UCLA defeated the University of California, Berkeley in an all-California final that pitted the 2011 champion Bruins of USTA Southern California against the four-time champion Golden Bears from USTA Northern California. Earlier in the day, UCLA knocked off Duke University while California defeated Cornell University to set up the final showdown at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex in Surprise, Arizona.
“It feels great, there’s just no other way to describe it,” said UCLA captain Aaron Yu. “It’s just fantastic, especially as a senior. There were a lot of pitfalls, a lot emotion being the captain and being in charge of the roster. It’s really stressful so I’m glad in the end it all worked out.”
The 23-22 win gives the Bruins their second title in program history, but for California, the loss was disappointing as the senior class came up just short of securing the program’s fifth title. Earlier in the day, Duke defeated Cornell in the third-place match, capping an unexpected run at Nationals on the 10th anniversary of their program’s lone national title. The Blue Devils finished 34th a year ago and failed to qualify for Nationals the previous five seasons.
“To see this rapid progression from 34th to third and to be a part of this community of eleven amazing people and even more back at school, it’s an unreal feeling,” said senior co-captain Kanav Chhabra of Irving, Texas.
For Cornell, the fourth-place finish matched the best in program history. “The competition was really great as usual. I’m just really proud of my team for bringing a lot of energy and competing our hearts out. I couldn’t really ask more from my team,” added sophomore captain Kevin Zhang of Marietta, Georgia.
Elsewhere on Saturday, the University of Georgia won the Silver Bracket while Michigan prevailed in the Bronze Bracket and Notre Dame came out on top in the Copper Bracket. Brian Smith, Associate Director of UCLA Recreation, who was attending the National Championship with the UCLA team, had this to say about the event: “The partnership between NIRSA and the USTA Tennis on Campus program is excellent. They do a tremendous job of working together to put on a first-class event. I know our team enjoys participating in this event and they really appreciate how the tournament is organized from start to finish.”
If you missed the championship match, check it out on the Tennis On Campus You Tube website. And a big thanks to the all volunteers and NIRSA staff who helped make this year’s event a huge success!
NIRSA Tournament Staff
- Brooke Turner, University of Alabama, Results, Director of Competition
- David Peters, Florida State University, Championship Announcer
- Kris Kuchler, Player Relations
- Sean Willett, Georgia Southern University – Armstrong campus, Player Relations
- Valerie McCutchan, NIRSA Headquarters, Co-Tournament Director
- For more information, please contact NIRSA Director of National Sport Programs Valerie McCutchan.