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Florida captures title at 2003 USA Team Tennis National Campus Championships

March 29, 2003 09:08 PM

The University of Florida beat defending champ Texas A&M 27-24 in Saturday's final at the USA Team Tennis National Campus Championships at the Florida Tennis Center. This event featured 40 non-varsity and club teams from 28 colleges and universities from across the country.

Florida graduate student Maria Loinaz of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and sophomore Stephen Leudtke of Fort Meyers, Fla., picked up critical wins in women's and men's singles, respectively, to pace the UF victory in today's final. Loinaz beat Texas A&M's Kelly Walker 6-0 and Leudtke edged Mike Karka 6-5.

Texas A&M actually won all three of the doubles sets (men's, women's and mixed doubles) in today's final, but UF won more games played. The format used cumulative scoring - each game won counts as a point towards the overall team score. Loinaz's decisive 6-0 win in women's singles gave UF a lead it would never lose.

In today's semifinals, Florida topped Virginia 28-23 and Texas A&M beat Michigan 28-18. Florida, which also beat Clemson in today's quarterfinals, went 7-0 in the three-day event en route to the title. UF had four teams competing in Daytona Beach and its "A" team won the title. Texas A&M won last year's championship; North Carolina was the first two titles in 2000-01.

Seven schools from the USTA Southern Section participated in this year's competition, including Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, North Carolina, North Carolina State and UNC-Wilmington.

The tournament is administered by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) and National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA). Four years ago the ITA, USTA, and NIRSA formed a partnership to foster increased interest and participation in the sport of tennis throughout the college and university campus community and this national tournament is one of the major parts to this effort. A tournament record 40 teams from 28 schools from across the country participated this week at this fourth annual event, which puts an emphasis on having fun and the social aspects of tennis.

This week's format was co-ed and used the World TeamTennis format of men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles and mixed doubles (and cumulative scoring). Additional tournament information is available on the NIRSA web site:

This week's title makes Florida perhaps the best all-around tennis school in the country. In addition to the club team, the UF varsity teams are in the midst of outstanding seasons - the men are No. 2 in the Omni Hotels national rankings and the women are ranked No. 5.

Saturday's results:
Championship Match (Gold Bracket)
Florida 27, Texas A&M 24

Women's Doubles - Stephanie Brennan/Kelly Walker, AM, def. Maria Loinaz/Jessica Malmud, F, 6-4;
Men's Doubles - Mike Karka/Esteban Garza, AM, def. Lee Harang/Matt McAllister, F, 6-5;
Women's Singles - Loinaz, F, def. Walker, AM, 6-0; Men's Singles - Stephen Leudtke, F, def. Karka, AM, 6-5;
Mixed Doubles - Garza/Stephanie Brennan, AM, def. Rob Hill/Malmud, F, 8-6 (overtime).
(since A&M won mixed doubles, play continued into "overtime" per format rules; scoring is cumulative, each game won counts towards overall team score)

Florida 28, Virginia 23
Texas A&M 28, Michigan 23

Third-Place Match
Virginia 24, Michigan 21

Silver Bracket Final (Consolation)
Virginia (B) 25, Cornell 23

Bronze Bracket Final (Consolation)
Colorado (A) 30, Florida (D) 15




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