Doubles tandem picks up victory at ITA Cup
Friday, October 12, 2018
Doubles tandem picks up victory at ITA Cup
Axel Lucich (left) and Thiago Lopes won their doubles match in straight sets Friday at the ITA Cup. (Credit Bob Tamboli)

LEBANON, Tenn. – Axel Lucich and Thiago Lopes registered a straight-set doubles victory Friday but Ainhoa Garijo Garrido lost again in singles for Cumberland tennis at the ITA Cup in Rome, Ga.

Lucich and Lopes claimed a 6-4, 6-2, win over Indiana Wesleyan’s Eli Steiner and Grant Esposito, evening the CU duo’s mark at 1-1 in the tournament. The tandem faces Cardinal Stritch’s Nicola Wehre and Niccolo Rossi on Saturday in the fifth-place match.

Garijo Garrido lost 6-1, 6-4, to San Diego Christian’s Sarah Urbanek. The Cumberland junior plays Indiana Wesleyan’s Elizabeth Bauss in the seventh-place match Saturday.

Formerly known as the Small College Nationals and Oracle ITA Cup, the ITA Cup has history dating to 1986 and is the only singles and doubles national championship event for the Division II and NAIA levels. This year, more than 8,000 players took part in a total of 60 regional tournaments to gain entry into the ITA Cup field.

Each division represented will feature eight singles players and eight doubles teams competing in their respective draws.

Each of the four divisional singles champions (Division II, Division III, NAIA and JUCO) will be automatically entered in the 2018 Oracle ITA National Fall Championships, which takes place November 7-11 in Surprise, Ariz., providing the student-athletes the opportunity to compete in the same tournament as the nation's top Division I players.

In previous years, only one singles player had earned that distinction by winning the "Super Bowl" or "Oracle Cup", which pitted the four divisional winners against each other for the right to play in the fall season's final tournament. In 2017, the format changed, with each of the four divisional singles champions (Divisions II, III, NAIA and JUCO) per gender earning a spot in the fall finale.

Men's and women's doubles will still take part and compete for the ITA Cup, with the winners of those two (one men's, one women's) draws moving on to the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships.