National Campus spotlight shines on
Brian Ormiston | January 21, 2017
When No. 21 Michigan grabbed the win at the sixth singles spot to clinch a 4-0 victory over Alabama on Saturday, it capped off an evening the tennis community will not soon forget.
The USTA National Campus in Orlando hosted 1,089 fans for the first edition of the 2017 College MatchDay series. Those in attendance were treated to some delicious food, school-inspired drinks, music, games, a kids’ clinic featuring more than 100 participants and, of course, some of the best college tennis players in the country.
The brand new collegiate complex was packed when doubles kicked off, with ESPN3 airing the action as well. While the match at No. 1 doubles was tight, the Wolverines earned victories at No. 2 by Runhao Hua and Alex Knight and at No. 3 by Myles Schalet and Tyler Gardiner to grab the doubles point for a 1-0 lead over the Crimson Tide.
Michigan kept momentum during singles thanks to wins by Schalet (at No. 3 singles), Knight (No. 5) and Davis Crocker (No. 6). That trio locked up the team win, allowing the Wolverines to open 2017 with a 1-0 record. Alabama dropped to 2-1 on the season.
“It was a great experience since Thursday when we got here,” Michigan head coach Adam Steinberg said. “The USTA did a great job at the campus, they were incredible to us. Everybody was so nice and accommodating. The atmosphere was terrific. For these kids to play in this kind of environment is a once-in-a-lifetime event. This is what college tennis can be.
“We were a little nervous in the beginning of the doubles and I think it carried through for the rest of the match. I never thought we truly loosened up until we got up a break in the second sets of the singles. I’m proud of the guys, they worked really hard. We haven’t had a chance to play outside that much since we came back to school, so it was nice. I said in between doubles and singles that, win or lose, it was a great experience for both teams and I would love to come back and play here again.”
Fans do not have to wait long for the next College MatchDay, with No. 2 North Carolina facing off with No. 13 Texas Tech in women’s action on Friday, Feb. 3, at 6 p.m. The festivities get underway at 4 p.m. at the National Campus. To RSVP, visit CollegeMatchDay2017.com.
No. 21 Michigan 4, Alabama 0
No. 1 Mazen Osama / Spencer Richey (ALA) vs. Jathan Malik / Kevin Wong (UM) 5-5 unfinished
No. 2 Runhao Hua / Alex Knight (UM) def. Alexey Nesterov / Edson Ortiz (ALA) 6-1
No. 3 Myles Schalet / Tyler Gardiner (UM) def. Thibault Cancel / Zhe Zhou (ALA) 6-4
No. 1 Mazen Osama (ALA) vs. Jathan Malik (UM) 6-3, 5-5 unfinished
No. 2 Kevin Wong (UM) vs. Thibault Cancel (UM) 7-6(4), 1-1 unfinished
No. 3 Myles Schalet (UM) def. Alexey Nesterov (ALA) 6-1, 6-2
No. 4 Runhao Hua (UM) vs. Spencer Richey (ALA) 6-1, 3-4 unfinished
No. 5 Alex Knight (UM) def. Edson Ortiz (ALA) 6-2, 6-2
No. 6 Davis Crocker (UM) def. Langford Hills (ALA) 6-2, 6-4
2017 USTA College MatchDay Series at the National Campus
Jan. 21 – Michigan 4, Alabama 0 (men)
Feb. 3 – North Carolina vs. Texas Tech (women) – 6 p.m.
Feb. 17 – Oklahoma State vs. Stanford (women) – 6 p.m.
March 8 – UCF vs. Penn State (men) – 6 p.m.
March 10 – Florida State vs. Florida (men) – 6 p.m.
March 14 – Ohio State vs. Florida (women) – 6 p.m.