While most of us settled in for big dinners and family time over the weekend, the best university tennis teams in Ontario battled it out at the OUA Championships hosted by University of Toronto at Mayfair Toronto Parkway from October 6-8, 2017.
In stark contrast to the quiet holiday weekend on which the tournament was held, the atmosphere at the courts was electric. The weekend was marked by many 4-3 matches that featured incredible shot making and many pressure-filled moments but few upsets despite the close score lines.
Western women repeat for second consecutive title
The Western University women came in as the defending OUA Champions but they would need to avenge a 4-3 regular season loss to York University to claim back their crown. Western and York were the first and second seeds in the tournament and the clear favourites to reach the finals.
York had an easier road to the championship round with a first round bye and a straightforward win over University of Montreal in the semi-finals. Western, on the other hand, opened with a 7-0 win over McMaster University and then struggled in a semi-final contest against University of Toronto.
After losing the doubles point to Toronto, Western faced an uphill battle needing 4 out of 6 singles matches for the win. The hours of grueling tennis finally ended with Agathe Keromnes of Western University clinching the match with a 6-0, 6-4 win at #5 singles.
Back-to-back 4-3 wins
Western had to regroup quickly as they would find themselves in another tough battle with York in the championship round. OUA All-Star and tournament MVP Helen He, from Western, reflected on bouncing back from a tiring 4-3 semi-final win to do it all again the next day. “Because we won a 4-3 match (in the semi-finals), we realized just how precious this opportunity was and that really pushed us further,” He said.
They pushed themselves enough to be on the right side of another 4-3 win over York to claim their second consecutive OUA championship title and sixth title in program history.
Montreal men record perfect season
While the Western’s men squad came in as the defending OUA and National Champions, all eyes were on the Montreal Carabins who were undefeated in regular season play, earning the tournament’s top seed.
After cruising to the finals with a first round bye and a 7-0 win over York in the semi-finals, Montreal watched the second semi-final between Western and Toronto play late into the evening. In one of the most entertaining matches of the weekend, the deciding point came down to #2 singles where Toronto’s Felix Fan outlasted Western’s Iain Sneddon 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to clinch the victory. The win earned Toronto a trip to the championship round and a berth in the Canadian University National Championships to be held in August 2018.
While Toronto relished another chance to play Montreal, the Carabins came out ready and focused in the finals. After taking the doubles point with close wins at #1 and #3, Montreal didn’t look back. They won five of six singles matches for a 6-1 win and their first OUA Championship title since 2010.
And so marks the end of the 2017 OUA tennis season. It was another year of incredible tennis, team spirit, competitive atmosphere and an ever-increasing level of play. Congratulations to all of the participating teams.
Find full tournament results and individual match scores here. Tournament standings and awards are listed below.
Gold: University of Montreal
Silver: University of Toronto
Bronze: Western University
Player of the Year: Kamen Damov (Montreal)
Rookie of the Year: Kamen Damov (Montreal)
Coach of the Year: Andrzej Zaleski (Montreal)
Sasha Obucina (Toronto)
Felix Fan (Toronto)
Rached Rihani (Montreal)
Kamen Damov (Montreal)
Andre Szilvassy (Western)
Iain Sneddon (Western)
Gold: Western University
Silver: York University
Bronze: University of Toronto
Player of the Year: Helen He (Western)
Rookie of the Year: Mara Stroe (Toronto)
Coach of the Year: Mike Richards (Western)
Helen He (Western)
Madeline Benn (Western)
Julia Khalilova (Western)
Eugenie Lim Ah Tok (York)
Carmen Lai (Toronto)
Mara Stroe (Toronto)