The combination of youth and experience led Dalhousie University to victory at the second regular season tournament of the Atlantic University Tennis League (AUTL) held January 19-21, 2018 at the Abony Family Tennis Centre in Fredericton, NB.
Dalhousie came into the tournament as the second seed behind hometown favourite and winner of the first league event, University of New Brunswick (UNB).
UNB made their way to the finals without dropping a match and awaited the winner of a tightly contested semi-final between Memorial University and Dalhousie. Memorial is getting closer and closer to achieving a breakthrough win but they couldn’t overcome the experienced Dalhousie squad who came through in the big moments to clinch a 4-3 victory and a spot in the finals.
Dalhousie and UNB once again went the distance playing high quality tennis, producing another exciting finish. After hours of play, Dalhousie was the winner, reversing the result from their previous meeting to come out on top this time around by a score of 4-3.
Dalhousie’s men’s doubles tandem of Spencer Robertson and Brian Horbal clinched the match by winning the doubles point 8-7. For Robertson, a freshman, it was a thrill to be on court for the deciding match. Leaning on the experience of Horbal, a fourth year veteran, Robertson said the key to their victory was controlling their emotions in the important moments, “We just kept telling ourselves to stay relaxed, focused and keep playing our game.” He added that his teammates played an important role in pulling them through. “We just encouraged each other through the whole tournament and I think that helped each of us get the edge we needed.”
Robertson, who hails from Whitby, Ontario, has made an immediate impact on the Dalhousie line-up in his first year. He credits his teammates for helping him adapt quickly to team tennis and the different pressure you feel in playing for a team. He has gone undefeated in league play and has shown remarkable poise in just his second collegiate tournament by winning both his singles and doubles matches in deciding tie-breakers.
Robertson is also motivated by his team’s desire to qualify for the Canadian University National Championships, which will be held in August during Rogers Cup presented by National Bank. “It’s definitely a goal since we went last year and if I can do my part to get us there again, that would make me really happy.”
All the teams will be gunning for the qualifying spot, which will be decided at the final AUTL Championships, to be held March 2-4, 2018 at the Daniel Nestor Tennis Centre in Bedford, NS.
First year league convener, Mark Thibault, expects that the teams will continue to bring an increased level of play and exciting atmosphere to the Championship weekend. “This tournament was just really exiting. Really exciting. The teams improved from the first event and there was a great atmosphere with the crowds at all the matches. The players had a great time and made an effort to meet up with other teams outside of the matches.”
Bringing their best tennis on the court and enjoying friendships off the court – that is the best of university tennis. And if the first two tournaments are any indication, we can certainly expect another nail-biting finish.
Congratulations to all of the participating teams and best of luck in the post-season!
Standings from Event #2 are below. Full tournament results can be found at the following link: http://tc.tournamentsoftware.com/sport/tournament.aspx?id=6B4BE45E-A3DF-4AF5-8131-B04BE3E5FD96
#1: Dalhousie University #1
#2: University of New Brunswick
#3: Memorial University
#4: Dalhousie #2
#5: University of Prince Edward Island
#6: St. Francis Xavier
#7: Saint Mary’s University
#8: Acadia University