ABILENE, Tex. - An all-time great weekend at the ITA Southwest Regionals came to an end yesterday for the Austin College Kangaroos Men's Tennis Team. With the end of the final match, one that included Austin College for the first time in program history came the end of the Fall Tennis Season, but not without optimism about the upcoming spring season and the national recognition that comes with this weekend's success.
After earning a year-end West region ranking of #14, having been seeded #4 in the 2017 doubles draw last season and working their way to the semi-finals, Kenneth Hardy and Siddharth Kortikere entered the 2018 tournament unseeded, unheralded, and unfazed. Struggling through a difficult first round, the 3rd-year duo was dominant against the #7-seed in the Round of 16, which included a two-time All-American from Trinity University, winning 8-1 to advance to the quarters.
Hardy & Kortikere would face the #2 seed in their third match and fall behind a quick 0-2. But the Kangaroos made the correct adjustments and won 8 of the last 9 games en route to an 8-3 upset that put everyone on notice. Their return to the semi-finals would go much differently than 2017, as the Kangaroos won the first game of the match, and never looked back against a strong McMurry team that had a second-round upset over the #3-seed and 2018 #9 regionally ranked doubles duo. When the final ball bounced twice, Hardy & Kortikere prevailed 8-6, and qualified for their first ITA Regional Championship Doubles Final in Austin College Program History.
But the 2017-2018 NCAA Qualifiers, #1 Seed in the tournament, and this Fall's ITA Hall of Fame Grasscourt Invitational champion from Trinity University would do everything right en route to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over the 'Roos. When the dust settled, Hardy & Kortikere finished as the #2 Doubles Team in the Texas Division III College Tennis, with one of the toughest strength-of-schedules through the tournament. Their performance should earn them a National Ranking throughout the Spring Season, and put them in the driver's seat for a berth into the year-end NCAA Championships held in May.
For the first time in program history, every Men's Doubles Team won the first round of their respective tournaments, with three of the four victories coming in the 1st Round of A-Draw. Calum Robe & Andres Padilla fought through difficult conditions and lengthy singles matches earlier in the day to pull off a victory over a tough UT-Dallas squad to enter the Round of 16. They two would face the eventual champions from Trinity University and fall 8-2. Brett O'Brien and Josh Granberry won their first doubles match of the fall in their Round of 32 victory over Mary Hardin-Baylor before falling to the #4-seed from Southwestern in the Round of 16. Safe Rahman and Travis Fortune were played into the auxiliary B-Draw, and were seeded highly as the #2 team in their tournament. They won their first two rounds before falling in a tightly contested semi-final against the 3-seed.
Austin College received their largest number of entries into A-Singles, 8 (previously 6 in 2017), and made the most of their opportunities, advancing 4 players into the Round of 32, the most in program history (tied, 1 in 2017 & 1 in 2016). Josh Granberry also became the first Men's Tennis Player to win his round of 32 match and advance into the A-Singles R16 when he defeated the 16-seed Hoanh Le from Concordia, TX 6-3, 6-2. Brett O'Brien would fall to the 8-seed, Andres Padilla wound fall to the 1-seed, and the first Austin College player seeded in A-singles, (15) Kenneth Hardy would fall to veteran Matt Tyer from Trinity University, all in the Round of 32.
Preston Spivey, Siddharth Kortikere, Safe Rahman, and Calum Robe would all fall in the Round of 32, with Kortikere taking a set off of a player from UT-Dallas who would defeat the 7th-seed from Trinity in the next round, Spivey falling 7-6, 7-6 to a freshman from Trinity who would advance to the Round of 16, and Robe falling in a super-tiebreak for the third.
Robe, Spivey, and Kortikere would all win their consolation-R32 matches to advance to Day 2, with Calum Robe advancing all the way to the finals of A-Consolation; the deepest run in A-Consolation in program history.
Travis Fortune, placed by the tournament committee in the auxiliary D-Singles bracket, would defeat the (1) seed in the 1st Round in a super-tiebreaker, before falling to the eventual finalist 6-4, 6-2 in the QF.
All told, Austin College would compile a 21-15 record in the most collectively competitive tournament in it's history, earn its first R16 A-Singles competitor, its first A-consolation singles finalist, its first A-Doubles finalist, the most A-Singles competitors in program history, the most A-Singles R32 qualifiers in program history, and it's the highest winning percentage in tournament history. Only time will tell what will become of the 2019 semester, but the Kangaroos are coming, and have the potential for the most success in Division III history.
R64 Andres Padilla def. Andrew Deutsch (ETBU) 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 (11-9)
R64 Josh Granberry def. Joseph Diaz (MCM) 6-0, 6-0
R64 Brett O'Brien def. Jed de Luna (UTD) 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 1-0 (10-4)
R64 (15) Kenneth Hardy def. Andrew Albright (SCH) 6-3, 6-1
R64 Christian Settles (TU) def. Preston Spivey 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (8-6)
R64 Mario Jelev (UTD) def. Siddharth Kortikere 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-1)
R64 (10) Dean Dulthummon (SW) def. Safe Rahman 6-0, 6-0
R64 Holt Fields (HSU) def. Calum Robe 6-4, 0-6, 1-0 (10-1)
R32 Josh Granberry def. (16) Hoanh Le (CTX) 6-3, 6-2
R32 (1) Alex Joseph (SW) def. Andres Padilla 6-3, 6-4
R32 (8) Wilson Lambeth (TU) def. Brett O'Brien 6-1, 6-2
R32 Matt Tyer (TU) def. (15) Kenneth Hardy 7-6 (7-5), 6-0
cR32 Preston Spivey def. Ty Tarver (ETBU) 6-1, 6-0
cR32 Siddharth Kortikere def. Casey Voss (SCH) 6-1, 6-2
cR32 Calum Robe def. Connor Hogan (MCM) 6-0, 4-6, 1-0 (11-9)
cR32 Jace Mahan (UMHB) def. Safe Rahman 5-7, 6-3, 1-0 (10-2)
R16 (1) Alex Joseph (SW) def. Josh Granberry 6-4, 6-4
cR16 Calum Robe def. Jimmie Henson (LETU) 7-5, 6-2
cR16 Haydn Steffes (UTD) def. Preston Spivey 6-3, 6-2
cR16 Jace Mahan (UMHB) def. Siddharth Kortikere 6-3, 2-6, 1-0 (12-10)
cQF Calum Robe def. Jace Mahan (UMHB) 6-0, 3-6, 1-0 (10-8)
cSF Calum Robe def. Alonso Fernandez (SW) 6-4, 6-3
cF Nathaniel Schoendorf (HS) def. Calum Robe 6-3, 2-6, 1-0 (10-8)
D-Singles - Click Here for Draw
R16 Travis Fortune def. (1) Chris Causer (MCM) 7-5, 3-6, 1-0 (10-5)
QF Noah Villareal (CTX) def. Travis Fortune 6-4, 6-2
A-Doubles - Click Here for Draw
B-Doubles - Click Here for Draw