The final regular season tournament for the Atlantic University Tennis League (AUTL) will take place this coming weekend, January 19-21, 2018 at the Abony Family Tennis Centre in Fredericton, NB.
Eight participating teams will vie for a championship title and their last chance to affect the team seedings for post-season play.
University of New Brunswick (UNB) comes into the weekend still reveling in their first ever tournament win at the first league event. When asked about winning the title, veteran UNB player and team captain, Rory Chisholm, proudly reflected on the team’s progression over his 3-year playing career. “Three years ago, we couldn’t field a full team. Now we have a lot of depth and even a practice squad.”
Chisholm attributes their milestone win to the team’s new-found depth. “We aren’t relying on one or two positions for wins. Any of our players can get the job done at any time,” he explained. The increased depth has also made for improved practices. “We have been able to run more structured and advanced drills and create more competitive situations during practice. Overall just having more people to play against during practice has made us better.”
UNB’s growing participation and depth is a reflection of the trends seen across the entire AUTL. University tennis has enjoyed consistent growth in the east with more and more players getting involved. Consequently, the league has become more structured and continues to offer more competitive opportunities for student-athletes.
And with the Atlantic region represented in the Canadian University National Championships for the first time last season, all the teams have an extra motivation to further their commitment and compete for the qualifying bid. The final post-season tournament, held March 2-4, 2018 at the Daniel Nestor Tennis Centre in Bedford, Nova Scotia, will ultimately determine the qualifier for the National Championships.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s tournament, all of the teams will be looking to build momentum and earn the best possible seeding for the Championship weekend. All eyes will be on a potential Dalhousie/UNB re-match. The two teams met in the finals of the previous event where UNB clinched a 4-3 victory in the final mixed doubles match by a score of 8-6. Dalhousie is the defending AUTL champion and will look to draw on their experience to get the win over their opponent this time around.
But before a re-match can be contemplated, both teams will have to contend with a talented field. Memorial University will be looking to improve on their third place finish in the previous tournament. The remaining teams are all looking to make their mark and challenge the top teams for the title.
The tournament features a compass draw format, meaning that all the teams will play each day of the 3-day tournament. Win or lose, teams will move to a new bracket, so you can catch your favourite team in action throughout the weekend.
The schedule for first-round play is listed below. Full match results will be available throughout the weekend via the following link: http://tc.tournamentsoftware.com/sport/tournament.aspx?id=6B4BE45E-A3DF-4AF5-8131-B04BE3E5FD96
Round 1 Schedule:
Friday January 19, 2018
University of New Brunswick vs. St. Francis Xavier
St. Mary’s vs. Dalhousie #2
Dalhousie #1 vs. Acadia University
Memorial University vs. University of Prince Edward Island