re enjoying what you’re doing, and I was enjoying it,” Epps said. “I wasn’t thinking about winning or losing, I was just out there having fun.”
Senior Cantrell Ellis also performed well, ending the weekend over 500, and was mostly pleased with the outcome.
However, she said she can’t help but wonder about the “what ifs.”
“I feel like we could have done a little better,” Ellis said of her team’s outcome. “We lost to Old Dominion by one game, and had we beat them, we probably would have won our bracket.”
Although Ellis wonders about that one game loss, the season remains a successful one.
“We finished the season 18-5,” Pola said of the team’s final record. “The only team we lost to in the Southern section was Georgia Tech, and the rest of our losses came from the tournament.”
Despite the winning record, Pola and Ellis both agreed there are things that can be improved before next season.
“If we could get some girls that are strong players, it would really help us out,” Ellis said. “We also need to start working on our doubles strategies. We practice on our (form), but we never really focus on the strategy, which could help a lot.”
Pola focused on some of the positive elements of the tournament.
“We have different strategies we want to implement to help in building out confidence in doubles,” Pola said. “But right now our singles are playing outstanding, so we just have to figure out how to keep that going.”
Tryouts for next season will be held once school resumes in the fall, and all students are invited.